You dictate something to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and then you wait. How long is it going to take to figure out what you said? Did it even hear you? Should you repeat? Finally, the words show up.

You can deal with slow response time in the following ways:

  • Ignore it. Seriously. Don’t wait around for the words to show up on the screen. Keep dictating. NaturallySpeaking remembers as much as a half-hour’s worth of dictation, so don’t worry if you get a few lines ahead of it.

  • Change the settings. From the NaturallySpeaking window, say, “Click Tools, Options.” When the Options dialog box appears, say, “Click Miscellaneous” then “Press Tab” to select the Speed vs. Accuracy slider.

    Move the slider toward Fastest Response with the Move Left <number> command. When you have the slider where you want it, say, “Click OK.” (You can also do all those steps with your mouse, if you prefer: Choose Tools→Options, click the Miscellaneous tab, drag the slider left, and click OK.)

  • Liberate some RAM (memory). Close any programs you don’t need, and turn off background features of those you do need, like automatic spell checking.

  • Exit all your applications and restart the computer. If you’ve been on the computer for several hours and have opened and closed a number of applications, Windows’ bookkeeping may have gotten tangled. Restarting may give the computer access to resources it had forgotten about.

  • Install more RAM. This isn’t going to do you much good in the next 5 minutes, but in the long run it’s the best solution.

  • Turn off natural-language commands. If you don’t need the natural-language commands, just regular old dictation and the dictation commands that work in the NaturallySpeaking window, turn off natural-language commands.

    Choose Tools→Options in the NaturallySpeaking window. In the Options dialog box that appears, click the Command tab, then click the Natural Language Commands button at the bottom. Once there, click to clear the check mark labeled Enable Natural Language Commands. Click OK.