Styling Text With Dictation Commands

You can do more with dictation than just typing. You can also indicate when you want text to be bold, italics, or underlined. Some people have trouble because they try to include the command with the text they are typing, but it is important to wait between typing and issuing commands. In Pages you can even access everything in the Format sidebar using dictation commands.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Styling Text With Dictation Commands.

Let's take another look at using Dictation. But this time let's focus on changing the formatting and style of the text because you can do more than just type. You can actually do things like Bold and Underline text. Let's look at how to do it.

First, make sure you have Dictation on. So, in High Sierra, under System Preferences, Keyboard, Dictation and make sure you not only have it on but you have Used Enhanced Dictation turned on and that your keyboard shortcut is what you expect it to be. In my case it's pressing the fn key twice.

So here I am in Text Edit and let's do something really simple here. I'll press the fn key twice and then I'll dictate some text. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog Period. So you can see I've got this handy list of dictation commands. If you don't see it with Dictation on say Show Commands and it should appear. Now you've got lots of different things that you can do here but the one we're going to focus on for this tutorial is Formatting. You can see I can use phrases like Bold that and Bold and a phrase.

So Bold that is going to bold the last thing that I typed. Bold phrase is going to bold something specific. That's the one that you probably want to use. So let's say if I want to have brown fox in bold, all I need to do is say Bold Brown Fox. Bold brown fox. So now we can see it just bolded that and it selected it at the same time. So to get rid of the selection and continue typing what we want to do is we want to have a way to jump to the end.

You've got some navigation commands here. Notice how the list of commands changes depending upon what I have selected. So when I have the Dictation command's window selected it's different than when I have the Text Edit window selected and different if say I click on the background to select the Finder it's going to give me different things.

Make sure you have the Text Edit window selected. For Navigation I can say things like Go to end which will take me to the end here and I can continue dictating. So let's give that a try. Go to end. Now we have a command to Bold, Italicize, and Underline but how do you make something plain text. Well, just like with the keyboard you simply use the same command. If you use Command B to make something bold than you selected it again and used Command B it would make it plain again. So you do the same thing here. It's a little more counterintuitive to actually speak it out loud. So, for instance, say I make a mistake and I don't want to have brown fox bold, just fox. So I want to unbold brown. I just use the same command. Bold brown. Go to end.

Now one thing I see people do all the time is try to use the command, like bold, too quickly after typing some text. They'll just actually speak it as one line. It will actually then type the word bold and then whatever the text is. So, for instance, let's go ahead do an example here and you'll see me do it the first time without waiting and you'll see it actually type the word bold and the text. The second time I'll do it with some hesitation. I'll let the dictation catch up. When I see it on the screen then I'll go and use the Bold command. See Spot run bold Spot. New line. See Spot run. Bold Spot.

So you can see the first time not only did it include the words bold spot in the sentence but it grammar corrected it to bald, as being the more useful choice of words. But when I waited and let see Spot run get typed across the screen and then issued the command, Bold Spot, it worked fine. I see people run into this all the time and they can't figure why these commands aren't working for them. It's simply because they're not letting dictation take that break, and say okay I'm done typing the text now I'm accepting a command.

So what about Pages. Can you access all of the different options like say changing the font, changing the size, doing all the different things that are in the Format sidebar using Dictation commands. You can but you can't use a simple command like that. Instead you need to use a more general thing called Show Numbers. If you look under Navigation in Dictation Commands there's something called Show Numbers. This makes it quick and easy to access things without having to remember all these different commands and things like that. So let's take a look at an example of doing that in Pages.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog period. Select all. Show Numbers. Click 22. Click 26. So you can see that was just a quick example of how to change the font there in Pages with just a few simple dictation commands. There's a lot to explore there so you're going to have to go on your own there. Explore the different commands. Explore using that Show Numbers and then using the Click command to indicate that you want to click various numbers on the screen. So, experiment with that. Play around with that if it's something you think you'll need.

Comments: 2 Responses to “Styling Text With Dictation Commands”

    Jim Bembenek
    11 months ago

    Do these commands work on the iPad. I have an iPad Pro and I cannot seem to get the punctuation or the show commands command to work on my iPad. I am using it right now in voice mode and things seem to be working But when I try to use it in Pages it does not work as you described in the video any suggestions thank you.

    11 months ago

    Show Commands is definitely a Mac feature and not on iOS. Punctuation, like saying the word “period” should work though

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