If you would like to execute hands-free tasks on your Mac, I highly recommend learning to use the voice command features of Dragon Dictate.

Thanks right,  Dragon Dictate is more than a voice-to-text program, it comes pre-installed with hundreds of default commands for opening, hiding, and quitting applications, downloading webpages, opening and closing folders, saving documents, putting the computer to sleep, hiding and showing the Dock, and lots more.

Dragon Dictate_ default commands

Custom Commands

You can also create custom commands for nearly any task you perform on your Mac. Dragon Dictate provides settings for different types of commands, including opening applications, activating menu items, jumping to specified URLs, inserting  snippets of text, opening files or folders, triggering keyboard shortcuts, running Automator and AppleScript workflows, and executing Shell Scripts.


For example, instead of using the keyboard shortcut for taking a screenshot, I simply issue the command, “screenshot,” and Dragon Dictate triggers the shortcut for me.

 Dragon Dictate and  Keyboard Maestro

Since Keyboard Maestro also creates AppleScript scripts for each of its macros, that  feature allows you to copy individual scripts into a DD voice command. For example, I have a KM macro for inserting my Mac administrative password. I imputed the script for that macro into DD, and now whenever I need the password typed, I just issue the voice command, “admin password.”

KM macros can often execute tasks that DD is not cable of doing.  And the two programs work great together.

Using Dragon Dictate

I’ve been a long time user of DD, and I have to admit that as a voice-to-text application, it can be a little difficult to use. However, since I have DD open all the time, I use it off and on for dictating text. I can’t voice dictate full articles using DD, because it’s simply does not always perform as well as I would like. However, the voice commands for computer tasks work great and I use them as much as I can.

Dragon for Mac 5

I’m able to use DD voice commands for three reasons:

1. I work at home in a quiet office with no other people around most of the time during the day.

2. I use the USB 3-in-1 TableMike, which is a noise canceling mic that hears voice commands while music is playing in the background.

3. And because I have practiced using DD for many years. Using voice-to-text and voice commands take practice. You can’t give up because it doesn’t work the first few  times you use it, or when it doesn’t work 100% accurately.

Note: Mac OS Yosemite also features voice commands, but they are somewhat more difficult to set up, and the feature mutes any other sounds coming from your computer when you activate the voice command feature. For more information, see the article I wrote on MakeUseOf.com.

Let me know what you think about using voice commands on your Mac.  Have you ever tried it, and if so how well does it work for you? I will be adding additional tutorials for using Dragon Dictate commands in future articles.

Bakari Chavanu

Bakari Chavanu is a freelance writer and long-time Mac users. He's written hundreds articles about Mac applications and Mac automation for general users. He's also the author of "The Awesome Guide to Mac Automation" (MakeUseOf.com).