Start Mac Dictation Hands-free

By default, dictation on OS X is initiated by using a double-press of the function (fn) key on your Mac’s keyboard. But did you know that it is also possible to start dictation hands-free using only your voice? In this brief tutorial, we’ll show you how.

Step 1: Open System Preferences → Dictation & Speech.

Step 2: Click the On radio button next to Enable Dictation and check Use Enhanced Dictation. This will require a 1.2 GB download to enable offline dictation, which is a prerequisite to completing step 3.

Step 3: Open System Preferences → Accessibility → Dictation and check the box next to Enable the dictation keyword phrase. The keyword phrase defaults to the word Computer, but you can change it to something different if you’d like.

Step 4: Say “Computer Start Dictation” to begin dictation. To stop dictation, say “Computer Stop Dictation”.

Video walkthrough

Thanks to this handy accessibility option, you can now enjoy totally hands-free dictation on your Mac. Keep in mind that if you changed the dictation keyword phrase in step 3, then you’ll need to replace the word Computer with whatever phrase you used in its place.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to check out some of our other OS X tips.

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.