Aug 10 2012

My Dragon NaturallySpeaking tweaking tips

5c5j1nia_thumb My Dragon NaturallySpeaking tweaking tipsI’ve been an user of Dragon NaturallySpeaking for an over extended period of time; it’s a massive boost to productivity and key to getting things like emails, documentation or just getting your thoughts out on something really quick.

I was recently in an online chat with the Dragon NaturallySpeaking [Nuance] team the other day in preparation for the release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12. And my first question was if Nuance was going to offer a solution for PC users, same as they do for Smartphone users?

My thought processes were that, for the most part, a current PC can effortlessly handle running Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but the fact is the way Nuance is handling the data processing for Smartphones is much more efficient and economical, and it doesn’t require any performance factors from the PC users; or MAC users for that matter.

Everyone should know that Smartphones don’t actually process your voice recognition on the phone; it’s sent off to a Nuance data center for processing. Once the data is processed, the text of what was submitted is returned. This is all done very quickly. The only thing the Smartphones have to do is be able to record the audio and paste the results.

In the latest release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12, there’s supposed to be a performance advisor. This got me contemplating all the ways I attempt to maximize Dragon NaturallySpeaking for myself.

But this brings me to my topic, which is performance. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is very important. If you have to wait for a couple of seconds the results of the voice recognition to appear, you’re going to lose interest in dictation. So, over the years, I have found a couple of tweaks to get everything I can out of Dragon NaturallySpeaking; performance wise.

Use an USB headset or MIC

I really can’t stress enough how this will improve your recognition on Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Analog works, but USB is better. It’s digitally processed sound, and you don’t have to worry about which is the mic and which is the headset when plugging it in.

The key to good voice recognition is the incoming audio; another is speaking clearly, but if the audio is bad, it’s not going to work good.

Computers aren’t people, computers can’t kill the background noise and make out what your saying; with Dragon NaturallySpeaking it transcribes what it can understand. If you can speak as clearly as a newscaster, you should really enjoy using voice recognition.



Dragon NaturallySpeaking Settings

In the options menu of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, under miscellaneous, I would suggest these settings…

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  • Having the MIC awaiting you is a but of a time saver If you utilize Dragon NaturallySpeaking a lot.
  • It’s important to save your changes, so you don’t lose all those additions and corrections. And it’s silly to really ask this question when exiting the application. In my opinion… this should be done anytime you access the vocabulary, and done in the background.
  • Fastest response, to be perfectly honest, I have used the slider bar in both positions and have seen very little difference in response time. Dragon NaturallySpeaking [Nuance] could actually remove this option at this point.
  • Launching Dragon NaturallySpeaking at the start up is wise If you utilize Dragon NaturallySpeaking a lot, like me. There’s rarely an instance where I don’t use Dragon NaturallySpeaking once my machine has been rebooted.


Dragon NaturallySpeaking Hotkey corrections

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a great program and it goes along way to make using a computer without hands, but in my situation, I still like using the keyboard some. I like being able to dictate to the computer, watch the words appear and then make corrections as required, but having to say ‘correct that’ isn’t something I enjoy.

So, I believe it’s important to make changes to Dragon NaturallySpeaking that make YOU happy; with the keystrokes YOU understand and want to use to make corrections.

I like to use the CTRL right and CTRL left buttons on my keyboard.

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I understand the concept of using voice to control the machine and make these types of corrections, but unless you are away from your desk, this is the best, faster way to make corrections and keep moving.


Processor Priority

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, at it’s base installation, is set for NORMAL processing level. But to really get the best performance out of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you need to bump that up. You need to give Dragon NaturallySpeaking more priority over other functions.

I have found this tweak helps me out a lot; not only on using Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but loading and other functions, like saving profiles.

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You can change the CPU priority to HIGH temporarily without impact to stability of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I have actually ran Dragon NaturallySpeaking on REAL-TIME, but for obvious reasons, I don’t run anything on REAL-TIME.

But to keep Dragon NaturallySpeaking on HIGH, I use a small application that remembers the CPU priority for applications in the task manager. It’s called PRIO.

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You can download it here; it’s free for personal use. Just download it, install it and then go to your task manager and make your adjustments…



Adding words to Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Dragon NaturallySpeaking has the ability to add words auto magically to the vocabulary, but let’s be honest, sometimes it’s not so good about it, and if you are adding special words/website names or new catch phrases Dragon NaturallySpeaking isn’t going to understand them.

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Being able to get to the Vocabulary editor quickly is key to staying productive… I have made the suggestion to Nuance about this, but I don’t know that they have listened to me. So, I created an option to add phrases and words for me.

I used a small macro software called AutoHotKey to take the highlighted word or phase and put that in to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking vocabulary for me.

It’s meant for the users who use the DragonBar at the top of the desktop; it helps with adding words to the vocabulary. You highlight the word and use the PAUSE key to activate it.

FastAdd for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11


Constant Optimizing of the vocabulary

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, from version 9, doesn’t require the users to actually train the software to work accurately, but over time, if you didn’t do the training, you need to ensure you are adjusting the vocabulary and optimizing it on a regular basis. It makes a difference.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking normally tries to schedule this for you, but if it fails or if you aren’t doing this regularly; I suggestion you check it. Or run it manually and let Dragon NaturallySpeaking do it’s thing…

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Those are my suggestions for Dragon NaturallySpeaking and getting the most out of it. I hope you enjoy them and if you have tweaks that others might could use; let me know…

If you aren’t using voice recognition; when you do, you’ll thank me.

I hope this helps…


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11

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