How to Train Your Dragon

Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Dragon) is a software and hardware package developed by Nuance Corporation for Windows computers. It allows the user to voice text into a text object and see the words on the computer screen. The computer must have a minimum memory, clock speed and audio devices specified for the version used.

The goal of Dragon is to make it easier to interact with a computer without manually using a keyboard or mouse. To succeed at this goal, the program must be able to analyze an incoming stream of sounds and interpret those sounds as command, dictation or noise. The process of interpretation is called speech recognition, and its success is measured by the percentage of correct interpretations, or recognition accuracy.

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The Dragon operating system has individual Modes of operation to allow Numbers Only, Dictation Only, Commands Only and the Normal Mode. The Normal Mode separates commands and text based upon user presentation (delay in spoken text) and the object type in focus. Voice options are declared in the DragonBar Tools menu (see below).

Dictating and Editing Text

Say "start Notepad" to open this text editor and then say a sentence to see the words. Dragon has an algorithm for mapping voicings into text and a word prediction algorithm based upon the words you have been using in a phrase. The most successful technique for dictating words into a text area is to speak clearly in longer phrases at your normal rate of speech. This improves accuracy by allowing the program to use context to decide what you said.

If there is a misinterpreted voicing then say "select <phrase in error>" and Dragon will highlight that phrase and provide a training dialogue screen with possible alternatives to train. Training the correct text and the misinterpreted text to improve recognition accuracy. You can insert a choice without training (not recommended) by saying "choose <number>". You can also say another phrase to type over the highlighted text.

When you voice text, speak clearly and enunciate each word or you may end up getting "winner" when you intended "winter". Speak softly because the microphone, as specified in the setup, is close to your mouth. Speaking loudly may cause distortion which will decrease recognition accuracy.

Dragon is delivered with custom commands for Microsoft applications including Word, Internet Explorer and Excel. The Dragon Professional version is also delivered with a Visual Basic assembler so that custom commands can be written for any application.

Voicing Computer Commands

Commands always have an Action Word, an Object and possibly some Parameters that define what you want to do with the object. Action words that you will use include: Start, Switch to, Select, Press, Click, Move, Go To for example:

Start <object name>

opens an application on the desktop or in the Start Menu

Click <object label>

forces Dragon into command mode to select a visible object

Press <keyboard character>

activates the key selected and prints in text area

Mouse Grid

utility used to position the mouse pointer in the center of the screen

Mouse Grid<1_9><1_9>

position the mouse pointer in one of 81 screen positions


moves the mouse pointer 1 to 10 pixels up/down left/right (try it)

Say "mouse grid two two"

moves the mouse pointer to the top center of the screen.


removes the grid overlay

Dragon is a natural language interface so if you want another window or another cursor position in a document say:

Switch to<next_previous><page_window_document etc.>

Switch to<application title text>

Start <Microsoft Outlook or Word or Internet Explorer or any desktop/start menu object>


Move forward five characters

Learn Dragon by Using It and Getting Online Help

All voice commands can be viewed in the Command Browser. Say "start Command Browser" and then change the Grammar listbox to the application desired. The listbox options can be viewed by saying "show choice list" and then "move <direction><number>". Global commands are active no matter which application is open or in focus.

To customize the voice interface say "Switch to DragonBar", "Tools", "Options" to see folders for Correction, Commands, View etc. Dragon operating system options. You can accept the default settings or if you want to change them say "help" to see an explanation of each folder settings. Say the folder name to move focus to that folder.

Other Help is available by saying "Switch to DragonBar", "Click Help", "Help Topics", "Search" and then enter an object or action Word or application you would like more information about.

Avoid randomly searching through commands. Always use the search utility and enter more or less specific words to search the Dragon voice commands.

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