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NaturallySpeaking Dialogue Boxes and Hotkeys Commands

After you start dictating with NaturallySpeaking, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself conversing with a dialogue box. In fact, you may have been talking to NaturallySpeaking dialog boxes even before you started dictating to other applications. Don’t fight it; dialog boxes are where Windows does its dirty work.

Dialog boxes are more difficult to deal with than menus, because dialog boxes can contain almost anything: radio buttons, drop-down lists, textboxes, check boxes, tabs, browsing windows — sometimes all in the same dialog box.

How the dialog box responds to a voice command depends on where the cursor is: If the cursor is in a textbox, the dialog box interprets spoken words as text that otherwise might select a file or change a radio button.

Consequently, you must always pay attention to where the cursor is in a dialog box. The cursor location tells you what kind of input the dialog box is expecting, which determines how it will deal with any commands you give it.

People who don’t have voice-recognition software (you may have been one of them until quite recently) use the mouse a lot when they are confronted with dialog boxes. Click here, click there, type something, double-click somewhere else, then click OK, and it’s over.

NaturallySpeaking has mouse commands, but moving the mouse pointer around by voice is not as quick as moving it by hand. And hitting a tiny target like the down arrow on a drop-down list requires patience.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do things that way. Most actions that are performed with a mouse can also be done through the keyboard, by using what are called “hotkeys.” The Tab and Shift+Tab keys, for example, cycle the cursor through the various components of a dialog box.

The Alt key is used in most hotkey combinations. The Alt+Down Arrow key combination makes a drop-down list drop down. Alt+Up Arros retracts a drop-down list. The Press command lets you use these key combinations by voice, as in “Press Alt Down Arrow.”

Buttons and check boxes have hotkeys as well. You can find the hotkey by looking for the underlined letter in the accompanying text. In the Settings dialog box, for example, the text next to the Status Bar check box isn’t really “Status Bar.” It is “Status Bar” (note the underscored S). Check or uncheck the box by saying, “Press Alt S.”

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