Dragon for Pc

Dragon NaturallySpeaking v13 released!

What’s new in Dragon NaturallySpeaking v13?


Dragon 13 boxshot


The latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking has just been released! It is faster to use (with less delay in response times), is more accurate, and has features that will boost your personal productivity and help you work faster – at home, school, work or beyond. New features and benefits include:



  •        Even more accurate: 15% more out-of-the-box accuracy than Dragon 12
  •        Faster than ever: Enhanced to deliver faster performance
  •        Easier set up: Shorter profile creation and training – now optional
  •        Easier to use: Redesigned and enhanced interface
  •        A better web experience: Full Text Control and enhanced Command and Control
  •        Go headset free: Now supports microphones built into many laptops

Meet your faster, better, smarter Dragon

The new Dragon 13 Premium adapts to the way you work to provide the fastest and most accurate way to control your computer or tablet and help boost your productivity.

Go hands free and headset free

Dragon works with more computer applications and offers multiple microphone options, including those built into many of the latest laptops, so you type even less and can use Dragon without a headset.

Dictate notes and ideas on the go

Capture thoughts on the go using a digital recorder or the free Dragon Recorder App and Dragon will transcribe the audio files back at your PC.

Proofread by listening

Natural-sounding text-to-speech or audio playback of your own dictations makes proofreading fast and easy.

Each new version of Dragon shows improvements and it is now a genuine tool to help you improve your productivity. Find out more about the training and support that I can provide here!





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New features in Dragon Dictate v4 for Mac

What are the new features in Dragon Dictate v4?

Mac users who want to be more productive and use their voice to command their computer will really benefit from the new features in Dragon Dictate v4 for Mac. It is ideal for writers and bloggers, creative professionals, school and college students, journalists, business people, home users, teachers, and many others.

Dragon Dictate 4 now also provides a powerful, accurate transcription capability from any audio source. Examples of use include:

Writers/Authors/Bloggers/Content Creators

  • Compose while away from the computer using a recording device to capture content from your own voice, or from another single speaker, and transcribe this content later.
  • Also transcribe recorded speech audio from Internet sources, such as podcasts.

Teachers and Students

For transcription of lectures and presentations, either by the speaker, or by another individual. Examples may include:

  • Professors who want to make transcriptions of their lectures readily available to students without having to manually transcribe the results.
  • Teaching Assistants, some of who may need to transcribe recordings of multiple professors’ lectures.
  • Students who record their professors’ lectures and transcribe them.

Field workers such as Insurance, Law Enforcement and Social Services 

For note taking and report writing in the field – anyone who is away from the desk or computer but needs to capture information from one or more sources. Examples may include:

  • Claims Adjustors for insurance companies who will use a digital voice recorder or smartphone to record notes and/or compose text for use in reports.
  • Police officers or social services workers who need to quickly capture information for report writing, taking notes or writing “on scene” reports.
  • Letting agents who may want to quickly describe the contents and condition of each room as they move around a house.

Video Producers

For transcribing the audio portion of a video of a single speaker to produce, for example:

  • Text for subtitles.

 The new powerful transcription feature allows you to:

  • Accurately transcribe an audio file of any single speaker’s voice from podcasts or pre-recorded audio files.
  • Create transcription-only profiles to accurately transcribe based on recorded sources, instead of requiring a live source.
  • Only a 90 second audio clip is required to create a profile for the speaker.
  • Great for college lectures, interviews, business users with recorded notes…and more!
  • Transcribe from many different formats, including .mp3 audio files, aif, aiff, wav, mp4, m4a, m4v.
  • Use multiple transcription sources within a profile so one user can easily manage different recordings.
  • Expanded profile capability to allow multiple transcription sources per profile, making it even easier for one user to transition back and forth from personal dictation to one or more transcription files within the same project.
  • Not only can you easily transcribe your own voice memos from a smartphone or portable voice recorder into text, but you can seamlessly mix and match transcribing from other recording sources.
  • You can keep all the customisation and vocabulary from your profile without having to switch out to a different profile.

Have more control

With voice commands you can…

  • Compose and reply to emails in Gmail using full text controls, doing dictation and editing natively without having to transfer any text.
  • In Safari and Firefox, use voice commands to control your Gmail inbox, giving you even more voice capability within popular applications.
    • Use your voice to click on any visible link.
    • Use your voice to open emails.
    • Mix talking and typing with Full Text Control in Pages 4.3.

Be more accurate and faster

  • Higher performance with drastically reduced latency and faster editing
  • Improved accuracy over version 3, with optimisation for latest speech recognition technology.

Use flexible voice commands

With just your voice…

  • Create and edit documents in Pages® 4.3, compose and manage email in Gmail™, surf and search the Web and update your Facebook and Twitter status, to get things done quickly.
  • Smart Format Rules automatically adapt to how you want abbreviations, numbers and more
  • to appear, so you don’t have to correct it every time.
  • Easily create custom word lists and macros for frequently used text, giving you the flexibility to customise Dragon® Dictate for the way you work.
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What can you do with Dragon?

I’m often asked “what can you do with Dragon?” and the answer is that you can do as much or as little as you want to!

The obvious example is that you can dictate text directly into Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook or any application that requires text, and if you do no more than this, using Dragon will still be faster than typing; my typing speed with Dragon is 120 words per minute!

However, taking advantage of other commands can help to speed you up even more, and you can format, delete and move text, control the Word Ribbon, and open, close, save or delete documents, all with voice commands!

In Outlook you can open, close, delete, reply to, forward, create and send emails and dictate all the text you need.

On the desktop you can open, close, minimise, maximise and switch between windows.

You can also search the web or your computer with simple voice commands.

Although this can seem a bit daunting to start with because there are so many commands available, the structure is logical and most commands equate to what you would naturally say to achieve the same thing, so for instance, to move your cursor to the end of the line, you would say “go to end of line“.

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Does Dragon Dictate for Mac work?

Many people have asked me “Does Dragon Dictate for Mac work?” and the simple answer to this question is, yes it does, but you would expect me to say that!

I recently read an article by Gareth Huw Davies, a writer for the Daily Mail and freelancer for the Times on Sunday, who also writes for various companies. In this article, he summarises his experience of using Dragon on both a PC and a Mac, and thought it would be good to paraphrase the article here, and have also included the link to the full article below.

In this article, he states that he started using Dragon many years ago on the PC and that it was a revolution in his writing life, and that he used to write feature articles based on hour-long interviews, and it would often take a morning or more of heavy keyboard labour to transcribe them.

He progressed through several upgrades on the PC, and Dragon became gradually more accurate, but in 2010, switched to a MacBook, and for a time was adrift. He recalls that there was a rather unsatisfactory alternative which did work on the Mac (MacSpeech), but it was not very good!

Then in 2011, the first version of  Nuance’s Dragon Dictate for the Mac was introduced.

Now, he is using Dragon Dictate version 4 for Mac, which has been recently released.

Mac users will know that there is a dictation tool in the Mavericks operating system, but it is very basic. Dragon Dictate however, is a fully-fledged dictation programme, and has a lot more features to make life easier!

GH Davies suggests that he is not a fast typist but that one of the benefits of dictating text is that it lets you try forms of words very quickly, and then try another just as quickly to see if that works better. He says that writers have always done this with pen and paper or typewriters, but it is a lengthy process!

Dragon Dictate also works well with the microphone built into the Macbook!

It is also very useful for proof reading your work…

“Dragon Dictate can read text back to you, whether you want to hear a specific selection, or an entire document. Hearing your text can help you catch mistakes, especially ones that a spelling or grammar checker might miss, and it lets you listen to the flow of your writing, so you can decide where to make changes during editing.”

This is very helpful when working to tight deadlines!

It is also possible to transfer a pre-recorded file from another device such as an iPhone, although this technique is possibly not as accurate.

The overall verdict? Dragon Dictate  for the Mac has become a powerful assistant, willing to take over most, if not all, of the tedious work we used to do on the keyboard.

 The link to the full article is here…


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Can using Dragon really save you time?

How much faster than typing is Dragon, and can it really save you time? 

This very much depends on how much time you spend typing during an ordinary working week.

Let’s look at my typing…

I am a very slow typist but with my voice I regularly type at speeds of more than 120 words a minute. This means that if I have a 2000 word report to write, it will take me under 17 minutes!

The average typing speed is about 40 words a minute, and evidence of a piece of research that shows this can be found in a document called Typing Speed: How Fast is Average: 4,000 typing scores statistically analysed and interpreted, written by Teresia R. Ostrach, President of Five Star Staffing, Inc., Orlando.

The document can be found here…


I won’t quote too much from it, but fundamentally the authors argue that less than half the world’s population has the manual dexterity to type at more than 50 words a minute, and this means that the same 2000 word report will take 40 minutes, but this does not take into account typing errors!!

Most people will be able to type three times faster with their voice, so if you work a 40 hour week and spend 50% of that time at the keyboard typing, you will actually save over 6 hours a week – that must be worth thinking about because many people today are drowning in a sea of paperwork!

Increasing your ability to write by this amount will help save you time to focus on other areas of your business, and will also improve the service that you are able to offer to your customers.


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How accurate is Dragon for PC?

The latest version of Dragon (NaturallySpeaking 12) is very accurate straight from the box and most people should be able to achieve high levels of accuracy.

If this is not the case, there are some simple steps that can be taken to improve accuracy.

Firstly, ensure that you are using a good quality microphone! Generally speaking, a USB headset will be sufficient, but imagine if the quality is low – Dragon will hear your voice through a wave of interference and this is bound to affect it’s accuracy!

Secondly, Dragon is an application that requires a lot of resource, so run it on the best PC or laptop that you can afford. If your PC is slightly low on power you may experience a lag between what you say, and those words appearing in your document.

There are several tools available within Dragon such as the Accuracy Centre, which will help to improve accuracy, and this should be run on a regular basis.

These steps can be taken by anyone when they set Dragon up initially. I will be covering more at a later date, and cover many techniques to make sure that Dragon is as accurate as possible during my training. The worst thing that could happen is that you try Dragon out of the box, find it is not very accurate and give up! There are always good reasons why the accuracy may not be very high!

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Does Dragon really work?

Does Dragon really work?

Many people may have tried Dragon in the past and had a less than rewarding experience with it, and given up as a result. My own experience over the last twenty years has been to see it improve beyond all recognition! I use it myself all the time now, partly to keep my hand in for training purposes, and partly because it saves me so much time! However, I recognise that many people thinking of trying it now may have heard of a bad experience from a friend or work colleague, and will ask themselves “does Dragon really work?”.

It looks like there will be some tremendous advances in the near future, making voice recognition even better!

I have just been reading an interesting article written by Vlad Sejnoha, the chief technology officer for Nuance Communications, and he is writing about the age of intelligent computer systems, beyond simple voice recognition.

He states that there have been some remarkable advances in the field of voice recognition and natural language understanding (NLU), or how Dragon understands what you are saying.

The pace of innovation is quickening with virtual assistants such as Siri evolving into intelligent systems. He sees the accuracy of voice recognition continuing to improve because of a combination of things including the use of  a complex modelling approach, including a technique that is currently popular loosely based on theories of how the brain performs pattern recognition. This is called deep belief networks.

Devices will be more able to discriminate against background noise, particularly in city streets and in cars, and the device will be more aware of the user and implied context of what is being said.

It will no longer be necessary to pick a device up and turn it on before use. The device can be woken from sleep mode by natural voice commands, will then interpret those commands, and act upon them.

Natural language processing will be smarter with integration with AI, and you will be able to say something like “check if John and Amy can come for dinner tomorrow night”. Your mobile assistant will then confirm restaurant availability, determine which John and Amy you mean from your contacts, contact their mobile assistants to check their dairies, make the reservation and compose an email to them with the relevant information!

If it is working in all these ways, it make sense to suggest that it will work on a computer because that is the platform where a lot of development has taken place!

Can it really help business people?

Yes, I believe it can and use it myself, although it may depend on the type of work that you do. It is very well suited for use in Microsoft Word and Outlook. Most people would expect to complete their paperwork at least three times faster using Dragon.

Is it very accurate?

Yes, I type at 120 words a minute with my voice.

Is it difficult to learn?

No, but this very much depends upon what you want to achieve – you can control your computer with voice commands (and it doesn’t usually answer back!)

What happens if I have an accent?

It may take a while longer to get used to how you speak, but there is no reason it shouldn’t work. It sounds a bit silly to say it, but part of the problem is how to adjust the background settings to help the software recognise an accent, and part is knowing how to speak to it! I have done a lot of work with people from Yorkshire and I always joked with them about their accents, which I love, but they would say something like “I’m going ‘t shops” and Dragon cannot possibly understand this immediately!

Keep checking back here because I will shortly post some tips on how to get the best out of your Dragon!

How is it used on a computer?

Typically to dictate text into Microsoft Word, into emails, and to search the Internet. Dragon can be used just for dictating text, or if you prefer to control your computer by voice. Some of the tasks that can be controlled with voice commands are also much faster than typing!

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The future for Dragon

Work is already quite well advanced on using thought or brain waves, and is beginning on developing computers to mimic the human brain – Big Brother is on the way!

A recent newspaper article showed how a woman with muscular dystrophy was able to use a computer powered only by her thoughts to paint a picture of a bunch of flowers, and the reporter who wrote the article was trained to use this software in under two hours so that he could paint a very simple picture of a flower in a flower pot!

This type of use leads me to speculate and I wondered about the possibility of being able to dump the contents of someone’s brain onto a memory stick and upload them to someone else! This leads to the thought that it would no longer be necessary to go to university because you could just upload the contents of your professor’s brain – but that would mean missing out on the learning experience, so no fresher’s week, rag days, or cheap student union bars!

Well, just after thinking this, I picked up a copy of the BBC Science magazine where they were discussing this very thing and apparently, it is being considered! However, it is obviously a very complex idea, and one example discussed was taking the brain contents from someone who loves dogs to someone who is scared of them – this leads to an incompatibility in the experience.


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How is Voice Recognition (Dragon) currently being used?

The Dragon speech engine is being used in a surprisingly different number of ways today, including…

• In call centres to route telephone calls to the correct member of staff.

• In banks to confirm the identity of a caller – voice recognition used to enhance the recognition of a caller’s voice! Each customer provides a voice recording of themselves, and this is used to confirm their identity when they call the bank, rather than having to answer various security questions.

• On smart phones e.g. Siri on the iPhone – I’ve always seen this as more of a ‘toy’ but it is becoming more useful with each release. When my wife had her first iPhone5 she stumbled across Siri and asked me what it was, and when I explained, she asked me what she could ask it, so I said, “ask what is the answer to life, the universe and everything”, which she did, and Siri’s reply was “chocolate!”

• In cars for Satnav

• The Eurofighter Jet requires pilots to create a voice template to control cockpit functions (not weapons!) – this is designed to reduce pilot workloads

• For court reporting (stenography) – it takes less time to train for voice recording than for other equipment

• Home automation – “Computer please turn on the lights”

• Robotics

• Helping people with a disability – it can be life changing

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The history of Dragon software

Dragon speech recognition software was first released in 1997 by Dragon Systems of Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1982 by Dr James Baker, (who had described the principles of a speech recognition system in 1975, releasing Dragon Dictate for DOS). At this time however, the computer hardware was not powerful enough and the software required that users pronounced one word at a time, with a small pause between each, because it could not distinguish the boundary between one word and another during continuous speech.

Dragon Systems was purchased by Lernout & Hauspie, a Belgian company, in 2000, but they were declared bankrupt in November of that year. At that time, it appeared that the software might cease development, but the rights were acquired by ScanSoft in 2005, who also acquired Nuance Communications, and rebranded themselves to Nuance.

The early versions of Dragon used this discrete speech and the results achieved were, to be honest, disappointing and frustrating. When I first started using the software myself, and training people in how to use it, I was working with an organisation called the Foundation for Communication for the Disabled (now AbilityNet), and both the software and the computers systems being used were very expensive, and although many people could see the potential, it was not good enough, bearing in mind that many people using it were simply unable to use a mouse or a keyboard. It also required a great deal of investment in time to ‘train’ the software to recognise your voice, by reading aloud long lists of words and commands as they were displayed on the screen.

A competitor was available with an IBM product called ViaVoice but development did not match that of Dragon, and the voice commands available were a bit limited when compared with Dragon. In my view, the accuracy was not as good either, and the product is no longer supported.

Gradual improvements in the technology began from the release of version 5 and now, people were able to speak continuously. My own feeling is that from version 9 and 10, the software was beginning to become more usable, so that not only could it be used at home, but also in the office environment. Much of the training that I completed at this time was as a result of assessments for the Access to Work scheme, a government grant still available to help provide some support and equipment for people with a disability in the workplace.

Even now though, if you speak to people about their own experience with the software, they would probably describe it as disappointing, and in the office, the IT support teams would almost certainly say that it did not work!

The software itself was gradually improving so that the speech engine, the component that recognises what is said, was becoming more accurate, the hardware was becoming more powerful (and cheaper!), and the quality of the microphones available to use was also improving, so that Nuance claims a very high accuracy level for the latest version, 12.

Windows also has a free version of speech recognition, and it can work for some people, but the list of commands available is a bit limited, and I do not believe it is as powerful as Dragon. It is also quite frustrating to use, whereas Dragon is more natural.

Nuance acquired the rights to a speech recognition program for MAC called Macspeech several years ago, and rebranded it as Dragon Dictate for MAC, currently available as version 4. It is not yet as flexible as the PC version for those people who need to be able to work hands free, but the accuracy is very good, and development is happening very quickly, so this will improve with each successive release!

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