How to Enable and Use Dictation in Mac OS X Mountain Lion

Posted March 9, 2013 at 9:37pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 84005 views

These are instructions on how to enable and use Dictation in Mac OS X Mountain Lion.

Step One
Select System Preferences from the Apple Menu at the top left of your screen.

Step Two
Click to select Dictation & Speech from the System Preferences menu.

Step Three
Click to choose the Dictation tab from the Dictation & Speech menu.

Step Four
Turn on Dictation by selecting the On radio button.

You'll be notified that when you dictate text what you say along with other information such as your contacts is sent to Apple. Click the Enable Dictation button to continue.

Step Five
Choose your audio input device from the dropdown located below the microphone icon. In this example we will use the MacBook Pro's internal microphone.

Step Six
Select a preferred shortcut that will be used to start a dictation from the Shortcut dropdown. In this example we will leave the shortcut as 'Press Fn (Function) Key Twice'.

Step Seven
Select your preferred language for dictation from the Language dropdown. Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish are supported.

Navigate to the place where you'd like to dictate text and press the Fn key twice. Notice a microphone icon will appear. As you speak a purple audio level indicator will be displayed inside the icon. No text will appear while you are dictating. You may speak continuously for up to 30 seconds at a time.

When you have finished dictating, click the Done button below the microphone icon or press the Fn key. Your text will be uploaded to Apple for processing.

Once processed the microphone icon will disappear and your dictation will appear as text.

There are numerous shortcuts available to help improve your dictations. Some basic ones include 'all caps', 'new paragraph', 'new line', 'period', 'comma', 'question mark', 'quote', and 'end-quote'.

A full list of shortcuts can be found below...

question mark ?
inverted question mark ¿
exclamation point !
hyphen -
em dash
underscore _
comma ,
open parenthesis (
close parenthesis )
open square bracket [
close square bracket ]
open brace {
close brace }
semi colon ;
back quote "
single quote
end single quote
double-quote "
apostrophe '
colon :
slash /
back slash
tilde ~
ampersand &
percent sign %
copyright sign ©
registered sign ®
section sign §
dollar sign $
cent sign ¢
degree sign º
caret ^
at sign @
Pound sterling sign £
Yen sign ¥
Euro sign
pound sign #
smiley face (or "smiley") :-)
frowny face (or "sad face", "frown") :-(
winky face (or "winky") ;-)
cap (for example, "this is a cap Test") Capitalize next word
all caps (for example, "this is a all caps TEST") Type in all caps
caps on Caps lock on
caps off (for example, "this is caps on A VERY IMPORTANT TEST caps off tomorrow") Caps lock off
no caps(for example, "what time is my meeting in no caps boston today") All lowercase
new line Insert new text line
next line Go to the next text line
new paragraph Begin new paragraph
next paragraph Go to the next paragraph
no space Do not insert a space after the next word
no space on (for example, "the new car is no space on reallyreallyexpensive") Do not insert any spaces between words
no space off Resume inserting spaces between words
space bar (for example, "this restaurant is first space bar class") Type a space
numeral (for example, "he starts from position numeral 5") Type the numeral, such as 5 instead of "five"
Roman numeral (for example, "in January it's Roman numeral MMXIII") Type the spoken as a Roman number
Add Comment
ron beardslee - August 13, 2014 at 5:04pm
can on command it to "add a row" in excel?
immovableobject - March 11, 2013 at 10:20pm
@pugman: Data mining techniques will allow fast efficient automated searches for specific items of interest. What proof does anyone have that the archives are actually anonomized? Haven't Google and Apple already been exposed of capturing and archiving more than they claim to? And that's just what we know about. You are naive if you don't think the government won't be requesting copies from Apple (or intercepting them en route for its Total Information Awareness program). It's pretty clear by now that if your information is stored on ANY corporation's severs, it WILL be given up. Finally, regardless of the institution, there is always the potential for rogue and malicious employees to misuse the information they have access to. It's one thing to give up privacy when it is required to perform a useful function, but I just don't see the necessity of having translation take place in the cloud. Text to speech has been done locally for years. Let Apple make cloud translation an option, so that YOU and others who don't seem to care, can be the guinea pigs that allow their communications to be monitored. Let the rest of us continue to have some vestige of privacy.
Pugman - March 11, 2013 at 1:58am
I suppose not everyone is as paranoid as you seem to be over this. I highly doubt that anyone at apple is going to sit down and sort through the billions of dictated notes from the millions of people that use Siri and dictation. Seems a bit far-fetched. Nobody cares about the useless texts one sends another through dictation. The dictated notes are anonymously stored on apples servers.
immovableobject - March 10, 2013 at 8:42pm
I object to having my address book and every single dictated utterance sent over the internet to Apple for processing (and archiving). There is no good reason that speech to text can't be done locally. This outrageous invasion of privacy is also a problem with SIri on iOS. Apple claims that by collecting everyone's dictation input, it will help them improve their algorithms. This is undoubtedly true, but at the cost of my privacy, it bothers me. There is no way to opt out other than to refuse to use this feature altogether. I'm surprised that there is less public outcry over this. Are people just ignorant, or have we simply given up on the idea of privacy altogether?
msk - March 23, 2013 at 8:50am
I also object to Apple taking user data. There is concern about Apple's handling of privacy. I think Apple has failed to respect consumers and take this issue seriously. Once it starts to impact on sales - Apple may suddenly have a wake up call but if the company continues in this way. I will stop buying if this continues. Apple may as well be just another Microsoft. I will wait for a small outfit to offer me respect as a creative person and consumer. After all that is the alternative Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs offered me all those years ago. I took it because I shared their values not sure what I am buying into now.
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