Dragon for PCSpeech recognition software

Brief description

A programme that allows you to control your computer with speech commands, and dictate text into popular programs.

Works with
PC (see different product for Mac)

Dragon Naturally Speaking is the market leader for speech recognition (if only because it is one of very few options available) and has been around for many years. Version 12, reviewed here, was the latest release at the time of writing.

The package can work really well, but can sometimes be unpredictable. I have found that getting the best results requires a certain amount of discipline in keeping your PC free of too many add on bits of software to reduce the chances of conflicts and unpredictable results. You also need a relatively quiet area to use the software as too much background noise or talking can also cause problems. It is best to get a good specification machine as faster processors and large memory sizes help a lot. (I used a i7 processor and 4Gb of memory)

In addition you need a good microphone – it is worth investing in a reasonable quality microphone/headset.

The software does require to be trained to create a voice profile, and again better results are obtained if adequate time is spent “training” the computer to understand your speech. Once this is done dictation can be very accurate.

The software is feature rich with commands to do more or less anything you need. There are commands for controlling the computer which means you can do the majority of things without using a pointing device. And as you would expect you can dictate text into documents and emails.

There can be some places where you get stuck (i.e. you need to use a mouse or keyboard to get somewhere) but with knowledge of the command set this should be minimal.

This is probably the gold standard in speech recognition for the PC and for demanding users is probably the only option available.  It needs a certain amount of determination to learn the commands, but for those who do it will be very rewarding.

Additional information


Date Reviewed

17th March 2015

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