Category Archives: UC

Tip: Folder Direct

By Kimberly Patch

Every so often someone asks about calling up a folder directly without having to open Windows Explorer or a program like Word.

Until now my answer has been you can combine opening the program and the folder by saying, for instance “Word Open Budget Folder”, or “Windows New Budget Folder”.

But there’s a better way. Here’s a neat trick discovered by a clever UC user:

If you want to you call up a folder in any context and not just in a Windows Explorer window create a shortcut to that folder, and then add that shortcut to UC List as a file (not a folder) by issuing the command “Add File”.

You can also use the shortcut trick to create UC File links to files on network drives.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve come up with a clever trick that takes you beyond the Utter Command documentation.

Let me know at Kim at this website address or on Google+ +KimPatch (feel free to + me if you want to be in my Accessibility, or Speech Recognition circles).

Tip: Easier scrolling with mouse-speech combination

If you use a mouse to scroll, have you noticed how much fine motor control you use to keep the arrow on the scroll bar as you move the page? You’re doing a fair bit of work to do this. It’s akin to keeping on a balance beam.

If you can move your mouse, you can use an Utter Command touch/speech combination that’ll show you just how hard you have to work to use just the mouse to control the scroll bar.

Next time you use the mouse to scroll, place the mouse arrow on the scroll bar, then say “Touch Hold”. This command holds down the left mouse button. Now you can scroll by simply moving the mouse up and down. There’s no need to click, and there’s no need to keep inside the narrow confines of the width of the scroll bar. This command is especially effective when you’re reading and can leave the left mouse button down between moves. It’s also especially effective when you’re skimming quickly through a document — you can concentrate more on what you’re reading because there’s no need to take your eyes off it to make sure the mouse is on the scroll bar. When you’re done using this command make sure to release the mouse button: “Touch Release”.

You can use the same method in a drawing program to draw without having to have the pen touch the tablet.

There are more details on the “Touch Hold/Release” command in UC Lesson 4.5.

Keep in mind that the Touch Hold/Release method is one of several ways to control the scroll bar using Utter Command — if the combination is comfortable for you it’s a good one. If you need to be completely hands-free, see UC Lesson 1.8, which details all the ways you can use speech to navigate documents, and UC Lesson 9.5, which details Web navigation.

Happy navigating.

Tip: Undo for closing a webpage

Ever close a webpage, then wish you hadn’t? In Firefox there’s a shortcut that undoes a tab close: “Shift Control t”.

Ever close several webpages in a row and wish you hadn’t? You can use the same shortcut to get back the last few pages you closed at once, e.g. “Shift Control t Times 3”. Here are some related commands: use “Document Close Times 3” to close tabs and “Control t Times 3” to open blank tabs.

More on naming a mouse touch

We’re continuing to find new uses for Utter Command’s naming-a-mouse-touch ability.

Here are some new ones:

– “Folders Touch” to click the folder tree button in Windows Explorer. This lets you toggle the folder tree pane on or off  – thanks to Bill Z the trainer

– “Web Touch” to click on the top left corner of a Web page, away from any links. This lets you return focus to the page – thanks to Jill

– In general, iTunes buttons – thanks to Jill

– “Snapshot Touch” to click the snapshot button on the history window in Photoshop – thanks to Eric

– “Highlight Touch” to click the highlighter button in Word – thanks to Jeff

And here’s a new one I’ve been using: “Right Touch” and “Left Touch” to click the right and left side of a horizontal scroll bar in Excel. This lets you scroll left and right by page.

We’re also finding some new uses for naming two mouse clicks in a row.

– “Balloon Middle Touch” to dismiss the Dragon NaturallySpeaking balloon that comes up in NaturallySpeaking 10 Service Pack 1. The command clicks the balloon to make it go away, then clicks the middle of the screen to put the focus back on your application – thanks to Bill Z the trainer

– “Capture Settings Touch” in FastStone Capture. The command clicks the tiny main menu icon on the software toolbar menu, then clicks settings. This makes it easy to switch among full-screen, active area and window capture – thanks to Eric

And here’s one from Daniel:

– “I use a Microsoft address book that always opens in the wrong folder (“shared contacts” instead of “main identity contacts”). The window is also divided so I can’t switch folders with the cursor without moving the mouse or tabbing a lot. So I named a Local Touch to click “main identity contacts” and another one to click inside the portion of the window that lists the names and addresses. What it comes down to is that the brief command “Local Contacts Names Touch” puts me where I want to be after the window opens. This is extremely convenient!”

Thanks, and keep them coming – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

4/30/09 Note: see the naming a mouse touch video.

New Videos: The Whirlwind Tour

Check out our new videos — UC Whirlwind Tour part 1 and UC Whirlwind Tour part 2.

The Whirlwind Tour gives you a taste of what you can do with Utter Command in some key areas:

  • Controlling the Utter Command menu
  • Opening and closing programs
  • Clicking the mouse
  • Moving and sizing windows
  • Using Windows and program menus
  • Opening files and folders directly
  • Dictating and closely editing in any program
  • E-mailing
  • Using the Internet

There’s a printed copy of this tour, including cross references, in Getting Started. UC also includes an on-screen guide for this tour (say “UC Whirlwind” and the Whirlwind Tour commands will appear in a narrow on-screen guide window on the right side of your screen — other programs will size around).

Watch the tour, then use the on-screen guide or a printout of Getting Started to take it yourself.

What’s your favorite UC command? What would you like to see a tour on? Reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

New Videos: Commandline and quick Perl

We have a couple of new demo videos up.

Utter Command: Commandline by Speech shows how you can use the UC List Enter facility to speed up the commandline interface.

Utter Command: Writing a Perl Script by Speech shows how you can use UC’s combined keyboard commands to speed up writing code. Note that for this demo we don’t use any custom coding commands, just standard commands that work the same in any program.

You may recognize this Perl script from a YouTube video of a Microsoft speech demonstration. The big difference between the videos is with UC I had fewer commands to say and therefore fewer potential points of failure. There were a couple of other differences as well. I’m using the ideal speech set up: the NaturallySpeaking Pro speech engine running on XP with a Sennheiser ME3 Microphone and a buddy USB pod. I also wasn’t in front of an audience. I suspect the computer hardware is similar. My laptop is a two-year old Intel Core duo 2.16 with 2GB of memory.

UC Exchange

The UC Exchange Wiki is up! Check it out (say “UC Exchange”). Over the coming months you’ll see pages on specific applications with advice on how to apply UC to those programs, including step-by-step tours. 

Tip: Naming a mouse click

We're getting some good feedback from people who are speeding themselves up in all kinds of situations using UC's naming a mouse click ability. We didn't anticipate some of the ways people are using this ability. I'll detail these in a future post.

Here's how to name a mouse click:

1. Position the mouse using the mouse rulers commands on something you regularly click and can't get to any other way, for instance the Indent button in Google documents, e.g. "50 By 10"

2. When you've got the mouse exactly where you want it, say "Add Touch" to call up the UC list dialog box with the coordinates entered

3. Add a name for the coordinates, e.g. "Indent"

4. say "Enter" to put the new command on the Touch list (at this point you can repeat steps 1-4 to add more commands).

5. say "Window Close · Yes" to close the UC List dialog box, and restart NatSpeak


Now you can say "Indent Touch" to click the Google Documents Indent button.


Things really heat up when you use the naming a mouse click ability to click twice using a single speech command.

Let me know how you're using the mouse click ability by commenting here, on the Web site comment form (say "UC Make"), or sending e-mail to info@ this website address.

Tip: make sure to export your lists to back them up (say "UC List Export").

Note: some early prerelease copies of Utter Command don't contain the naming the mouse click utility. It'll be available in the general release, and all prerelease customers will get a copy of the general release when it comes out. If you're a prerelease customer and would like an upgrade before the general release, please contact us.

ATIA and training

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2009 Orlando show starts this week. We’ll be doing a poster session at the show (come see us Thursday, 3:30 to 5:30 in the Front Hall).


As part of ATIA we’re offering free Utter Command training sessions to the first 50 people who buy Utter Command during the show, which ends Saturday. UC training includes an assessment, custom lesson plan and remote training session. We use GoToMeeting for the remote training session. GoToMeeting lets you share what’s on your computer screen over the Internet, so we can see your screen and you can see ours.

Tip: Speedy Attaching with the Message Paste command

Say you’re in Windows Explorer or an Open dialog box where the files you want to add to a future e-mail message reside. You could open up your e-mail program and use the attach utility to attach files, or, since you’re already right there with the files, you could speed things up this way:

To attach files to a new e-mail message starting from Windows Explorer or an open dialog box:

  1. select the files you want to attach, by saying, for instance “3 Downs” (see UC Lesson 5.5 for instructions on selecting noncontiguous files by speech)
  2. say “This Copy”
  3. say “Thunderbird Message Paste” (or Outlook, Express or Eudora, depending on the e-mail you use)

And there you have it, a new e-mail message with files attached.