A Better Voice Activated Software For OS X: Enhanced Dictation

As far as I’m concerned the voice activated typing software I’ve used for typing blog posts, e-mails, and anything else that required more than a couple lines of text has been replaced. For years MacSpeech Dictate was my tool of choice to quickly get a few hundred words typed up, without risking repetitive strain injury or tightness in my shoulders or neck. What am I using now?

Well if you’re on a Mac and you have the latest Version of OS X version 10.9 (i.e. Mavericks), you should know about enhanced Dictation. Simply pressing the function key twice quickly allows you to simply start talking and have your voice transcribed on the screen. There is an approximately 800 MB file you will have to download before you can start using the feature (see video below), but for me as someone who does not touch type, this is an extremely easy and fast way to record my thoughts. If you have used OS X dictation functionality before note that this new version is definitely improved in Mavericks: your voice no longer has to go to Apple servers. The transcription is done locally, which means the feature works off-line as well.

The real reason I am going to uninstall my MacSpeech dictate is because it is not supported by Mavericks, and there is apparently no way to cheaply upgrade. You’ll have to purchase an entirely new piece of software, and it’s not cheap. Luckily for all of us who use OS X 10.9, Apple has stepped right in with a solution that at least initially to me appears to be excellent.