Review: Dragon Naturally Speaking

Speaking your emails, texts, and documents into existence is a wonderful idea. It saves you time and effort, allows you to walk and talk your way to productivity. This review of Dragon NaturallySpeaking is for the small business owner who wants to increase office productivity. I received an evaluation copy to conduct this review.

I’m starting this paragraph using Dragon naturally speaking. I decided to test how accurate it would be working within the WordPress post creation area. I have not touched the keyboard so far in this paragraph. I have to say, “Wow!” I’m pretty impressed. Dragon NaturallySpeaking can also be used for creating e-mails, dictating Microsoft Word documents, building spreadsheets, and probably even for tweeting.

The paragraph above was “written” entirely by Dragon. It knew to capitalize Microsoft Word, WordPress, and  I “wrote” the above paragraph exactly as you see it.

Okay, if you’re tired of typing, you should buy this program. I’m stunned, frankly, that it captured everything I said with such accuracy. It took a little bit of training, but that took all of five minutes when I first installed it and set it up.

What I Like:

  • It works in WordPress.
  • Help files pop-up when you do something that the program doesn’t quite understand. It guides you through how to train it further or where to look for help.
  • It works in email programs, even web-based Gmail.
  • It did basic calculations in Microsoft Excel. I was able to add, subtract, and sum a column. With a little more training, I think I could build a more complicated spreadsheet.
  • You can combine both text editing and speech commands to complete any of your writing. You can also navigate or give General Computer commands, too. It works on a grid system and you can “navigate” to specific areas of a screen and then say “click” when you want a mouse click (or double click).

What I Would Like to See:

  • A bit more explanation or functionality around deleting and editing. To be fair, the program has to understand the command “backspace” is a command and not a word. It took me some fiddling around to get the “Delete previous <n> words” to work properly. But given the tutorial and help prompts, it didn’t take long.

There are many industry-specific applications or modules from Nuance (the parent company of Dragon NaturallySpeaking) including healthcare, and a variety of office solutions such as office phone tree/customer support prompts for your telephone system. They also have a variety of scanning applications and tools that are not dictation programs.

As my confidence increased, and I understood the simple commands needed to move around the screen, I was able to really take advantage of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. For a small business owner, willing to invest just a little bit of time, it would be possible to use this program to get a lot of work done. I “wrote” 75 percent of this blog post by using the program. It did take me twice as long as normal, but that’s because I was playing around and experimenting with this useful, fun program. There is also a Dragon for Mac version and a variety of mobile apps, too.

Oh, and I tested it in Twitter, and of course, it worked like a charm.

Learn more about Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

No, Thank You