Why You Should Ditch Your Keyboard and Pick Up a Mic

"I wish I could just speak what I want to write instead of typing it. This is taking sooo long!"

I don't think I've met anyone who hasn't had this experience at some point or another.  So when I show my clients how they can dictate on their Mac for free, it's always a big WOW! This works really well and has saved me lots of time, especially when I'm converting my hand written notes to digital.

How to: If you have a Mac with the operating system Mountain Lion or Mavericks, open up your favorite word processor or the Notes app and double tap the fn key on the bottom left hand corner of your keyboard. If you have never done this before a message will pop up that looks like this.

The key difference between Mountain Lion and Mavericks' dictation is the option for Enhanced Dictation. Enabling Enhanced Dictation will allow you to dictate without an internet connection and also allows you to talk much longer and it's more accurate. If you don't see the option for Enhanced, you're probably running Mountain Lion. If nothing happens when you double tap the fn key, you'll need to upgrade your operating system from the App Store. If you need some help please reach out to me through my contact page, or leave a comment below.

Once you hit OK and it has finished downloading any necessary components, you'll see this microphone appear where you were about to type.

Now all you have to do is start speaking! When you're finished, tap the fn key once or click the Done button.

Comparison: There is one big name when it comes to dictation that you may have heard of, Dragon Dictation. You may have downloaded it for your iPhone before Siri came out. They make a really great app for your Mac that has a ton of great features, like converting a recording of a meeting to text. Generally, Dragon is going to be more accurate than the built in dictation on your Mac, but you'll have to pay $199 to get Dragon.

If you're interested in reading some comparisons between Dragon and the built in dictation, here's a good article.

You can buy Dragon Dictation here. The reviews on Amazon say it's a little buggy. I think it's worth looking at either way.

Try this out and let me know what you think!

Question: Have you used dictation software before? What do you think about it?