How to Enhancing E-Mail with NaturallySpeaking 12

By Stephanie Diamond

NaturallySpeaking plays nicely with Outlook. In Dragon 12, you also get some additional commands for Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, and Gmail. If you use these e-mail applications, you’ll be happy to know that voice commands are an option for them, too.

How to use voice commands in Outlook Express

Outlook Express supports Windows operating systems up through Windows XP. (Vista uses Windows Mail. Windows 7 and 8 users must use another e-mail client.) Outlook Express’s most well-known feature is that you can use custom graphics. It also provides specially designed stationery templates for sending celebratory e-mails. If you started using Outlook Express long ago and are comfortable with it, you’ll be happy to add voice commands to your options.

As with the other e-mail applications listed above, Outlook Express also uses the three-panel window. By following the menu commands, you can navigate entirely with voice.

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In version 12 of NaturallySpeaking, Nuance added some voice commands for Outlook Express that were not in previous versions.

You can use the same commands with Outlook Express, Windows Mail, and Windows Live Mail shown below.

How to interact with Windows Live Mail

If you use the Windows 7 or 8 operating system, you must upgrade from Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail (WLM). WLM was created to work with the Windows 7 and newer operating systems. To send an e-mail with WLM, make sure that NaturallySpeaking 12 is running and then do the following:

  1. Say, “Open Windows Live Mail.”

    The application opens.

  2. Open the e-mail form by saying, “Create A Message.”

    The mail form opens.

  3. Move through each field by saying, “Go To <field name>.”

    For example, say, “Go To Subject Field.”

  4. When you move into the body field, dictate your message.

  5. Say, “Send Message.”

    The e-mail is sent.

Other commands you can use with WLM are

  • “Go To Address Book”

  • “Reply To Author”

  • “Open The Message”

  • “Forward The Message”

  • “Go To The Outbox Folder”

  • “Check For New Mail”

  • “Go To Subject”

When NaturallySpeaking is unclear about the instructions for Live Mail, it shows numbered options as it does in most other applications. Just as you would anywhere else, select the option by saying, “Choose <number>.” Once you get used to doing this, it’s easy to get around.

How to aggregate e-mail accounts with Thunderbird

If you use Thunderbird, Mozilla Foundation’s free e-mail client, you know that it’s an open source application and works cross-platform. This means that it is created by developers who donate their time and share code. It can be used with Windows, Mac, or Linux.

If you haven’t used Thunderbird, consider it if you want to aggregate e-mails across several e-mail accounts. Thunderbird doesn’t send e-mail on its own. It lets you combine your accounts and work from one main source. It has several add-ons and lets you configure your e-mail account in a way that makes sense for you.

After you set up and open Thunderbird, you notice that it looks like most other e-mail clients. It uses the three-panel window configuration: the folder list, a message list, and a reading pane.

You will find that using Thunderbird is like using the DragonPad. If you can navigate that, you know how to navigate Thunderbird. Thunderbird acts like a Full Text Control application. You can navigate by saying the menu and submenu names. You can use voice commands for each one by saying “Click” and then the menu name. For example, you can say the following as you follow along the top menu:

  • “Click Get Mail”

  • “Click Write”

  • “Click Chat”

When writing e-mails, you say “Go To The Address Book And Pick A Name,” Then you say, “Go To Subject,” and dictate the subject. Then you dictate the body of the message by saying “Move To Message Field.”

Gmail

In NaturallySpeaking 12, Gmail can be used with Rich Internet Application (RIA extensions.) You look at that when you use the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer version 9 (32-bit only)

  • Mozilla Firefox, version 12 or higher

  • Google Chrome, version 16 or higher

When you open your Gmail account in one of the browsers listed here, you will know if RIA extensions are enabled by looking to see if there is a green quote mark next to some of the commands.

You may be prompted to load the RIA extensions if you haven’t opened the browser with Dragon 12 running. So click Yes if you are prompted. Also, make sure you aren’t using Gmail Classic. That will not work with Dragon 12.

Gmail, like Thunderbird, is another Full Text Control application that doesn’t work with Natural Language Commands. But it gets the job done, and if Gmail is your application of choice, fear not. It can work for you.

One secret to using Gmail with NaturallySpeaking is to use the “Click” command. Doing so enables you to manage e-mail tasks quickly. For example, you can say, “Click Reply,” “Click Delete,” or “Click Report Spam.”

The Gmail program doesn’t have a reading pane, but closely follows the other structures of other e-mail programs. To send mail in Gmail after launching NaturallySpeaking and your Gmail window, follow these steps:

  1. Say, “Click Compose Mail.”

    The e-mail window opens with the cursor in the address box.

  2. Dictate the address and then say, “Move To Next Field.”

    Move through the subject field the same way.

  3. Dictate your e-mail.

  4. Say, “Click Send.”