A Month of Dictating Instead of Typing (using Dragon)

I’m not typing this.

I’m dictating it using software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

I started using Dragon at the beginning of March, and my plan was to dictate absolutely everything for the month and type nothing, if I could. Although dictating everything may have been possible, I discovered quickly that that’s not the most effective way to use Dragon. More on that soon.

Cool Stuff About Dragon

  • It’s faster than typing, so it saves time while also giving my fingers a break. I type fast, but not as fast as I talk. Dragon lets me enter text into my computer as fast as I can talk.
  • It’s as accurate as (maybe more accurate than) typing. Dragon does make mistakes, but I also make mistakes when I’m typing.
  • It learns! It learns not only to recognize the way that I talk, but it also learns non-dictionary words that I use. For example, for work I often use phrases like “Time Doctor”, and and Dragon has learned to start both words with uppercase letters and spell out the word “Doctor” instead of using “Dr.”

How I use Dragon

I’ve found the most efficient way to use Dragon to be:

  • Type anything that is less than a couple sentences (i.e. don’t use Dragon – it’s not worth putting my headset on, turning on the mic, and turning it off again).
  • Dictate anything that is a couple sentences or longer (i.e. use Dragon).
  • Make most corrections using a mouse and keyboard, unless you’re trying to teach Dragon about your voice or your lingo.

Because Dragon can use a lot of system resources, I leave it turned off if I’m not likely to be entering many lines of text into my computer.

Dragon VS Siri

Dragon is far more accurate than Siri. And that’s all I have to say about that.


Although I like Dragon, plan to keep using it, and recommend it, it does have its drawbacks. My main frustrations with it are:

  • It uses a lot of system resources and occasionally slows down my computer noticeably (despite the fact that I have a good computer: Windows 8.1, 64 bit, 14 GB RAM, AMD-A10 processor)
  • It doesn’t work with some software like Google Docs and Skype. You have to dictate your text into a separate window and then copy and paste it into Google Docs or Skype.
  • Web app conflict: The Dragon Chrome extention causes a particular website that I use for work to use a huge amount of CPU. I have to disable the Dragon Chrome extension if I’m going to open up the website that I use for work. (I’ve contacted Dragon support about this problem and am unsure whether they’ll be able to resolve it)

There are a few smaller annoyances also:

  • I’d like it if Dragon would spell “first” like that…. and “second” like that… and third, fourth, etc using the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc format. But Dragon can’t do that. It forces me to either use the full word for all numbers, or the numeric format for all numbers. This is annoying because I usually other meanings for the words “first” and “second”. Here, watch me dictate a sentence: “1st do this and then do that.” See what I mean? Here’s another one: “I’ll be there in a 2nd.” Aaargh! Same problem happens with the word “one” etc…
  • It pops up an annoying “Please say that again” prompt whenever I clear my throat or make some noise that is not words. I wish I could turn off the “Please say that again” prompt and never see it again.
  • I wish it was faster. I usually have to wait a second, and often several seconds before the words that I’ve dictated appear on my screen.

Final Analysis

Despite the few drawbacks, I find Dragon to be worth using. It saves time when I’m writing more than a few sentences at a time, and I like the break that it gives my fingers and brain.

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