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Use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to Interact with Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is the most widely used business e-mail client. When used in combination with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, it is a Full Text Control application that also provides some Natural Language Commands. Outlook keeps track of your personal information — at least appointments, addresses, and the like.

Outlook has a good collection of hotkeys that enable you to access features with the Press <hotkey> voice command. To see a list of Outlook’s hotkeys, look in Outlook’s Help Index under keyboard shortcuts for your version of Outlook.

Outlook uses the basic three-panel window arrangement:

  • The folder list: A vertical pane on the left displays message folders or mailboxes.

  • The message list: A horizontal pane in the upper-right lists the messages contained in the selected message folder.

  • The reading pane: A horizontal pane in the lower-left displays the contents of the selected message.

Move from one pane to another by pressing the Tab key or saying, “Press Tab.” Move in the opposite direction with Shift+Tab.

Like Microsoft Windows 7, Outlook 2007 displays the Ribbon and the Office button. Use the cursor to mouse over the menu items to see what they are called. Then you can select them using that name.

The folder list

The folder list in an e-mail application behaves like the folder list in Windows Explorer. When the cursor is in this pane, use the Move Up/Down commands to select a folder or mailbox. For example, Move Down Five selects the folder or mailbox five places below the currently selected folder or mailbox.

Folders that contain subfolders or mailboxes have a +/– check box next to their folder icons. To display the subfolders or mailboxes, select the containing folder and say, “Press Right Arrow.” To hide the subfolders or mailboxes, say, “Press Left Arrow.”

The message list

The message list is, first and foremost, a list. When the cursor is in the message list pane of the e-mail application window, select messages in the list by using the Move Up/Down commands. To select the message three places above the currently selected message, say, “Move Up Three.”

Reading messages

You can read a message in the reading pane of the application window, or you can get a little more reading room by opening a message window. Open a message window in Messenger by selecting a message in the message list and choosing File→Open from the menu. (Alternatively, you can say, “Open mail message” or “Open message.”)

Whether the cursor is in the reading window or in a message window, the Move and Go commands move the cursor through the message. However, the most useful command when you’re reading a message is Press Page Down. It displays the next window of text.

Switching between open mailboxes and messages

Say, “Press Alt Tab” to cycle through the items on the taskbar. Switch to a new mailbox by selecting it in the folder list. You can also say, “List all open Windows” to see what’s open and select it from there.

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