What is a Natural Language Command?

The worst thing about dealing with computers is that you have to learn their language. Sure, NaturallySpeaking takes dictation. But when you want to tell it what to do with that dictation, you’re back in the same old situation, right? If you don’t like a 10-point font, you have to say something geeky like, “Format that size 12.”

If there were an actual human setting type for you, you wouldn’t say anything remotely like “Format that size 12,” would you? You’d say, “Make it a little bigger,” and the person would know what to do.

That’s what a Natural Language Command is. It’s a command that sounds like something you would naturally say, in your own language, rather than being something you would say only because you’re talking to a computer.

Understanding Natural Language Commands

The engineers who built Natural Language Commands for Word believe in freedom of speech. They tried to anticipate any way in which you might want to command Word. The Nuance engineers do succeed in giving you a lot of flexibility with Natural Language Commands.

So, it would be crazy to try to document all the thousands of ways you can give commands, and you wouldn’t be any better off. Instead, learn what you can talk about, and what are the best verbal commands to use.

How do you ultimately know what’s best to say? NaturallySpeaking accepts commands in so many different forms that Nuance suggests you just try speaking a command and see whether it works.

Clever as NaturallySpeaking is, accidentally coming up with a “command” that doesn’t work is still quite possible. And, to add injury to insult, if you have selected text in your document when you speak a “command” that NaturallySpeaking doesn’t recognize, that text is replaced by the text of your “command”!

If that happens, undo the error by saying, “Undo That” or pressing Ctrl+Z. (You may have to repeat that command to totally undo the error.)

If NaturallySpeaking doesn’t perform your command, either NaturallySpeaking doesn’t recognize it as a command or the command can’t be accomplished because the context where you’re trying to use it is incorrect.

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