Why I don’t recommend Dragon Home 15

home vs individual2

In the Nuance store, you can choose between different versions of Dragon speech recognition (previously called NaturallySpeaking).

The Dragon Home version and Dragon Professional Individual are the most relevant versions and the price difference is significant. At the time of writing this blog post, Dragon Professional Individual costs $300, while the Home version only costs $150.

Are the differences that big, then?

At first sight, the differences between DPI and Home don’t seem hugely important. Especially if you only want to dictate and you have no need of creating custom speech commands.

Both allow you to dictate and use speech commands to navigate around your computer.

The data sheet about the Home version states “You can even have Dragon learn new words as you make document corrections.” So apparently you can add new words to Dragon’s vocabulary in the Home version. Who would need anything else? Right?

Well, I am not really one to climb on my soapbox and rant, but that little sentence has big implications.

Dragon’s Vocabulary Editor

You see, the Dragon Professional Individual version gives you access to the Vocabulary Editor. A hugely powerful way to tweak your recognition rates. The Home edition does NOT give you the option to edit the vocabulary!

And… if you do not have access to the Vocabulary Editor, that means that:

You cannot add words, other than via corrections.
You cannot delete words from your vocabulary (e.g. if you misspelled a correction).
You cannot help Dragon understand complicated pronunciations by adding a “spoken form”
(e.g. my name is spelled ‘Janneke’, but pronounced ‘yah-nuh-kuh’).
You cannot force Dragon to understand that your name is Duane, and not Dwain, Dwayne or Dwaine.
You cannot add phrases to the vocabulary, which would make sure that they are always written with the correct capitalisation and hyphens.
Like in the “Yin-Yang Method for baking Better Eggs”
You cannot tweak Dragon to understand that e.g the word ‘blackboard’ always should be written with a capital if it is followed by a number.
In the Vocabulary Editor you could even make Dragon write that number as a Roman numeral: you say 'blackboard four", Dragon writes "Blackboard IV".

Now, I do realise that some of these features might seem pretty far-fetched, but being able to tweak the vocabulary makes the speech recognition so much more enjoyable to use every day.

Just consider that if you use Dragon’s corrections option to add a word and you make a mistake, without the Vocabulary Editor you can never  delete the mistaken word.

Honestly, if you do any serious dictation at all, spending the extra $150 so that you can have access to the Vocabulary Editor is more than worth it.

Custom commands

Personally I wouldn’t want to have a Dragon version without custom commands. I use them all the time.

In case you don’t know, custom commands are speech commands that you can add yourself to the system. .

These commands can be extremely complicated, but sometimes the simplest of custom commands can make life so much easier.

Example of a custom command

If you often need to log in to a certain website, Dragon’s step-by-step custom commands make it very easy to create a command that will do this for you with a single speech command.

You can make it…

  1. fill out your username
  2. press the Tab key to move to the password field
  3. fill out your password
  4. press the Enter key to confirm and log you in.

Commands like these can save you lots of time. Back when I was an emplyee, I used to start up Dragon especially to fill out my billable hours. That was a lot faster than doing it by mouse and keyboard. And obviously, it wasy WAY less strain on my hurting arms and hands.

User profiles and backing up your custom words

Now, I do not have the Home version installed on my computer and I have unfortunately not been able to find clear information about what features are available regarding your profile and backing up your data.

What I can confirm, though, is that it is possible with Dragon Professional Individual to create multiple user profiles and manage them. This includes exporting a user profile, so that you keep it on a separate disc/USB stick as backup or move it to a different computer.

After all, in case of technical issues or a new computer, it would be fantastic if you could just import your users profile from the USB stick and you’d be right back where you left off.

Also, it is possible to import and export custom words in Dragon Professional Individual. That is particularly practical if you want to share words with someone else or if you want to create a fresh new user profile. You can immediately be up and running by importing your custom words.

The good things about the Home version

I will be fair and also point out the good points of Dragon Home. I have every reason to believe that out-of-the-box the Dragon Home version is exactly as accurate in its recognition as the Dragon Professional Individual version.

  • If you do not mind some persistent mistakes that Dragon will continue to make and that you cannot fix due to no access to the Vocabulary Editor.
  • If you just use Dragon to dictate about everyday topics and don’t use much specific vocabulary/jargon.
  • If you don’t need or want custom commands to speed up your productivity.
  • Or if you honestly can’t afford the more expenisve version…

Then the Home version can be great. It still has got very accurate recognition in many different applications. You can also use the built-in voice commands for many actions. Compared to, for example, Google Docs Voice Typing, Dragon Home is a MUCH more versatile and all-round solution.

(But as you might have guessed from the above, you’ll have to pry the Professional Individual version out of my cold, dead hands before I give it up! 😃)

What version of Dragon do you have?

I’m very curious what version of Dragon my readers are using. Let me know in the comments, please:

A. Dragon Home
B. Dragon Professional Individual (or Group)
C. Different version (please share which version, if you don’t mind)
D. I actually don’t know…

PS: If you want to buy Dragon, please consider using this affiliate link to the Nuance store. At no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase anything via that link. Thnnks!

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.

11 Responses

  1. Hi Janneka,

    I am 87, retired engineer and am building a complete new computer from scratch (enclosure, PS, MoBo, etc) and Window 10 Pro. I am an avid user of WordPerfect, primarily beaus of the way text is treated (compared to MS Word), and of course, the all-critical Reveal Codes. So I’m assuming this is OK, since my original Naturally Speaking (1998) came in a box with WP8.0 and I loved it, despite being difficult to train.

    However its time to upgrade all my SW including Naturally Speaking.

    Your comparison of Home VS Professional was excellent, and I thank you. But what about the Premium Version. Where does it fall?

    Also, is there a matrix comparing all versions of Naturally Speaking?

    1. Hi Gordon,

      Wow, great to meet another Dragon user since the previous century!

      The current version of Dragon (They dropped the NaturallySpeaking part of the name) does no longer offer a Premium version. If you purchase a Premium version, it will probably be a version 13. So if you want to be up to date, you’ll want the version 15 which comes in Home or Professional.

      To be honest, I can’t comment on how well WordPerfect is supported these days. I haven’t met a WP user in a decade…

      And I hear you re the reveal codes. Those were so helpful.

      Wishing you lots of success with your new computer!


  2. I am new to voice recognition software use and want to purchase Dragon. When I looked at it 2 years ago it would not support my PC with Word 2016 Vers 1909.

    Do you know if the latest S/W version from Nuance now supports it.

    1. Hi,

      I don’t know specifically if your version of Word is now supported by Dragon, but my question would be if you tested with the upgrade to Dragon Professional Individual 15.3 (rather than the original 15.0)? Because that free update solved a lot of issues between Dragon and Office programs.

      If you want to know for sure, you could contact Nuance support to check if there are any issues with your specific build of Word with the current Dragon version.

      Hope this helps.

  3. I hate the inflexibility of Dragon home addition 15 but that is not the worst, on my Win 10 PC it crashes after just a few hours and it takes Nuance tech support hours to get my money refunded and install a new copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Shame on Nuance to release such a sorry product. I have yet to figure out the solution, if anyone have please let us know.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t manage to get Dragon Home 15 working reliably for you.

      It’s not quite clear what your current situation is, though. Did you get a refund? But you still have to solve the installation of the product? Or did you exchange it for the Professional Individual?

  4. Hi Janneke,

    I am so happy to have found your site! Finally, the Firefox add-on extension is working and though not perfect, it is a huge improvement. I have just returned to Dragon after about 10+ years….hard to remember just how revolutionary the product seemed then, but it was, to me at least. I bought the Pro Individual version 15 a couple of months ago and am just now getting into using it for real. Am pretty sure you’ll be seeing me pop up for training soon enough!

    1. Hi Cari,
      Thanks for letting me know that my site was helpful to you! I’m gladly putting the info on my site, but I can’t be sure if anyone ‘out there’ is taking advantage of it. I appreciate you letting me know 🙂

      Not meaning to be pushy, but since you expressed an interest in training…. Have you signed up for my waiting list yet? I’ll be reopening the doors to my online Dragon course and membership soon with a really attractive price. If you sign up, it ensures that you wouldn’t miss out on a good deal.

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