Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dictation and Writing

Dictation and Writing

The most talked-about dictation software for authors is Dragon Naturally Speaking.  

After reading the reviews, it’s probably the best available. 

I would love to have it, but it’s not quite in the budget. Yet. 

With arthritis in my hands and fingers, typing isn’t always easy. 

I write in Microsoft Word which I subscribe to as part of Office 365.

Dictation Software You May Already Have

Imagine how thrilled I was to discover the newest version of Word now has a Dictate command. 

Does it work? Yes, but you have to be patient with it until it learns your voice. As with Dragon, you have to speak your punctuation. So you have to be patient with yourself, too, while you learn how to ‘write’ verbally.

In the newest versions of Word, the Dictate command is available on the Home ribbon. Click the down arrow below the Dictate command and select the language you wish to use. 

The first time you use the Dictate command, you’ll be prompted to enable permissions for your microphone.

To use the Dictate command, click it. The icon changes and displays a red dot. Speak into the microphone, remembering to speak your punctuation. When you’re through, click the Dictate button again to stop recording. 

Want to Learn More?

For more information, check out Microsoft’s Dictate your documents in Word

If you don't use Word, but use a Windows 10 PC, you can also dictate using the Dictation Toolbar in Windows. For more information on using Windows 10 Dictation, check Use dictation to talk instead of type on your PC.

Microphone Needed

You will need a good microphone for dictation. My personal choice is the Blue Snowball USB Mic. I purchased mine after I saw my daughter’s. I really like that the mic doesn’t have to sit right in front of your mouth. 

You can set it to be cardioid, omnidirectional, or cardioid with a -10 dB pad. I haven’t used the omnidirectional setting, yet, but with the cardioid setting, the recording is clear, and the mic doesn’t pick up background noise.

Do I use it? Not as much as I would like to. I’m still learning, and at this point, if a scene is flowing, I can type it faster than I can remember to stop and speak the punctuation as I go. However, I am practicing with it so that I can eventually do most of my ‘writing’ by ‘speaking’ my story out loud.

Do you use dictation in your writing? If so, do you use Dragon, Word, or some other method of dictation recording?


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