Give Your Fingers a Break and Dictate Text on Your Mac

Repetitive stress injury (RSI) can be a real pain (literally!) for those of us who spend our days behind a keyboard. Even if you don’t make a habit of typing all day, the position in which you keep and move your hands to type or hold a portable device for even brief periods of time can wreak havoc on your finger joints, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and even your back.

You can give your body a break, at least temporarily, by dictating text through your Mac’s built-in microphone. Here’s a brief walk-through on how to get going with dictation in Mac.

Open System Preferences

System Preferences tab on OS X

You’ll need to make a few adjustments to your settings to turn on this feature. In order to do that you’ll have to open System Preferences. The easiest way to get there is to tap Apple icon on the upper-left of your screen and scroll down and mouse-click the System Preferences option.

Open Dictation & Speech

Dictation & Speech in OS X

On the bottom row of options, you’ll see an icon called Dictation & Speech. Click to open.

Turn Dictation on

turn Dictation on in OS X

Under the Dictation tab, click the “on” button next to the Dictation option. If this is the first time you’ve done this, your computer will now download the necessary files to get you up and running, a process that takes less than five minutes.


Choose your settings

Dictation settings

Dictation is customizable in OS X. You can add custom shortcut keys to turn dictation on in any app and turn on the ability to use Enhanced Dictation while offline.

To use Dictation, just hit your shortcut keys while in the app you’d like to use speech-to-text, and a little microphone will pop up, showing you that you can begin talking. To turn the Mic off, hit your shortcut keys again or press the Done button.

microphone in OS X

Dictation works on nearly every app available in the Apple App Store, in Mail, Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs, Messaging, web browsers, and almost anywhere else you would normally type.

Posted by Jodi Jae on April 15, 2016

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