Enable "Voice Control" Dictation on a Mac

If you own a Mac computer you can easily and quickly dictate using Siri, but the better option (in most cases) is to use "Voice Control." This is a feature designed for people with accessibility problems (poor sight, etc.) so it comes with some assumptions that may take getting used to. But the willingness to accept a new interface is worth it. Here's the process of setting up "Voice Control."
  1. 1

    Open System Preferences

    1. Click on the Apple Menu
    2. Select "System Preferences"
  2. 2

    Open the "Accessibility" pane

  3. 3

    Enable "Voice Control"

    1. Click the "Voice Control" option from the left side panel
    2. Click the check box to "Enable Voice Control"
    3. Select the microphone you want to use (usually your Mac system will detect a new mic when you plug it in and assume that's the one you want to use, but it's good to check here if it's not detected it)
  4. 4

    Start practicing by using it

    Here's a short demo of how to use Voice Control to open the TextEdit program, and then create a new document, and start dictating text. All without touching the keyboard.
  5. 5

    Get familiar with the onscreen microphone

  6. 6

    Learn to use Voice Control

    How to use Voice Control

    Get to know Voice Control by reviewing the list of voice commands available to you: Say “Show commands” or ”Show me what I can say.” The list varies based on context, and you may discover variations not listed. To make it easier to know whether Voice Control heard your phrase as a command, you can select ”Play sound when command is recognized” in Voice Control preferences.


    When the cursor is in a document, email message, text message, or other text field, you can dictate continuously. Dictation converts your spoken words into text.
    To enter a punctuation mark, symbol, or emoji, just speak its name, such as ”question mark” or ”percent sign” or ”happy emoji.” These may vary by language or dialect.

    To move around and select text, you can use commands like ”Move up two sentences” or ”Move forward one paragraph” or ”Select previous word” or ”Select next paragraph.”
    To format text, try ”Bold that” or ”Capitalize that,” for example. Say ”numeral” to format your next phrase as a number.

    To delete text, you can choose from many delete commands. For example, say “delete that” and Voice Control knows to delete what you just typed. Or say ”Delete all” to delete everything and start over.

    Voice Control understands contextual cues, so you can seamlessly transition between text dictation and commands. For example, to dictate and then send a birthday greeting in Messages, you could say ”Happy Birthday. Click Send.” Or to replace a phrase, say ”Replace I’m almost there with I just arrived.”

    Custom Vocabulary

    You can also create your own vocabulary for use with dictation. To create your own voice commands:

    Open Voice Control preferences, such as by saying ”Open Voice Control preferences.”
    Click Commands or say ”Click Commands.” The complete list of all commands opens.
    To add a new command, click the add button (+) or say ”Click add.” Then configure the options to define the command.

    Use the checkboxes to turn commands on or off. You can also select a command to find out whether other phrases work with that command. For example, “Undo that” works with several phrases, including “Undo this” and “Scratch that.”

    To quickly add a new command, you can say ”Make this speakable.” Voice Control will help you configure the new command based on the context. For example, if you speak this command while a menu item is selected, Voice Control helps you make a command for choosing that menu item.

    Create your own dictation vocabulary
    1. Open Voice Control preferences, such as by saying ”Open Voice Control preferences.”
    2. Click Vocabulary, or say ”Click Vocabulary.”
    3. Click the add button (+) or say ”Click add.”
    4. Type a new word or phrase as you want it to be entered when spoken.
  7. 7

    Discovering all the available "Commands"

    There are lots of commands you can use when you have Voice Control enabled, and so the first thing you should do after enabling it is to learn some of the ones that you're most likely to use while dictating with Voice Control. Here's a short video that will help explain this feature.
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