Touch-and-swipe might be the hot new way to work with Windows, but using your voice can be more productive.
In an extremely niche category, Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the clear leader. Here’s a look at Version 12.5.
When giving verbal commands is your best option
As any general or CEO knows, power is seductive. There’s nothing like speaking a command and having it instantly carried out. In my case, I have no minions to order about; but I do use speech-recognition software to control Windows and enter information — all without using the keyboard or mouse.
Despite the predictions of Star Trek and generations of technology pundits, giving our computers verbal commands is still uncommon. But there are numerous applications for which it makes perfect sense.
For example, as a journalist, I make audio recordings of interviews. In the old days, extracting the information and quotes from those recordings and getting them into an article was a tedious process of starting and stopping the recorder, punctuated by pounding away at the keyboard. Now I simply repeat into a microphone the information I need, and it automatically appears in Word.
That was the original impetus for using a speech-recognition app, but I soon found another useful application for it: issuing basic commands to Windows and supported applications. In fact, to begin writing this story, I simply sat down at my PC and stated: “Launch Microsoft Word.”
There are of course other compelling applications for speech-recognition. It can provide some relief for the many computer users who are now suffering from wrist and hand injuries. Dictating reports such as medical findings is another. And mobile devices are a natural platform for the technology. Apple’s Siri and similar software might just make us all more comfortable talking to our desktop machines.