This page explains step-by-step how to set up and use Speakable Items, the built-in voice-recognition function in Mac OS X. This provides voice recognition for hands-free control of a computer. However, it is not for speech dictation and lacks the advanced functionality and integration that commercial software can offer.
Step 1: Open the "Speech" window
Make sure you are in "Finder." If necessary, press Apple+Tab to cycle through the open applications until you return to "Finder."
Click on the "Apple" icon on the menu bar or press Ctrl+F2.
Click on "System Preferences," as shown in fig. 1, or press the down arrow key to highlight it and then press Enter.
In the "System Preferences" window (shown in fig. 2), click on the "Accessibility" icon.
Step 2: Turn on and use Dictation
In the "Dictation" window, click the blue "Dictation Commands" button shown in fig. 3.
Step 3: Edit and Enable Dictation Commands
Use the checkboxes to turn commands on or off. Click a command to see which phrases work with that command. For example, "Undo that" works with several phrases, including "Undo this" and "Scratch that."
Use Dictation Commands
To use any of the commands that you turned on, first make your Mac listen for dictation command.
Step 1: Enable Dictaction Keyword Phrase
Press Fn+Fn (Function Key twice) or turn on the option "Enable the dictaction keyword phrase" under to the blue "Dictation Commands" button shown in Figure 3.
Step 2: Speak Enabled Phrases
Speak any of the phrases that work with a dication command. You can say "Show commands" to open a window showing all of the dictation commands available to you.
Create Your Own Commands
After you select "Enable advanced commands," an Add + button appears beneath the list of commands.
Step 1: Click the Add + button to add "undefined command" to the list of commands.
Step 2: Click the undefined command to select it, then configure these options:
- When I say: Enter the word or phrase that you want to speak to perform the action.
- While using: Choose whether your Mac performs the action only when you're using a particular app.
- Perform: Choose the action to perform. You can open a Finder item, open a URL, paste text, paste data from the clipboard, press a keyboard shortcut, select a menu item, or run an Automator workflow.
To learn more about dictation, choose Help from the "Finder" menu bar, then search for "dictation."