How to Choose Your Options in NaturallySpeaking

By Stephanie Diamond

Now that you’re in charge, you can order NaturallySpeaking to work your way. It’s time to choose some options! From the DragonBar, choose Tools→Options to open the Options dialog box. There are seven different category options. Take time to check them out and configure your assistant exactly the way you want it to behave.

Five options you may want to try right off the bat are as follows:

  • Trade-off speed for accuracy: Miscellaneous tab

  • Automatically save User Profile every fifth time: Data tab

  • Change microphone on/off, correction hotkeys: Hot Keys tab

  • Double-click to correct in NaturallySpeaking window: Correction tab

  • Playback on correction: Correction tab

Each tab has a Restore Defaults button. Hurray! Click it if you feel you changed something in error and want to put things back the way they were when you first launched NaturallySpeaking.

Following is a brief explanation about what’s in each tab:

  • Correction: This tab is useful to explore if you want to have things like Spell commands bring up a spelling window. Take your time and go back to these options after you have worked in your documents for a while. As you might guess, corrections are a fact of life. At least they can be dealt with your way.

  • Commands: In this section, you have a slider you can configure for the amount of time you want a pause before you dictate a command. It’s set on the shorter end. Try this first before you extend it to see what’s comfortable. Remember that you’ll be dictating both speech and commands, and you want Dragon to understand how you like to do this.

  • View: In this tab, you can set your placement of the DragonBar. You can also set the DragonBar to display the Extras menu. Additionally, you can set the Results Box that was displayed in previous versions of NaturallySpeaking.

  • Playback/Text-to-speech: Text-to-speech is a fun and functional feature of NaturallySpeaking. It uses a computer-synthesized voice to read text aloud. This will be the voice of your assistant, so choose accordingly (from several male and female voice choices). It can sound a bit comical until you get used to it. Adjust the up- and down-arrow keys for volume and speed.

  • Miscellaneous: This tab includes lots of useful stuff. Most important is the Speed versus Accuracy slider. Move this to the right for fewer recognition errors, or to the left for a quicker, if less accurate, job. The choice is yours.

  • Data: Here you can change the amount of disk space reserved for playback. The default is 100MB. If you need the space you can set it to use less. If you need more space for playback, you can set it to use more. You can also make a choice about whether to “Save Recorded Dictation with Document.”

    If you want to choose each time you dictate, select Ask Me. If you are using Dragon Professional, choose Never so your files don’t become large and unwieldy.

  • Hot Keys: You’re either a devoted hotkey user or you aren’t. There’s no middle ground. If you like hotkeys, here’s where you change them. Why change? You may have trouble pressing the key. Or you may need to use the key for something else (like using the numeric keypad + and – [minus] keys for calculations).

    All the buttons on the Hot Keys tab work the same way: Click the button and a Set Hot Key dialog box pops up. When it does, don’t try to type the names of the keys; just press them. For instance, press the Ctrl key, and {Ctrl} appears. Click OK when you’re done.

    On the Hot Keys tab, you see the following options you may want to set:

    • Microphone On/Off: If you choose a regular keyboard key (like a letter), you must use Ctrl or Alt with it. Otherwise, function keys, arrow keys, and other non-typewriter keys are all fair game either by themselves or in combination with Ctrl or Alt.

    • Correction: This key pops up the Correction dialog box to correct the last phrase you spoke. The rules are the same as for Microphone On/Off.

    • Force Command Recognition: Hold this key down to try to make NaturallySpeaking interpret what you say as a command, not text. It can be only Ctrl, Alt, Shift, or some combination of them.

    • Force Dictation Recognition: This does the opposite of Force Command Recognition (makes what you say come out as text). Rules for keys are the same as Force Command Recognition.

Previous versions of NaturallySpeaking had a Results Box that showed what Dragon thought you said as you dictated. In version 12, this has been streamlined to a results display. As you dictate, you will notice a little Dragon icon displayed near your text. When you pause dictation, the words show up in your document. Nuance made this change after discovering that users were distracted by following the Results Box.

This is a great improvement and it’s not recommended that you switch back to the Results Box option if you are new to NaturallySpeaking. If, however, you are used to seeing the Results Box and want to display it, do the following:

  1. Go to Tools→Options→View tab.

    Look at the section toward the bottom called Results Box.

  2. Click the pull-down arrow under Auto-hide Delay and select Never Hide or some amount of time it will display.

    You can also choose whether you want it to stay in one place by selecting the anchor check box or whether you want to show preliminary results.