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Dragon NaturallySpeaking User Guide

The staff at the ATAC has compiled this brief user guide covering the most frequently used functions in Dragon NaturallySpeaking. If you need further assistance, please Contact Us.

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User Guide Sections

Get Dragon NaturallySpeaking on the IU Bloomington Campus

Click on the Start button on the lower left corner of the screen. Go to Adaptive Tools option and select Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

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Getting Started

The first time a user uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking he will be asked to record a bit of user data questioning, and to complete the initial training session. The program will configure the audio settings on the computer, but in the lab setting, everything will be set properly and should require no adjustment. The training session is short and painless, and allows the program to adapt to your speech patterns. Note: when dictating, there are several points about the microphone that need to be kept in mind:
  • The microphone should be at the back corner of the users mouth.
  • It should be positioned approximately a thumb width away from the face.
  • When speaking into the microphone during the training exercises speak as you will be speaking during your dictation periods. Allow the program to adjust to your natural speech patterns.

As explained in the introductory section, Dragon NaturallySpeaking interprets the users voice and transcribes it onto the word processing page. Following the initial training and configuration with Dragon, the user is advised to take part in an additional training session. The importance of taking part in this training session cannot be stressed enough. The more familiar with a users voice the program becomes, the easier it is for that user to navigate the program and correspondingly dictate text. Whe n dictating it is also possible to control the location of the cursor and to format text into the desired layout. These commands will be discussed further through, for now it is enough to know that in order to break from dictation and give a command, a user must only pause for a second or two, and then give the command. It can all be accomplished without the user ever moving toward the keyboard. It is also advised that the user pause for a second following a command.

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Dictating Text

In order to begin dictating text, the user must simply activate the microphone. This can be accomplished by simply pushing the microphone button on the right side of the toolbar across the top of the screen. Though it is not possible to turn the microphone on via a voice command, turning it off is as simple as breaking from dictation for a second and then saying microphone off which deactivates the microphone. Once the mic has been switched on, the user may begin dictation. Speech need not be restricted or cut short. As long as speech is well pronounced and defined, there should be little difficulty. Correction of recognition errors (the application inserting words or phrases different from those dictated by the user) are easily correc ted. This will be further explored below. While dictating, in order to add punctuation, the user should simply use the name of the punctuation desired in the place it should go. At the end of dictating a question, the user need only say question mar k n order to apply the proper punctuation. Other commands are just as simple. In order to start a new paragraph the user must simply command new paragraph and a new line is merely new line.

Dictating numbers is also easily accomplished, if the user follows the guides below. Numbers 1-100 can be stated by name. Numbers 101-999 must be dictated as follows: 186 (one eighty-six) or 654 (six fifty-four). Larger numbers must be broken down slightly more. 534, 786 would be dictated as five three four comma seven eight six. Dates are simply entered by dictating the month followed by day, the word comma and then the year (dictated in the manner prescribed above for larger numbers.) T here are also a number of symbols available for dictation. As follows is a list of common symbols followed by their dictation command. A more complete listing exists in the On-line Help file which exists within the application.

  • @ - - - at sign
  • $ - - - dollar sign
  • # - - - pound sign
  • % - - - percent sign
  • + - - - plus sign
  • - - - - minus sign
  • & - - - ampersand
  • * - - - asterisk
  • :-( - - - frowny face
  • :-) - - - smiley face

As you begin to dictate you1ll no doubt notice a small yellow box which appears on your dictation screen. This is the Results Box. This box is used to display text before it is actually put into the document. In other words, as you dictate this box disp lays it1s interpretations of your words before putting them into the document. This box is fully moveable by the user and should be put in a place that is comfortable.

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Correcting Text

Without a doubt, as you begin to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking there will be errors in recognition. However the process followed in fixing these errors is quite simple and effective. When an error in transcription has been noticed, the user should simply pause for a second and then command correct and then the words needed to be corrected. For example, in order to correct a portion of this paragraph I would simply pause for a second and then say correct when an error.... This text would t hen be selected and a new dialogue box would open. I would then select the correct text, close the dialogue box and continue dictating. There are several way of selecting the correct text and the user should feel free to choose whatever method he is mos t comfortable with. Following the choosing of the corrected text, the cursor returns to it1s position previous to the correction.

When dictated text does not match the output on the screen, giving the Correct command should solve all problems. When the erroneous text is highlighted, the corresponding dialogue box offers a listing of ten possible substitute words which the applicati on decided against when choosing which word to display on screen. More possible substitute words exist, and the user can command the application to move down ten if the desired correction is not listed among the preliminary ten options. Nine time s out of ten though the word meant to be put on screen by the user is one of the first two on the list. When this is the case, the user may simply tell the application number two and it will replace the selected phrase with the contents following number two (or whatever number it is that the user selects.) It is also possible to navigate the possible replacement choices with the arrow keys. Also, if the correct option does not exist among the choices of alternatives, the user can choose a nearly correct item and then edit it in the text editing box. The user can also play back the recorded speech in order to verify that the words spoken match the words desired.

In the correction dialogue box, it is possible that the corrected text the user desires does not appear. In this case, the user can use the keyboard to type in the desired text. As this action ensues, the list of correction options updates itself in ord er to come closer to the word or phrase being entered by the user. If at some point during this process the user sees the desired word or phrase he can select it through the method described above.

After a correction, it may be wise to take a minute and allow the program to train with you on the words in question. This ensures that the program remembers and adapts to the users1 pronunciation of a particular word or phrase. In order to do this, mak e sure that the word or phrase you wish to train on is in the correction box and click the train button. Following this, the user should go along wit the training instructions provided on screen by the application. In cases like this, the program usually has you train both the corrected word, and the mistaken word, so that it can better grasp the users pronunciation of both words, alleviating the problem of misinterpretation in the future.

If following a recognition error, the user finds that this error has occurred a few other times through the document, he may simply command the program to select again and it will go through the document and find all other instances of this word, a llowing the user to quickly pinpoint and fix any other potential errors. This action can be repeated indefinitely.

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Formatting Text

Either before beginning to dictate a new section of text, or after highlighting a new section of text, a number of typographical effects may be applied to the words and phrases of your document. Again, a more complete listing of these commands is include d in the On-line Help of the application.

To apply - - - - - Say

  • Initial Caps - - - - - Cap That
  • All Uppercase - - - - - All Cap That
  • All Lowercase - - - - -No Cap That
  • Bold - - - - - Bold That
  • Italics - - - - - Italicize That
  • Underline - - - - - Underline That
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Deleting Text

If a string of text has just been dictated, and is deemed undesirable, the user can delete it by saying scratch that. This will remove the entire string of newly dictated text. Deleting previously entered text can be done by selecting the text th rough the above described methods and then saying either scratch that or delete that. Also, the scratch that command removes the last dictation command. So, if a user decided to activate underlining of words, and then switched his m ind, he could simply take back the command.

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Voice Control of Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Instead of navigating the screen with the mouse or the keyboard, Dragon NaturallySpeaking stands out from other applications in it1s ability to allow the user to control it entirely by voice. Instead of clicking on the several menu options with a mouse, a user may simply say click and then specify which menu and submenu until arriving at the proper destination. This option is much easier grasped and taken advantage of than anticipated and really quite helpful, because of the additional work which can be accomplished through hands-free operation of the application. In order to close a window, the user must only say click close or even close. In order to open the Help window, a user would first say Give Me Help and then cl ose when the help needed has been given. If the user wants to leave the Help window open but have the option of bouncing between this and the main window of Dragon, this can also be accomplished. In order to go from Help to the main window say Sw itch to NaturallySpeaking In order to flip back say Switch to Previous Window.

Two notes of warning:

  1. If more than one application is running, things can get rather sticky, with windows not wanted by the user popping up.
  2. Dictating into Dragon is only possible when it is the active window. It is not possible to dictate if the application is buried under a pile of other windows.
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Copying Text to Other Applications

This is particularly useful if attempting to do more with a word processing document than simply printing it. By transferring it to other programs, dictated text could be inserted into emails spreadsheets or specific word processors if such an applicatio n was needed. This can be accomplished in five steps:
  1. Say Copy All to Clipboard
  2. Open the other application
  3. Say Switch to Previous Window or Switch to NaturallySpeaking as needed.
  4. Say Paste That
  5. Say Switch to NaturallySpeaking
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Having Text Read Back

Visually impaired users may find it easier to have the dictated text read back to them instead of struggling with the display on screen. NaturallySpeaking comes with a software computer voice synthesizer in order to allow for the program to read back the contents of a page. It is also possible to have other unrelated text imported into Dragon and read to the user. This option is also easily taken advantage of. The user should select the text to be read back to them, then give the command read that. Other reading commands include:
  • Read Line
  • Read Paragraph
  • Read Document
  • Read Window
  • Read to Here
  • Read from Here

In order to stop playback the user should push the stop playback button on the toolbar or hit the ESC key. Since the machine is reading and info cannot be received during input voice commands are not recognized. Holding down the right mouse b utton also brings up a menu of text-to speech commands. Also, in the Options dialogue box it is possible for the user to set the pitch, tone and speed at which the machine reads back text.

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Other Information

There still exists quite a bit of in-depth usage options of NaturallySpeaking not yet addressed by this tutorial. Patches have been released which allow users to dictate directly into MS Word and other applications. Users wishing more documentation of this and other information should Contact the ATAC or contact Dragon directly at

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