Sep 08 2015

Techie Review: Dragon Professional Individual v14

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Recently, Nuance released a new version 14 of their speech recognition software; it’s called Dragon Professional Individual. The focus of this version seems to be focusing on individuals who want to be more productive at work using speech recognition. Huge improvements in the speech recognition and the responsiveness of Nuances speech recognition software were made in version 13. Those improvements have carried over to Dragon Professional Individual.

Some of the new features of Dragon Professional Individual is focused on the customization, like creating auto texts, transcription and being able to synchronize profiles between devices (PC/mobile device).

I started off using Dragon Professional Individual on Windows 7 professional. During the course of my introduction to Dragon Professional Individual, I upgraded to Windows 10. So my experience with the software is going to be a mixture of the Windows 7 environment and the Windows 10 environment.

My Initial Impressions

In my particular version/review, I downloaded the Dragon Professional Individual to my PC for installation. The installation file, if you download it from Nuance, is very close to 4 GB. Even so, this shouldn’t affect anyone’s bandwidth caps. Living in GigCity,  this only took me about 3 minutes to download.

My initial impressions about Dragon Professional Individual v14 are somewhat on the level with previous installations of the NaturallySpeaking software. Nothing really stands out to be out of place or unfamiliar. Installation process of their software takes several minutes to extract before you’re able to get to a point of actually using the software.

Nuance continues to use the new Dragon bar in the latest version. So the overall image of Dragon NaturallySpeaking continues to be static. However, Nuance does continue to push the friendliness of their application; giving users more natural language commands so that they can take better advantage of the abilities of their speech recognition software.

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Sync’ing user profiles (Dragon Anywhere)

As a suggestion that I gave to Nuance years ago, to use their cloud platform to synchronize their user profiles between PC and mobile devices, they have gotten around to doing that in this version. Nuance is offering a iOS and android application called Dragon Anywhere [not released yet; due in the fall].

Dragon Anywhere is a compliment application that will allow you to be more productive; being allowed to synchronize your settings, and words and maintain your vocabulary pretty much anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

Using Auto-Texts

Dragon Professional Individual works to remind people that are using speech recognition that auto texts can be very useful. Auto texts can be used for inserting everything from a paragraph of information to a simple email signature.

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Any auto-texts that you create can be managed under the managed custom commands.

The only suggestion that I would make the Nuance about managing custom commands would be to adopt a tree profile so that categories of custom commands could be created and managed. If you start using Dragon Professional Individual on a regular basis and you start using the commands heavily, you could find yourself in a situation where you have so many custom commands it’s hard to manage. But overall, having this feature out in the front like this is a very good idea.

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In addition to this, Dragon Professional Individual is also pushing the use of new commands. This feature was available in previous versions of their speech recognition software, but Nuance really wants users to start making an assertive effort to get more out of speech recognition.

Here’s an example of adding a custom command to Dragon Professional Individual to open Mozilla Thunderbird.

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I think another great tool that is in this software package is the transcription tools. Not only is Dragon Professional Individual able to transcribe the primary users voice, but also other people’s voices. Before you do that Dragon check to see if your profile has already been created, if not it walks you through the process. Other users profiles can be created as long as you have an approximate 90 seconds plus audio clip for Dragon to learn from.

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In addition to supporting WAV, WMA and MP3 files; it now supports M4a files as well. In some cases the audio can be synchronized between certain applications.

Automated Transcriptions

The Auto-Transcribe Folder Agent agent is a small monitoring application that looks at a specific directory and will automatically launch a transcription if a file appears in a particular directory. Any file placed in that folder is automatically transcribed. Along with the transcribed text and audio files kept for corrections later on. Supported output formats are DOC, RTF and TXT.

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Software Cost

According to Nuance Dragon Professional Individual is going to be priced at around $300; half the price of the normal Dragon NaturallySpeaking Professional package. If you’re an existing Dragon NaturallySpeaking professional user you could be looking at substantially lower costs because of specials on upgrading.

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The Dragon Anywhere software is gonna be compatible with iOS and android and should be available in the respective markets around this fall. The Dragon Anywhere software Is a cloud-based solution for speech recognition, It uses the same recognition engine that the desktop does. The pricing hasn’t been set definitively yet,  but according to Nuance for the use of that application, it’s going to be a roughly $15 a month or $150 a year.

Strong Points

  • Dragon Professional Individual v14 seems to be pushing their users to be more engaging; to get the most out of the product. Learn the advanced functions; do more.
  • The recognition and responsive performance of the software is absolutely outstanding. Whatever changes that Nuance made with the release of version 13 of NaturallySpeaking, has carried over to this version.
  • Transcribing services are going to be a strong benefit to those who are working on the go. Being able to take voice notes and have those transcribed; including voices of others.
  • Auto transcribing agent; this application can be easily configured to work with cloud services. To be able to drop audio files into a cloud shared folder and have those discussions transcribed automatically and waiting for you when you get back to your desk.
  • The software continues to make strides into being able to take input from pretty much any location/device. Using multiple input devices/microphones, and being able to use smartphones as high-performance microphones.
  • Dragon Professional Individual seems to work very well with supported applications, mainly Microsoft applications [like Microsoft office apps]; formatting commands.
  • Dragon Professional Individual seems to have returned majority of the commands to the applications that weren’t working  previously in the release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 13. By using the option of "What can I say?", users can find out which applications support what commands.

Weak Points

  • Browser plug-ins; with my previous operating system of Windows 7 Pro and with Windows 10 Pro, I experienced the same type problems with the interaction with the major browsers that Dragon Professional Individual are supposed to support.
    • Chrome; some functions worked, like ‘show links’ & ‘ALT-D’, but I never got the formatting functions to work. I could never issue commands through the browser using the software that would let me say, "capitalize that" or "correct that". And in many cases, actually during the dictation of this article, it became extremely frustrating as the application would cause Google Chrome to bounce about the screen scrolling up and down; never staying where it was supposed to be.
    • Firefox; my experience with Windows 7 and Firefox were good. I was able to dictate into the browser and do some editing, although at some points I was unable to use formatting commands. But moving to Windows 10, the Firefox plug-in for Dragon Professional Individual did not work at all. I was not able to dictate into Firefox at all; either with the plug-in enabled or the plug-in disabled. And I made sure that I was running the latest version of that plug-in, v14.
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer [Windows 7]; I had more success using the plug-in for Internet Explorer with Dragon Professional Individual. It was more responsive and I was able to issue commands for formatting. I was also able to use commands such as ‘show links’.
    • Microsoft Edge [Windows 10]; at the time of this article, I was not getting a lot of abilities from Dragon Professional Individual with Microsoft Edge; no navigation and no formatting options.


Nuance Dragon Professional Individual is a strong software package for speech recognition.The high level of accurate recognition and the responsiveness of the software is very impressive. Dragon Professional Individual points out the strong points of speech recognition and how beneficial it can be, and how much more productive one can be by using it.

By being able to synchronize profiles across devices will make it terribly convenient for those who are using speech recognition on a regular basis. The automated transcription/polling service  that was covered here would be extremely useful for those doing observation recordings or capturing quick thoughts or one-on-one interviews.

However, from Dragon NaturallySpeaking v13, Nuance is really I have to start working with more impetus on figuring out how their software is going to work when they don’t have a list of compatible software packages.

Additionally, they’re also going to have to work on the compatibility with the major web browsers because the add-ons/extensions they are offering right now are extremely frustrating; because none of the browsers offered formatting commands that worked for me that I could call productive.

Credits and Reference

If you have any thoughts or opinions on this, let me know in the comments below…

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