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Set up Dictation and Speech on Your Mac

If you long for a secretary who takes dictation, your days of waiting are over. Follow the first set of steps to set up the dictation part of the Dictation & Speech preferences, and then read on to learn how your Mac can read text to you or alert you when something occurs, such as when you try to quit an application without saving a document.

1

Choose Command→System Preferences.

Click the Dictation & Speech icon.

2

On the Dictation tab, select the On radio button.

This activates Dictation.

3

Select the Use Enhanced Dictation check box.

Enhanced Dictation lets you dictate even when you don’t have an Internet connection, as shown.

The dictation dictionary for the default language, U.S. English, must be downloaded. The first time you turn on Enhanced Dictation, a dialog asks you to confirm the download of this dictation dictionary.

4

(Optional) Open the Language pop-up menu and click Customize to add more languages.

Select the check box for any language(s) you wish to dictate in.

Click OK. Your Mac downloads dictation dictionaries for the selected language(s).

5

(Optional) Open the Shortcut pop-up menu to choose a key command for starting dictation.

Select Off to activate dictation with apps’ Edit menus, or select Customize to specify a key command that isn’t in the list.

When you're in an app that you use to create written text, such as a word processor or an e-mail app, use your dictation shortcut or choose Edit→Start Dictation. The mini-window shown appears, and you can begin speaking.

If you activated more than one language, use the arrows next to the language to switch to another.

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