The power of custom voice commands

power-of-custom-commands

We all need voice commands

Yes, if you use dictation, you use voice commands all the time. Voice commands are hugely important to all of us ‘dictationists’.

After all, it would be very inconvenient if we could not say “new line” or “delete that”.

Commands like “new line” are built in to the speech recognition software. And if dictation is really all you want, then the built-in commands in programs like Dragon speech recognition are absolutely sufficient. You are likely to only use a dozen commands or so.

Built-in voice commands

Some of us need or want a bit more voice support. Fortunately, most speech recognition software programs have many more commands than just the basic commands like “new line”. In this post and the video, I’ll be discussing Dragon. Dragon offers plenty of commands out-of-the-box for whoever wants to use the computer as much hands-free as possible. These include specific commands for applications like Chrome, Word and Outlook.

However, for repetitive tasks it can get annoying to have to say the commands for all of the steps to reach your goal.

To log into a website, for example, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Open the browser
  2. Move to the address bar
  3. Enter the correct web URL
  4. Confirm the URL
  5. Move the cursor to the username field
  6. Enter the username
  7. Move the cursor to the password field
  8. Enter the password
  9. Confirm to login

Of course, it is possible to have your most frequent websites in your favourites list and also your username and password might be saved in your browser or in a password manager. This saves many clicks, so definitely it is something to look into if you want an improvement that doesn’t require speech recognition.

But how about a voice command that makes logging in a fully automated piece of cake? That really can be life-saver. Or rather, a hand-saver. 🙂

CUSTOM voice commands to the rescue!

A custom command can make it much easier and totally frictionless to login to a website.

You say a command and your browser opens, the correct page is loaded and you’re automatically logged in. Who wouldn’t want that!

That is why I will teach my Dragon speech recognition students to create the following command in the upcoming live Q&A session in June.

This is a  superduper speech command that does everything except make coffee! 🙂

This is great isn’t it? Just sit back and let Dragon do its thing.

Is it safe to have passwords inside Dragon?

Recently I had a discussion in a live Q&A about whether it would be safe to store passwords in Dragon commands. A great questen and a valid concern.

I would believe this to be a reasonably safe option. Custom commands are saved in your Dragon user profile. The standard format of the command file is not readable for humans. It looks like gobbledygook. Even if you export the commands in the standard file format, it’s not possible to make heads or tails of the file when you open it. In theory, you could export the commands in a file format that can be read by humans.

I’m not a digital  security expert by any strecht of the imagination, but I have the idea (or the illusion) that by the time there’s some malware bot crawling through my computer, I have bigger problems than just whether it will find some nugget in my Dragon commands file…

I’m sure it would be possible for a hacker to find password information from that custom command file. I think they’d have to know exactly what they were doing, though. And I would not think that regular malware would easily find it if it were crawling through your files. It is my guess that malware is programmed to look for fairly specific pointers

It’s probably a good idea to avoid creating commands containing passwords for websites like your online banking. Also make sure to use good password hygiene: create long passwords that are unique for each and every website.

What if I don’t want to add any password inside voice commands?

If you don’t feel comfortable adding any passwords at all to your Dragon speech profile, then you can create a command like this, but then stop at the step where the password would be entered. It won’t be be quite as magical, but it will still saves a bunch of clicks and keypresses.

You could also use a password manager and see if you can come up with a voice command that executes the steps you need to do to login to a certain program or site.

Want to make your own custom voice commands?

I’m teaching the command I show above in my Dragon membership. That means that you’ll be able to find a replay in the library, even if you decide to join long after I wrote this post.

For more complicated custom command work, you can book a consultancy call. I will connect to our computer and help you automate your Dragon with amazing custom voice commands.

Janneke den Draak

Janneke den Draak

Hi, I'm Janneke and I'm your go-to person for Dragon and Apple speech recognition software help.

When I got severe repetitive strain injury issues over 20 years ago, I didn't want to give up using the computer. So I learned all about controlling the PC with speech recognition and dictating my documents and emails.

I've now been a speech recognition software trainer and consultant for almost two decades, teaching over 2000 people handsfree productivity!

My online courses for Apple Voice Control and Dragon offer self-paced learning and I also love running my membership for Dragon users. For those in need of an intensive training or custom speech command creation, I am available for one-on-one calls.

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