Monthly Archives: January 2011

Spell Everywhere

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the Dragon NaturallySpeaking “Spell XYZ” command. This command lets you say, for instance “Spell s a”. People are complaining that it sometimes doesn’t work. They’re right.

This command doesn’t work everywhere. It only works in text boxes. This is an unfortunate oversight in the Dragon user interface.

Logically, any speech command should work in all contexts where it could be useful. It’s unnecessarily difficult to make the user remember different commands to carry out the same operations in different contexts. Something as basic as pressing a letter key should work anywhere you might want to use a letter, including menus.

This is what people are complaining about. Those who are complaining have gotten adept enough at speech that something basic like pressing letter keys becomes second nature. They have a habit of saying “Spell” and then a letter, number or symbol name whenever they have to hit separate keys. The definition of habit is you don’t have to think about it. And this is where they get in trouble — the habit kicks in everywhere, including when you are in a drop-down menu that doesn’t respond to full words.

If you’d like to use the “Spell XYZ” command everywhere rather than having to stop and think about where you can and can’t use it, complain to Nuance, the company that makes Dragon (there are couple of ways to do this — details are posted on the Redstart wikki:

Friday Tip: Creative New Line

Although you can use the Utter Command Folders List utility to directly open any folder on your folders list using a single command, you’re also likely to at least occasionally navigate ad-hoc through the file system. A common way to navigate is to say a folder name to navigate to the folder (e.g. “Financials”), say “Enter” to go into the folder, say the name of a subfolder (e.g. “Budget”), then say “Enter” to go into the subfolder, etc.

Here’s a tip from Jacob Cole, an MIT student I’ve been training on Utter Command.

Navigate folders using the Dragon “New Line” in-line command, which was originally conceived as a text command. In-line commands are used within a text phrase. They’re mostly punctuation marks like “comma”. “New Line” is a little different. It literally hits the Enter key to give you a new line. The classic “New Line” example is saying a grocery list without pausing between lines, e.g. “Avocados New Line Eggs New Line Flour”.

Jacob pointed out that you can also use “New Line” to reduce the number of phrases you have to say when navigating through folders. Using the above example, instead of having to say four separate utterances to go two folder layers deep, you can say “Financials New Line” to navigate to the financial folder and go into it, then “Budget New Line” to navigate to the budget folder and go into it. Or even “Financials New Line Budget New Line”.

Happy navigating.

Have any good tips or pet peeve’s about using speech input? Let me know at info@ this website address.