Category Archives: Utter Command

Guest Blog: Remembering Touch Commands

So you’ve mastered Touch commands, in fact you’ve mastered them so well that you’ve created dozens and now you can’t remember them all. To access them, you can say “UC List Touch”, but that draws your focus away from the screen that you are working on.

If you incorporate your Touch commands into your Custom Files, you will always have them at your fingertips — or tongue tips, as it were.

Some of you are already using Custom Files (e.g.,“Custom 1 Guide”, “Custom 2 Guide”). For those of you who aren’t, these are handy guides that can come up on the right side of your screen, providing a “cheat sheet” while you continue to work. They take up some space on your screen, but they are frequently worth it. Especially if — like me — you have a hard time remembering all those great Touch commands!

Right now I am using Custom Files for the two programs I use most frequently, Outlook and Firefox. In each of these programs, I have created a number of Touch commands to move the mouse and click at various spots on the screen. I decided that I wanted to have easy access to my touch commands so I could maximize my use of this powerful tool. I also wanted to reorganize my touch commands by program (when you add a new Touch command, it is added chronologically to the bottom of your list ).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Say “UC List Touch” to call up your list of touch commands.
  2. Say “All Copy to Excel”, which will copy all of your touch commands into an Excel spreadsheet.  It will also copy all of the number coordinates that go with each touch command you’ve created, but don’t worry about that, the next step will take care of that.
  3. Select your touch commands by saying “40 Downs” or some number that will capture them (if you have a lot of touch commands, you might need to say “100 Downs”, for example.)
  4. Say “All Copy to Notepad”. This will copy your touch commands into Notepad, which will remove all of the formatting from Excel (you don’t want to have the lines that separate each Excel.
  5. You now have a clean list of all of your touch commands that you can organize. Rearrange them by program, or any way that you would like. Once you have them in an order that makes sense to you, you can easily copy and paste them into your custom files.

Now your touch commands are part of your cheat sheet. So the next time you are working in a program and you want to remember all of those handy dandy touch commands you created for it, just call up your custom file and there they are.

ONE BIG CATCH: Since the Custom File does take up a portion of your screen on the right side, some of your touch commands may be “off” since part of your screen is now filled by the Custom File itself. So you can look at the file to remind yourself of your touch commands, then close the file and continue. It’s still easier than scrolling through the list you see when you call up UC List Touch.

– Big Talker

Speaking to Excel

I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries lately about using speech recognition in Excel.

The fastest way to learn to apply Utter Command to Excel is to read UC Lesson 10.9: Navigating, numbers, functions, selecting and formatting in tables and spreadsheets, and UC Lesson 10.10: Putting it all together in any program (say “UC Lesson 10 Point 9” and “UC Lesson 10 Point 10” to call them up). Then take a look at the Top Excel Guide, which opens a list of useful shortcuts along the right edge of your screen.

Here are some basics:

  • “Cell” followed by a letter and number jumps to any cell, e.g. “Cell B 2” or “Cell Bravo 2”
  • “Control Space” selects the row the cursor is on
  • “Shift Space” selects the column the cursor is on

Here are some particularly useful combinations:

  • A number followed by a direction selects cells — keep in mind you can select in two directions at once, e.g. “3 Rights · 5 Downs” to select 3 columns to the right and 5 rows down
  • “3 Downs · Control d” selects 3 rows down, then invokes the fill function to copy whatever was in the first row to the selected rows

And here’s a method that will save you time whether you use one formula or many:

Add the formulas you use to the Vocabulary Editor, with a comfortable spoken form. For instance “Equals Sum” to type “=SUM(”

To add a formula, say

  1. “NatSpeak Vocabulary”
  2. Speak the formula using “spell” to put the written form in the Written Form text box, e.g. “spell equals caps Sierra Uniform Mike close paren” to type “=SUM(“
  3. “1 Tab”
  4. Put a comfortable and memorable written form in the spoken Form dialog box, e.g. “equals sum”.
  5. “Enter”
  6. Escape” to exit or “Written Form” to add another.

Now every time you want to type “=SUM(“, say “equals sum”.

Tip: Finding a command

Here’s a very quick tip.

If you know the name of a command, or even part of it, and want to look it up in the Utter Command documentation, say

   – “UC Index” to bring up the Utter Command Index
   “Find Open” to put the cursor in the find dialog box
   – type a keyword you want to look for, for instance “Wait”, “Drag” or “Before”
   “Enter” to find the first instance
   – if necessary, “Enter” again to find subsequent instances

Once you find what you’re looking for, use the reference number to call up the full lesson on the command, e.g. “UC Lesson 4 Point 5”. This is also a good way to see the consistent patterns in the Utter Command speech command set.

Tell me what you think – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

Happy new year!

Tip: Scrolling by speech

I’ve gotten several questions lately about scrolling by speech, which is key to comfortable hands-free operation. Utter Command gives you several ways to scroll by speech. The best way depends on the situation.

To quickly look something over, use the speech command that allows you to see successive screens with a pause between changes. For example, “3 Screen Down Wait” moves down a screen, then after a default wait of two seconds moves down another screen, then two seconds later moves down a third screen. If you want a longer wait, add a specific number of seconds, e.g. “3 Screen Down Wait 5” (UC Lesson 7.23). 

To directly control the scroll bar by speech, place the mouse pointer on the scroll bar using a command like “99 by 10” and use the vertical drag command to move the scroll bar to a given point. For example “Drag By 50” moves the scroll bar to the middle. Then, if you then want to go three quarters of the way down say “Drag By 75”. You can also control the scroll bar incrementally, for instance, “Drag 3 Down” (UC Lesson 4.2, 4.5).

In some programs, including some versions of Word, the cursor moves to the page you scrolled to when you use an arrow command like “5 Down”. And in some programs, like Firefox, you can say a link number to move the cursor. In these cases you can leave the arrow parked on the scroll bar, edit the text, than say another drag command to move the scrollbar without having to move the mouse to the scrollbar again. In some programs, including WordPad, you have to move the cursor to the new page by clicking. In this case, keep the right ruler open on your screen so you can easily click back to the scroll bar when you’re ready to scroll again.

– If you use this method a lot, try naming a mouse click to move the arrow to the scroll bar at the home position (UC Lesson 10.24).

– You can also use this method to control horizontal scrollbars — use the “Drag 1-100 By” command.

– If you’re a ZoomText user, you can use this method even when the scrollbar is not showing on the screen.

Tell me what you think about scrolling by speech – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.

Speeding Web navigation: single-step deep menu access

Utter Command speech-enables the Firefox Mouseless Browsing extension, which puts a unique number on every clickable item on a Web page. UC lets you click every item on a page, including links, by saying the number plus the word “Go”, for instance “7 Go”.

This works pretty well, but it gets even better when you discover that an item doesn’t have to be visible for you to click it.

This lets you click items that are off-screen. Better yet, it lets you click items on drop-down menus without having to first drop-down the menu. This lets you use a single step to get to any menu item in a Web application once you know the number.

For instance, to insert a horizontal line in a Google Document you can click the “Insert” menu, then click the menu item “Horizontal Line”. There’s no direct keyboard shortcut for horizontal line, so it’s usually a two-step task.

Using numbers you can say “7 Go” to drop-down the Insert menu, then “84 Go” to click  Horizontal Line. But if, like me, you add horizontal lines often enough to remember the number, you can cut straight to the chase and say “84 Go” anytime you want a horizontal line.

Tip: Not my mistake

One thing that the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine could do better is hyphenation. I don’t mind so much when I say something that should be hyphenated and it’s not. I can always say the NaturallySpeaking command “hyphenate that” or the UC command “1-10 Hyphenate” after the fact if the NaturallySpeaking engine leaves out the hyphenation. I can also specify hyphenation when I want it, e.g. “on hyphen the hyphen fly” will type “on-the-fly”.

If I have something that’s not hyphenated and should be, it’s either a mistake or something I accidentally left out.

But if NaturallySpeaking puts in hyphenation where I don’t want it, there are two problems. First, there’s not an easy way to remove hyphenation after the fact — I have to select the phrase, then say it again in two phrases so it won’t be hyphenated, which is 3 steps. Second, there’s no way to specify no hyphenation.

If NaturallySpeaking over-hyphenates and I don’t notice, it looks like I’m consciously adding hyphens where they shouldn’t be. There’s nothing more annoying than having another entity introduce mistakes into your work.

Because the minuses of over-hyphenation are larger than the minuses of not hyphenating enough, when I see a phrase hyphenated when it’s not supposed to be I remove the hyphenated version from Natspeak Vocabulary so it won’t happen again.

For instance, I removed “follow-up”, which I often put as a stand-alone tag in my todo list. It’s a clunky workaround, but it’ll have to do until speech engines get better at analyzing hyphenation.

To remove a vocabulary word say “NatSpeak Vocabulary”, say the or phrase you want to delete, “Under d c” to delete and close the window, and “Enter” to confirm the change.

I think Nuance could mitigate this problem with a pair of in-line commands: “no-hyphen that” would remove hyphenation in the last phrase and “no-hyphen” would specify that something not be hyphenated, parallel to the “no-caps” command. I’m adding this to the Nuance wish list.

Tip: What to do when dictation isn’t recognized as text

Occasionally the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine will get mixed up about whether or not the program or field in focus is something you should be able to type text into. When this happens you’ll see lots of question marks in the recognition box.

The problem is usually easy to fix — move the focus out of whatever program this is happening in, then back in. Here’s a quick way to do that — the UC command “Notepad Open · Notepad Close”.

Tip: What to do when dictation isn't recognized as text

Occasionally the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech engine will get mixed up about whether or not the program or field in focus is something you should be able to type text into. When this happens you’ll see lots of question marks in the recognition box.

The problem is usually easy to fix — move the focus out of whatever program this is happening in, then back in. Here’s a quick way to do that — the UC command “Notepad Open · Notepad Close”.

Tip: Faster correction

Here’s a very quick tip that’ll speed the correction process.

If you start spelling in the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Spell Correction dialog box, but realize too late that you spoke too soon because the correct answer was one of the choices after all, all is not lost. Say the UC command “Line Delete” to get the original choices back.

Tip: Link phrases and website paths

You’re using the Utter Command Site list utility to go directly to websites, e.g. “Twitter Site”. And you’re comfortable saying the numbers that appear next to links to get around websites, e.g. “11 Go”. What’s next?

Is there a place where you find yourself constantly using two link numbers in a row? Try speeding things up by saying them as one phrase. For instance, in Google documents, I say “7 Go” to drop-down the Insert menu and “84 Go” to choose Horizontal Line. After a few times you don’t have to look: say “7 Go 84 Go” to do it all at once.

Here’s another tip that starts with a riddle: how are the following two tasks connected?

1. Going directly to a website but not in your default browser

2. Emailing a website link to a friend

Answer: you can use the same command to do either one.

Say you’re in a browser that’s not your default browser, and you want to go to the Twitter website. Put the cursor in the address bar (“Go Address”). Then paste the path of any website that’s on your Site list by adding “Path” to whatever you’d normally say to go to the site, e.g. “Twitter Site Path”.

Same goes for when you want to drop a link into an e-mail message. If the site in question is on your Site list, there’s no need to go to the site and cut and paste — use the Path command to paste the Web address into your message.

Have you found a good application for double Link numbers? Tell me about them – reply here or let me know at info@ this website address.