Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon naturally speakingDragon Naturally Speaking uses a minimal visual interface. Dictated words appear in a floating tooltip as they are spoken, and when the speaker pauses, the program transcribes the words into the active window at the location of the cursor. Like other speech recognition software,

NaturallySpeaking has three primary areas of functionality. Dictation, whereby spoken language is transcribed to written text; commands that control, whereby spoken language is recognized as a command to click widgets (controls); and finally text-to-speech whereby written text is converted to synthesized audio stream.

(Source: wikipedia)

The Dragon Bar

dragon toolbar

Using in a school environment

In the following video, Rhodri Buttrick shows you how voice recognition software transformed his schoolwork.

He explained," When l was 9 years old, I was given a demonstration of voice recognition/ text reading software. I tried it out and it worked for me. Everyone (teachers, especially) had told me that the software didn't work for children. As my severe dyspraxia/dyslexia meant I wasn't able to learn to write or type, I was getting nowhere in school.

It was that trial which helped my parents to decide to buy the software and help me to learn to use it. l used it for my GCSE exams, which I passed with high grades, and am now studying for A levels".

Using Dragon Naturally Speaking with a Digital Notetaker

Transfer Audio From An Olympus WS-110 To A PC

Browse the web with Dragon

Using Dragon V10 with MS Office 2003

Using Dragon Naturally Speaking

Ultimate Access V1

Ultimate Access v2

Dragon Naturally Speaking Commands

There is information about Dragon Naturally Speaking commands on Wikipedia. It's in it's early stages but worth having a look from time to time. Wikipedia Dragon Naturally Speaking commands . . .

Some useful hints and tips to get Dragon naturally Speaking working properly

The reliable VXi Parrot TalkPro Xpress, or the Sennheiser headset which is rated by some as the most technically accurate microphone available. In both cases a matching Buddy USB adapter will ensure that no problems are caused by inadequate or poorly matching sound cards. (The USB adapter functions as an external sound card especially designed for voice recognition and bypasses the sound card installed within the PC).

Recognition not very good? A self-employed dyslexic person who had Dragon V8 had failed to get it going despite having received proper training. Their old Emkay microphone turned out to be the culprit and as soon as a Vxi (direct, no USB) was plugged in and they were re-enrolled, with a few hints, they got perfect recognition - and with only 512mb of RAM. Newer versions of Dragon are NOT the answer if recognition is poor. Something else is wrong. V8, as a recognition engine, with XP and 2003, is just fine.

Re-enrol using a different user name. Can then be sure of a “clean” start and use most current understanding of dictation and correction technique to build the system’s knowledge of the user’s voice and vocabulary. Almost certainly re-enrol when using a new microphone.
In general – especially given the availability of tools that build personal vocabulary from existing e-mails and documents – re-enrolment should not be feared and can be very helpful.


As a general rule individuals who attempt to use voice recognition without training and support will not succeed. The current list of authorised Dragon specialist resellers and trainers is at www.nuance.co.uk/naturallyspeaking/locator.

Dictation Style.
Dictation style is important in order to dictate effectively to Dragon. While it can be fast and very natural, is not quite conversational speech. Talk to the system in a relaxed manner but with just a little more care with articulation, at least at first. In time the user will be speaking more and more naturally, without losing accuracy.

PC Processor.
Adequate RAM. A faster processor, dual-core if possible will help to ensure success.

Dragon Edition.
Only Professional fully supports Outlook.

Changing working position.
When using voice recognition it is very important to use relaxed postures, and even to stand occasionally, “unhooking” the body from the need to deliver the hands to the desktop in a single operating posture.

Dragon Naturally Speaking V10 – some personal observations from an experienced trainer

"Dragon’s accuracy is FANTASTIC. Demoing it to new people is akin to magic. And there is no doubt that Dragon looks most fantastic when dictating at flat-out speed - from a newspaper or a prepared script. Then it clearly lives up to its billing – 300% faster than typing, 100% spelling improvement, almost no errors. V10 enhances speed and introduces some smart-looking search facilities with natural language commands.

Accuracy is said to be improved by 20% but they said that, and promised “up to 99% accuracy”, in the last three releases. So expect your 99% to go up to 99.2%.

Strong recommendation NOT to try to carry v9 voice files to v10. Much better to do a clean new enrol on v10 and do the vocabulary enhancement with existing documents and mail. It IS possible to extract macros/commands from previous voice files and insert them into v10 … but you will have to ask Nuance how this is done.

Other V10 Notes
  • V10 starts and launches applications faster.
  • Dragon Voice Shortcuts - New natural language commands.
    “Search web for Plantronics” – uses your chosen search engine.
    “Search desktop for legal template” – uses Google desktop.

Dragon Naturally Speaking V10 demo

  • “Search images for …..”
    “Search Amazon for …..”
    “Search Youtube for ….”
    “Search wikipaedia for …”
  • Improved natural language commands for Office 2007 are only available in DNS Professional. The very smart and genuinely NEW search commands can be said to open up DNS for a new type of (non-disabled) user; one who is not so much a writer of lots of words as a searcher, researcher and surfer.
  • The command, “send mail to Joe Bloggs” will launch your e-mail application and start a new message, with the address in.
  • No-training option produces excellent accuracy. The view is that training not necessary at all for an experienced user. We are getting closer all the time to speaker independent speech recognition.
  • A new, third training option on the new user screen is labelled for children and impaired speech (so three options: no training, normal training (6-7 minutes), special training).
  • The US version includes new regional accents. Expect news about additional future UK English accents and a new option for child users.
  • ‘Small word’ recognition is said to have improved.
  • The “cap that” irritation/bug (you say ‘cap that’ to capitalise something and get “That”!) is apparently fixed.
  • Reduced “latency” = faster transfer from the “box” to the application.
  • Wireless microphone effectiveness apparently improved. With an ear-mounted Plantronics CS60, a DECT/USB connected mic, the results are very impressive – even with the speaker many metres away. The similar Plantronics Callisto, a Bluetooth device, gives similar quality, we are told. For about £50 extra you can now get some Dragon editions with Plantronics mics in the box. But check which one. Beware of tiny buttons on wireless headsets that disabled people can’t find or press, and check out if the user can handle the re-charging and connection process. (All wireless mics need to pick up power from somewhere).
  • “Blindingly fast” in Office 2003 and XP.
  • 2Gb ram still recommended although the box may still say 1Gb.
  • There is an option to run a scheduled accuracy upgrade.
  • Upgrades only go 2 versions … so v8-10 is ok, 7-10 not.
  • Nuance confirm that DNS does run under BootCamp (Windows under Mac).

Dragon Naturally Speaking V10 and Windows 7

Nuance has apparently performed testing on Windows 7 and found that Dragon installed and ran on this operating system with no major issues and should get official confirmation from Microsoft that it is a compliant application shortly. So for anyone who is wondering if Dragon will run on Windows 7, the short answer is yes!

Using Dragon - general notes from an experienced trainer

In Dragon Naturally Speaking, the green ball at the top of the screen, is the 'select and say' button. If greyed out, then some areas of the underlying program are not compatible, i.e. Powerpoint. ("Start Powerpoint"). Dragon recognises words in context - NOT as single words in isolation. After an upgrade to a more up to date version of Dragon, it's always best to discard the saved voice file and start a new one. If using a digital voice recorder, always use a noise cancelling microphone - VXI are best. Can be used via BlueTooth with dongle. A 'Buddy' reduces the noise interference (the yellow bars on DNS enrolling process).

Using the following phrase,"What can I say?", will bring up a list of available commands relevant to the current application. Also: Under the Help Menu you can view the help topics. Also you can view the Accuracy Center. Select “Improve My Accuracy” from the help menu. Chose “Sample Commands” a list of global commands will appear on the right side of the screen.

The old version - Dragon Dictate - is still out there. Dictate accepts input one word at a time, which suits people with certain vocal difficulties. It does not work very well with Windows XP. Dragon Professional can be configured for complete hands free use. A cheaper option is Dragon Preferred, with Talking Point software running alongside.

Dragon V9 supports 'Roaming Profiles' on a network, but there are usually problems because of IT security restrictions. The 'Tap System' is an interface for use between a Dragon user's computer and the host network computer. Some network software is not fully compatible with Dragon. Sometimes Pixel Mapping (Grids) is required for those which only allow mouse clicks. Professional allows a 3rd party to edit saved voice files, without affecting the original sound recording. The DNS command 'Heard Word' can be used to change a command phrase.

A number of international languages are supported. This German website, Abitz.com, offers a particularly detailed description of what the program offers.

Dragon Naturally Speaking does not currently operate on an Apple Mac (accept under boot camp - windows on mac), although the new MacSpeech Dictate uses the Dragon engine.

Using voice recognition with other software


More pages