OS X Mavericks: Using Enhanced Dictation

Have you checked out Mavericks’ new Enhanced Dictation? No? Well, then, I am sad, and so are the poor, pitiful engineers at Apple who slaved over a hot keyboard making that feature for you. (Geez, my writing is weird. You’d think I was getting paid by the word or something. Blearghity blah blah blah Mac iOS words more words more words even more words.)

Anyway, you wanna check it out now, right? Right. So first, you’ll visit System Preferences> Dictation & Speech, select the Dictation tab, and make sure that the feature is toggled on. Then click the checkbox for “Use Enhanced Dictation.”

If you don’t see any indication that your language data is downloading immediately, go to a program like TextEdit or Mail, place your cursor in a new document or message, and double-tap the Function key as if you’re going to start dictating. That should force the Enhanced Dictation stuff to download if it didn’t do so when you turned it on.

(If that still didn’t work, check to make sure you haven’t changed the default “start dictation” shortcut under that same System Preferences> Dictation & Speech> Dictation tab.)

After the new content downloads and installs, try it out! It’s pretty cool in that you no longer have to have an Internet connection to use it—Enhanced Dictation relies on what Apple calls “Mac-based dictation” rather than “server-based dictation,” so your speech isn’t being translated by an off-site server. Also, you’re no longer constrained to only thirty seconds of speech, and because of that, you can go in and live-edit the dictated text. It’s pretty neat to watch the text change as your Mac analyzes what you say, and it sure makes dictation a more useful tool.

Or you could just be like me and use it for playing around. It’s amazing that anything ever gets done in my house.