Ask Mac Automator: Thoughts on Dragon Dictate 5

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Are you still not happy with Dragon Dictate v5? I own v4 and did not upgrade after I read your review of Dictate.

This question is based on my article I posted back in September, Should You Wait to Upgrade to Dragon Dictate 5.0? Yes!, which still receives many hits.

I'm still not happy with Dragon Dictate 5 because it feels more buggy than DD 4. As of writing this article, I haven't been able to dictate in the Safari browser. Nuance support has responded to my questions about the problem, but their solution involves uninstalling and reinstalling  Safari to see if that corrects the problem. I haven't had time to do that.

If you are still using DD 4 and it works okay for you, I would not recommend upgrading to DD 5. There's no features that you're missing, and I haven't notice a significant difference in performance. On the other hand, I would say that if you're new to DD, it's still worth getting.

I also don't like that the Commands Manager window has to be manually hidden. It can't be triggered to hide like with other applications. (By the way, you can provoke it by issuing the voice command, “Manage Command”, but you can't issue a voice command to hide the window.)

The voice commands for launching applications and websites and carry out all types of other actions is the main reason I use DD. The voice command features are pretty much the same as in DD 4. However, they moved the Auto-text feature to the Commands Manager, which makes a little easier to input custom text commands.

Commands Manager Dragon, Today at 3.48.27 PM

With that said, the ability to correct words in DD 5 definitely doesn't work as well as in DD 4, and in fact, I don't even try to voice correct words. I simply type the corrections.

Note, DD will never misspell a word, but it does misinterpret some words you dictate, and the process for correcting those words I find impossible to do in DD 5.

And finally I think Nuance should create full featured word processor for Dragon Dictate, similar to what they had in DD 4. The DragonPad for DD 5 is found (hidden!) in the menu bar > Help > DragonPad. You can provoke it by issuing the voice command, “DragonPad.”

DragonPad is super great and faster for dictating text, because it basically “reads” (caches) your text as you dictate it. But its main use is for transferring dictated text into another application, especially DD doesn't perform well in that application.

DD does work well in TextEdit and even Word. It does not work that well in iWork Pages. It also works well most of the time in Day One and Ulysses.

Remember, when DD is not typing effectively, issue the command, “cache document” in order for it to “read” what you have dictated so far.

Here's a demo of using DragonPad. Sorry there's audio to go along with it, but it will show how fast DD types text that you dictate in the mini word processor. You also notice the mistakes it makes and how I have to repeat the word “Pad” a few times before it gets it right.

So in terms of voice-to-dictation, I can't say that DD performs as well as it should if you want to use it for all your typing. I don't use it for typing as much I used to. I mainly use the voice-to-text for writing journal entries, some emails, and for comments in Safari, that is, when it used to work in Safari.

Despite its problems, I still keep DD running while working at my Mac. It's pure joy to issue voice commands for all types of actions. It saves me lots of clicking and using keyboard shortcuts. And as I have recommended before, the USB 3-in-1 TableMike (Amazon Affiliate link) greatly improved the performance of DD. I started using the mike about five years ago and it still works super great.

Your Thoughts

If you're user of Dragon Dictate, let us know about your experiences with the program. Are you still using DD 4, or have you switched to DD 5?

You have an Ask Mac Automator question? Post and send the question here, and if it's useful for other readers, I will post it in this column.



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  • I did make the move to DD5 but only because they owed me one; had just purchased DD4 so they gave me a free upgrade. Otherwise, would not have done it. Customer service is horrible and I really don’t like DD but noone is competing with them so… On my iPhone and iPad, I use the built in voice dictation and it is super accurate and even does some punctuation. Agree: don’t upgrade if you are happy with DD4. Rfg

    • Hey Robert, I feel your pain about DD5. As I point out in my article, I use DD mostly for navigating my Mac with voice commands. It works really great for that. As for voice to text, it’s not stable enough.

      You know that best and fastest voice to text I’ve experienced, is the Google search app for iOS. It’s lightening fast and accurate.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback. Keep in touch.

  • I am still on 4.0.6 (OS X 10.11.6) which works fine, even with the latest Word 2016 (15.24).

    DD5 is the first version I skipped, and I’ve used every iteration since the iListen 1.6 days (in 2004), followed by MacSpeech Dictate.

    I am planning to upgrade to v6.

    • Hey Colin, great to hear that v.4 is still working well for you. There were a lot people disappointed with v.5. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a year, and Nuance is requiring another $100-$130 or more for an upgrade.
      I typically upgrade in the hopes that DD will get better. I was mostly satisfied with DD 4, but as I have discussed in my articles, DD 5 was a disappointment, though it’s works okay most of the time. It’s just that it felt like a downgrade when first released. I ordered v.6 (taking advantage of the sale price), but I don’t have high hopes for it. After you work with v.6, please stop back by and let me know what you think of it.

  • Bakari, I upgraded to DD 5. I would have stayed with DD 4 but as you know it was not fully compatible with El Capitan. I have no issues with your article. But I do have one correction for you. You can open/close the Commands Window by voice. Simply say “Show Commands Window” to open the commands window and “Close Commands Window” to close the commands window.

    • Awe, thanks, I didn’t know you could close it with a voice command. I should have known that.
      But in v.4 you could also trigger the Commands window with a command window, which I mapped to a BetterTouchTool finger gesture. I use the gesture when I didn’t feel like using the command.

      Thanks again though for correcting me on that issue. Keep

      Stop by and let me know what you think of v.6 when after you get it.

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