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Quick Cheats for Writing With Dragon - Hidden Tricks to Help You Dictate Your Bo

QUICK CHEATS FOR WRITING WITH DRAGON

Hidden Tricks to Help You Dictate Your Book, Work Anywhere and Set Your Words Free with Speech Recognition

Dictation Mastery for PC and Mac

SCOTT BAKER

Copyright © 2016 by Scott Baker.

Published worldwide by Ashe Publishing.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

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Access private video training, exclusive to anyone who has downloaded this book. It’s my personal way of saying thank you for your purchase.

To access the training, simply click this link.

When you enter your email address, you will be sent a private link to the video training. Don’t worry – your email address will only be used to send you further videos and details of related releases. It will never, ever be shared with or sold to third parties, used for spam or any other purpose.

There is also a link to additional resources at the very end of this book – everything from software and apps to microphones and voice recorders. Don’t miss it!

[]Contents

Contents

Introduction

Part One: Microphones

Get Your Mic Right

Part Two: Transcription

Why Transcribe?

Smartphone vs Voice Recorder

Using External Microphones

Part Three: Dictating in Apps

The Problem with Dragon, Macs and Full Text Control

Dictating in Scrivener? Here’s a Hack

Don’t let a crash trash your work

Part Four: Dragon Productivity Hacks

Quiet Profiles for Quiet Times

Using One Profile On Multiple Computers

Dragon on an iPad or Android Tablet

Command Cheat Sheets

Afterword

[]Introduction

How many words do you want to write today?

1000? 2000? How long will that take you? A couple of hours or half a day? How about being able to get all of your writing done in just one hour for an entire day? Within that 60 minutes you could generate 3000 words or more – if you’re really proficient, maybe even as many as 5000. Within 10 days, that’s 50,000 words.

Staggering, right? Some would say unbelievable.

Not really. These are the kinds of word counts being generated by writers just like yourself using dictation software on a Mac or PC. I personally know of one writer who put together the 60,000 word draft of her new novel in just nine short days. Don’t get me wrong – it takes a fair bit of practice and equipment tweaking to get to that point. But once you’ve done it, you’ll never look back.

This little guide isn’t designed to train your brain to use Dragon or to go into intricate detail about the types of equipment needed to perfect your setup. For that, I’m going to shamelessly direct you to “The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon ”. In that book, I comprehensively detail how to achieve 99% accuracy from the software from the moment you start using it. Go on, grab a copy – you know you want to. I even supplement it regularly with video training you can access free of charge.

What you are about to read contains a fraction of the information in that book. It is, however, exactly what it says on the tin – a set of quick cheats that can unleash powerful features in Dragon you may have never been aware of. The software can dramatically improve your word count and writing workflow – but only if you know how.

This guide assumes that you are already on board with dictation and have purchased a version of Dragon either for the Mac or PC. It doesn’t matter which platform you’re on; there are subtle differences between both versions, but the fundamental principles of achieving accurate recognition are exactly the same. Both Windows and Mac OS X users should benefit equally.

Be sure to check out the additional resources provided at the end of the book and access the videos that demonstrate some of the points in detail.

Clear your throat, get comfortable in your chair and have a glass of water handy. You’re about to write at the speed of speech.

[]Part One: Microphones

[]Get Your Mic Right

So you bought Dragon, installed it on your PC or Mac (waiting an inordinate amount of time for the product to install, leading you to think on several occasions the computer has simply crashed), downloaded and applied any available updates and you’re ready to go. You’ve dug out an inexpensive headset microphone you’ve had stuffed in a desk drawer for several years, convinced that one day it would come in useful.

After your first attempt to train the software, you realize you should have just thrown it out.

The single most common reason for poor recognition accuracy in Dragon is a subpar microphone. Maybe I’ve been familiar with the software for too long, but it always amazes me how many people will willingly spend several thousand dollars on a MacBook or high-end Windows computer, shell out another $200 for the Dragon software and then plug in the cheapest, nastiest microphone they can find.

There’s no two ways about it – Dragon is a complex piece of software doing the seemingly impossible. It’s taking a human voice and, in real time, translating your words onto a screen. It’s the stuff of science fiction, but only if you accept that it isn’t perfect and needs a little help along the way. Your voice is the most important part of the equation – the clarity of it, how you enunciate, the subtleties of delivery. Dragon requires the purest audio signal possible to do its job well and that, in simple terms, means using a half decent microphone.

Nuance themselves recommend a number of microphones on their website, but take the list with a pinch of salt as there are huge gaps in their testing, with many out-of-date models no longer available still being recommended and many fine mics missing which have simply never been assessed. Instead, use your common sense – are you using a consumer or a professional microphone? Is it a headset from a known brand with effective noise cancelling properties? Or is it a desktop microphone, used for crystal clear vocals in musicians’ studios and podcasting setups? No matter what you choose, it pays to do a little research and set a realistic budget.

That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a microphone, but something costing $10 from eBay isn’t usually going to cut it. The Plantronics Blackwire C310 is, for example, an excellent headset microphone used in noisy call center and conference environments. It is, therefore, built to cope with delivering a clear human voice while cancelling out extraneous noise, yet this would only set you back around $40. The Andrea Electronics NC-181VM is a similar monaural headset from a proven name in the speech recognition field. For those that hate a headset, the Blue Snowball Ice can be had for as little as $50 but provides clear, clean audio that helps Dragon do its thing and do it well.

In “The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon”, I go into intricate detail regarding the technical differences between different types of microphones and the best ways to set them up for Dragon. But, in summary, the following will be more than enough to significantly improve most people’s accuracy:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Always use a USB microphone. Analogue connectors (the 3.5 mm type you see on smartphone headsets) interface directly with your computer’s built-in sound card, which may not be up to the job of providing clear audio for speech recognition.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Stick with a wired microphone – at least at first. A wireless solution may seem a good option (and is certainly ideal for getting you away from your desk) but you will comparatively get far better accuracy from a wired headset than a similarly priced wireless one. It may be something to explore in the future, but keep it simple in the short term.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Avoid Bluetooth like the plague. As great a technology as Bluetooth is for keyboards and mice, it has a patchy history with Dragon and speech recognition in general. There are really only a small handful of Bluetooth headsets that can deliver the necessary quality for Dragon to work effectively. They are expensive and can be temperamental – and the vast majority of other headsets on the market simply don’t work well enough and do not play well with the built-in Bluetooth on most computers.

With all this in mind, it pays to set a budget regardless of whether you would prefer a headset or a desktop setup. If you can spend up to $100, great – but you don’t need to. Even spending half of this will get you high quality, accurate microphones providing clean audio to Dragon. Too much less and the quality drops off a cliff, but the more you spend the higher the laws of diminishing returns kick in. There’s no need to pay for features you do not require or that do not benefit Dragon in any way. Check out the links to resources at the back of this guide for some microphone recommendations.

[]Part Two: Transcription

[]Why Transcribe?

Transcription is the unsung hero of dictation. It’s possibly the most versatile tool that Dragon software provides, yet an alarming amount of people who have already paid for Dragon never use it. It’s the ultimate way to go wireless – no need for flaky microphones while balancing your laptop on a park bench so you can combine writing with actually getting out of the house once in a while. Transcription is a tool that pretty much every writer should use and it could be the one thing that really tips you over the edge into realizing just how phenomenal your workflow can be with Dragon.

First things first – if you are a Mac user, transcription features are already built into your software from version 4 onwards (and, in all honesty, are so much improved in version 5 that it should be the sole reason you buy that version of the software). For Windows users, you need Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium (the Professional version also includes transcription but is more expensive and mainly adds Enterprise tools not required by most writers). It’s one reason why I can never recommend the Home version of the software for PC users – you cannot transcribe with that version of the software and that can become a major omission when you realize just how great transcription is.

So what exactly is transcription and how does it differ from regular dictation? The biggest distinction is being able to dictate anywhere at any time without needing to be near your PC or Mac. Whereas dictating via a desktop or headset microphone into your computer is great for immediate feedback on the screen, it can also be distracting and ruin your flow. Worse still, it keeps you in a chair which, for anyone who wants to be less sedentary, isn’t ideal.

By using a dedicated voice recorder or equivalent smartphone app, you can dictate while on the move. Maybe you want to be able to write while you are out on a walk or make use of time during your daily commute when you know you will be stuck in traffic for, say, 30 minutes. By making a few notes beforehand and preparing what you want to write in advance, you will quickly realize that you don’t need to be in front of the screen at all. If anything, changing your surroundings and simply letting the words flow can be one of the most liberating ways of writing, never mind dictating.

When you get back to your computer, you can simply transfer the audio files you have dictated to your PC or Mac and let Dragon turn your words into text. It does this by importing the file (usually in MP3 or WAV format) and converting what you said in the same way and with the same accuracy as if you were simply dictating into a microphone. Even better, it doesn’t need to do this in real time – 30 minutes of dictation, for example, will normally only take between five and 10 minutes to transcribe depending on the speed of your computer.

There is no need to break the bank on an expensive voice recorder. Anything from a reputable name like Sony, Philips, Panasonic or Olympus up to around $50 will do the job just fine. Beyond this, you will probably be paying for features that Dragon can’t even take advantage of, such as stereo microphones. If you already have a smartphone, however, you may even be able to just use a free or inexpensive app to get the same results.

[] Smartphone vs Voice Recorder

If you already own a smartphone, there’s no need to buy a dedicated voice recorder – right? Well, it’s not as simple as that. If you own a relatively inexpensive phone, the likelihood is that the built-in microphone simply may not be good enough for accurate transcription. Flagship smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 will have far better audio components on board.

If you do have a good quality smartphone, it’s hard to deny the convenience of always having a transcription device with you. You can even upload your dictated audio files directly to cloud storage such as Google Drive, OneDrive or iCloud so they are ready and waiting to be imported into Dragon as soon as you switch on your computer.

The biggest downside of using a smartphone is the impact on battery life. It’s vital that the app allows you to switch off the screen while recording as this is the single biggest way of draining your battery. Even then, you are unlikely to get more than a day of usage out of most modern phones and, if you’ve forgotten to charge recently, you may find that your grand plans to record 2000 words on the way home may be hampered by a low battery warning.

This is where a dedicated voice recorder excels. Since it is a single use device (with the sole function being audio recording), the components are usually of a high enough quality to provide Dragon with clear, clean audio resulting in accurate transcription. Equally important, the battery (usually AA or AAA) will last for staggering lengths of time and are easily replaced on-the-fly.

[] Using External Microphones

One problem with using either a smartphone or voice recorder is that you need to hold it relatively close to your mouth at all times in order to record clearly. If you are walking or generally on the move, this can result in serious fluctuations in quality – not to mention your arm will start to ache after a while! You can counter this by using an external microphone.

Bear in mind that smartphones and voice recorders usually have subtly different audio input jacks, even though they look like the same 3.5mm connector. A lavalier microphone (aka a ‘tie clip’ or ‘clip-on’ mic) that works with a voice recorder will almost certainly not work with a smartphone, for example. Even some microphones designed for use with an iPhone will not work on Android devices due to changes in the polarity of the connector.

It’s highly convenient to be able to clip-on a relatively high quality microphone and simply dictate away while you walk, but make sure you get a compatible connector for your device. Be warned – you may well look as if you are talking to yourself and get some strange looks from passers-by, especially if you are the type of writer who likes to gesticulate a lot as you dictate. There is no solution for this downside, unfortunately, other than swallowing a heavy dose of self-confidence!

[] Part Three: Dictating in Apps

As a writer who takes a healthy interest in technology, I have spent many hours procrastinating – er, I mean researching – various options in the endless pursuit to find the ultimate app or program for getting your words from your brain and onto your screen. This extensive, selfless and near-obsessive research (ahem) has led me to conclude this: no single “best” solution exists. Writers need to use whatever works for them.

That could mean Scrivener, regularly talked about by my writing colleagues with almost ferocious levels of praise. It could be a combination of more traditional word processing software, like Microsoft Word, used in conjunction with a notetaking app like Evernote or OneNote. For those frugally minded, free solutions like LibreOffice, Google Docs or Apple’s own Pages could be the weapon of choice. And then there is the legion of authors who like to write in markdown, using apps like Byword, Ulysses or IA Writer to keep things distraction free and synchronised between their iPads and Macs.

There’s just one problem when it comes to using your preferred software with Dragon – sadly, it doesn’t always play well. Despite Dragon’s promises, it can be a notoriously temperamental product when interfacing with other apps (especially in the Mac version, which has well-documented, almost legendary stability issues and interacts with other software in a very different way to a PC). For all its advantages, Dragon is one program that may require you to adjust your workflow slightly in order to get the most accurate, reliable results from it. Take note of the following tips and you should never have issues again.

[] The Problem with Dragon, Macs and Full Text Control

At the time of writing this guide (April 2016) there are two current versions of Dragon for Mac and PC that serve the needs of most writers. If you are a Windows user, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium version 13 is the one you should buy – the Home version has restricted functionality (such as an inability to transcribe audio files) while the Professional version is significantly more expensive but only adds features relevant to enterprise users or those requiring government document compliance.

For Mac users, Dragon for Mac version 5 brings a completely new interface and integration with Dragon Anywhere, the new mobile transcription solution (which requires a monthly subscription) from Nuance. This latest version of the software, like its predecessors, has come in for some serious criticism from the Mac community due to persistent instability and crashing. Luckily, Nuance has issued several bug fixes, bringing the software up to version 5.0.4, although more updates are likely to be required to match the stability of the far more mature PC equivalent.

The reason, despite these issues, Mac users should celebrate version 5 is that it finally brings “full text control” to the software. This is a significant upgrade as Mac users should now be able to dictate in far more applications than previously possible. In theory, you can now dictate with Dragon directly into Pages and Scrivener (although there are reports of some issues persisting with Microsoft Word 2016).

What is full text control and why is it important? Well, in a nutshell, it gives Dragon the ability to operate in applications outside of its own built-in tools such as DragonPad. This is incredibly important as it means you can happily dictate into the software of your choice, confident in the knowledge that if Dragon crashes, it won’t take your dictated work with it. I’ll talk about this more at the end of the section, but this is an important step forward for Mac users as it finally delivers a product that should result in far more stable (and less frustrating) workflow.

For PC users, full text control has always been present in the software yet it is strangely hit and miss. When Dragon encounters an application that it just can’t seem to dictate into, it throws up the “Dictation Box”. This is an odd and strangely annoying part of the program that requires you to dictate into a small text field and then transfer the spoken text into the program you are using. The problem? It’s scarily erratic, sometimes failing to transfer what you have just written with the consequence that your dictation is lost in the ether.

Thankfully, there is a way around it – and one that, importantly, allows authors to dictate directly into Scrivener, one of the most popular programs in a writer’s arsenal.

[] Dictating in Scrivener? Here’s a Hack

If you are the type of writer who simply can’t get into your groove without using your software of choice, you’re not alone. That’s especially important if you are using Scrivener, a piece of software that is far more than just a means of getting words onto a page. For a vast number of writers, Scrivener is an essential part of their workflow – in many cases, it is their workflow, encompassing everything from plot, character and idea formulation through to production of e-book files.

That’s why it can be jarring to have to use something like Microsoft Word or Notepad and constantly copy and paste your dictation into Scrivener. Thankfully, there is a workaround – it isn’t ideal, but it will give you the ability to dictate directly into the program (or any other program, for that matter).

In Dragon NaturallySpeaking, click Tools on the DragonBar followed by Options then Miscellaneous. Towards the bottom of the window you will see “Use the Dictation Box for unsupported applications”. Uncheck this option and click OK. That’s it – you can now dictate directly into Scrivener.

You won’t have full text control – Dragon will revert to something called basic text control when used in this manner – meaning you may not be able to correct your mistakes as comprehensively as you could in a fully supported application. But you will be able to dictate directly into your program of choice, and that’s an important step if it’s the main stumbling block to incorporating Dragon into your writing workflow.

Mac users, sadly, don’t have this level of control in the options – you can click into a text field with your mouse and start dictating, but be warned – Dragon is likely to become erratic or crash completely. Make sure to save your work regularly.

[] Don’t let a crash trash your work

All programs crash from time to time. That’s just the reality of working on a computer – as stable as operating systems have become (remember the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” in Windows?), bad code sometimes creeps in and can cause everything to grind to a halt. Dragon is particularly guilty of this, especially on a Mac.

The Windows version of the software, NaturallySpeaking, is now on version 13 and has evolved into a fully featured, extremely stable product. The same, sadly, cannot be said of Dragon for Mac which has been dogged by stability issues for many years and every iteration. Version 5 was, by all accounts, borderline unusable upon release – little more than extremely expensive beta software. Several updates later and things seem to have settled down, although there are still reports of instability. If you are worried about this, then there is a simple fix.

When you dictate in Dragon (and this would be good practice in the Windows version of the software as well), do not use Dragon’s built-in word processor. Why? Simply put, if Dragon hits a brick wall then it will take its own DragonPad program with it, meaning all your dictated work will be lost. Instead, dictate into another program – and, for reasons I explain in detail in “The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon”, I recommend using a simple, low overhead program like TextEdit.

The benefit of this simple step is that any crash brought on by Dragon is unlikely to affect the program you have been dictating into. OS X, like many modern operating systems, uses something called protected memory to ensure each program sits in its own little sandbox when it is running. As a result, if one app explodes, the others are likely to survive the blast. If nothing else, it gives you a chance to save your work in TextEdit or whichever other program you have dictated into before losing your hard earned words.

You would be very unlucky for Dragon or any other program to take down your whole system – this, on the Mac, is called a “kernel panic” and is equivalent to the Windows “Blue Screen of Death”. Dragon has hopefully been updated to the point where this is now uncommon so simply by keeping your dictation in a separate running program should be enough to preserve the thousands of words you have written.

[] Part Four: Dragon Productivity Hacks

[] Quiet Profiles for Quiet Times

It’s normal to feel conscious about dictating your writing. For some people, the mere concept of speaking out loud is simultaneously awkward and terrifying. It can also cause you to be less productive in certain situations – for example, when other people are in the house with me, I find it difficult to write in general. Dictation makes it even more of a problem; after all, it means my wife or kids can hear what I’m writing and, as most writers will know, we hate sharing our work in any way, shape or form until it’s in a condition we would be proud of.

Then there’s the issue of time. For some people, they can only fit in writing at certain moments of the day or night; I’m very lucky to write full-time, yet I still find myself having to take care of other aspects of my business during normal working hours. When everyone has gone to bed at night, I find there’s a peacefulness and solitude that isn’t there for the rest of the day and it’s a perfect time to get some words written. For others, early in the morning before people get up may be a perfect moment. And, if you are the sort of crazy person who has no problem dictating in public in, say, a coffee shop or park, then that’s another opportunity to get words written when you otherwise wouldn’t.

For any of these situations, I recommend creating a “quiet” profile in Dragon. This would be in addition to your normal profile or simply as a separate dictation source – pick a microphone or headset that you want to use and follow the steps below. Most microphones are extremely sensitive and it’s a common misconception that you need to speak loudly when dictating. In fact, the opposite is true – speaking at too loud a volume can cause the audio to “clip”, resulting in accuracy errors.

What we’re going to do is create a profile based on training Dragon in your quietest voice. Please don’t whisper – that won’t be beneficial at all – but speak in as soft a voice as possible. If you want, create this profile at one of those times I mentioned – early in the morning or late at night when you don’t want to wake anybody up – and Dragon will automatically adjust your microphone settings to compensate for the quietness of your voice. You can then use this profile whenever you are in a situation where you don’t want to dictate loudly and, yes, that includes in coffee shops or other public places where people won’t be able to tell what you are saying, but your microphone will still be able to pick it up.

Bear in mind that in order for this to be successful, you realistically need to use a headset microphone. If you intend to use your laptop and dictate directly into Dragon whenever you use this profile, then pick a USB model like the Plantronics Blackwire C310 or Andrea Electronics NC-181VM headset. These are relatively inexpensive headsets with high quality, sensitive microphones that also have excellent noise cancelling properties. Although you won’t need to block out extraneous noise when you are alone in your house or office, these can prove beneficial when dictating in a public place. They are often used in noisy environments like call centers, blocking out the sounds around the operator yet keeping their voice clear even at low volumes.

The methods for creating this profile are the same, regardless of whether you use the Mac or PC version of Dragon. Bear in mind that if this is something you want to use with a digital recorder, then you will require a headset with a compatible 3.5 mm audio jack. Again, I would recommend an analog headset from Andrea Electronics.

[] Using One Profile On Multiple Computers

We live in an increasingly mobile world, both personally and professionally. Who would have ever thought even a decade ago that practically everybody would now carry a computer everywhere in their pockets, with them at all times? The smartphone has almost made us take the power of portable computers for granted – after all, this is a device that can be a high-end camera, navigation device, web browsing and email tool and even voice recorder, all in one tiny package.

What hasn’t changed, however, is our need for “full” or “real” computers for heavy duty tasks. Whether that’s using graphics intensive programs like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator or dictating via Dragon, a desktop or laptop PC or Mac is still an essential tool for most people.

We haven’t quite got to the point of getting a full PC down to the size and weight of an iPad Air 2 yet (although the Microsoft Surface line and some Ultrabooks such as the MacBook 12-inch with Retina Display and Dell XPS 13 come pretty close), but we have reached a point where even standard laptops are both powerful and extremely portable. Through the use of lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium and even carbon fiber, manufacturers such as Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Asus and Lenovo are now delivering extremely thin, highly portable computers that weigh little more than a tablet and keyboard combined. This means that there’s never been a better time to embrace dictation as part of your writing workflow – you can now take it on the road with you, in a package that is more than capable but still fits into something as small and lightweight as a messenger bag.

For those of us that still like to use a desktop computer, a laptop is usually a secondary device. Even Microsoft have finally acknowledged that people need to license software on more than one computer at a time – their Office 365 Home pricing now covers installs on up to 5 PCs or Macs plus 5 tablets. A little known fact about Dragon is that it also allows for up to 2 installations (although you are only supposed to use it on one device at a time). This means you can have the full power of Dragon NaturallySpeaking or Dragon for Mac anywhere you go, not just at a desk.

In “The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon”, I argue that transcription with a portable voice recorder or smartphone app is the ultimate way to dictate on the go. While this remains my recommendation, you still need to be able to import those files somehow and, if you are away from the desktop you normally use, it makes sense to have a laptop also running Dragon. That way, not only can you dictate directly into it, but you can also import your audio recordings for transcription anywhere.

There’s just one problem – your Dragon profile. For many, this has always been the weak link in the process as it has been necessary to run and maintain two different profiles on separate devices. Now, with the advent of cloud storage, that’s all changed. You can now run a single profile on two separate computers by storing it in your cloud folder of choice. If you are a Windows user, then Microsoft’s OneDrive is baked right into the operating system; Mac users can take advantage of a similar service with iCloud Drive (although the small 5 GB of free storage from both services might not be sufficient for all your files and a Dragon profile that grows over time as it learns your voice).

A good option might be Google Drive, which gives you a generous 15 GB of free storage space. This would be more than sufficient for a growing Dragon profile and still leave plenty of room for photos and documents. It’s important to bear in mind that if you do decide to do this, you will need to use at least one microphone that is the same on both devices. If you have, for example, a desktop microphone in one location that you do not take with you, your profile will not be able to function correctly on your laptop. So it makes sense to use a wired headset microphone as one of your dictation sources on both devices – that way, you can take it with you on the move and use the same profile while benefiting from the custom vocabulary and adjustments to your accuracy that Dragon has been performing.

Bear in mind that you will need an Internet connection on your portable computer in order to send your updated profile to the cloud whenever you use it; if you are on a tethered data connection (such as a 4G or LTE mobile phone), this can use up huge amounts of your data allowance. In that sense, it’s probably best to make sure you are on a Wi-Fi connection when you save your profile on your laptop.

HOW TO DO IT:

Note: You need to be using the same version of Dragon on both devices. Do not mix editions (e.g. Home and Premium, 12 and 13 etc) or platforms (Mac and PC profiles are not interchangeable).

For ease of explanation, the following uses OneDrive and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 for Windows; simply substitute your cloud storage folder of choice (ensuring it is synced on both devices for offline access) and use similar menu options for the Mac version of the program.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Go to ProfileManage User Profile (you may need to close any open profiles).

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Select your profile and click AdvancedExport. Save it in a new folder (call it ‘Dragon’ or something) in OneDrive.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Now return to Manage Profiles and select AdvancedImport. Select the profile you just saved in OneDrive and choose ‘Import the profile with an alternate name’ – name it ‘Cloud’ or something distinctive.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Repeat the import in this way on any other devices – that’s it. You have a profile shared across devices via cloud storage.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Don’t forget to back up the profile to a different location via ToolsAdvanced Settings.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Once you are happy everything is working correctly, you can delete the original profile in Manage Profiles if you wish.

[] Dragon on an iPad or Android Tablet

Let's be blunt. No matter how many times you try to convince someone there is a better way of doing things, there are always people who will ignore 98% of your advice. And that's fine – who am I to tell anybody how to do anything, anyway? In “The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon,” I make my opinion on several things absolutely clear – the Windows version of Dragon is far more capable and stable than the Mac version, there are solutions for using it on a Mac (through dual booting or virtualization) that are cost-effective and achievable, Mac users who have already purchased the Dragon version for their computer should persist with it but be aware of its limitations…the list goes on.

But one thing I absolutely cannot understand is why anybody wanting to build Dragon into their workflow full-time would contemplate incorporating an iOS or Android tablet into it. Dragon simply does not work on these devices and never will, at least natively.

There are people, like myself, who see the advantage of a fully converged device and like the possibilities it holds. I use a Surface Pro 4 for all of my work and play now. It’s not just my laptop (and it is a perfectly adequate laptop replacement, trust me) but also my tablet and desktop, too. Via a docking station, I can hook it up to a large monitor with a keyboard and mouse and enjoy all the benefits of having a separate computer sitting at home, complete with desktop microphone. The added pen support makes digital mark-up a breeze, so I even use it for editing and note-taking.

But I accept that there are Mac users out there who, quite frankly, would rather dig a quarry with a spoon than use a Windows computer of any kind. Whilst I believe you should always use the best tool for the job at hand (and, as I keep reiterating, Dragon works best on a Windows PC), I get it.

The Mac has always been a popular choice among creatives but even I am taken aback at just how many writers now own an Apple computer. What was once a clear minority now seems to be the overwhelming majority – virtually all the writers I know seem to be using a MacBook of some kind, whether it’s the ultra-thin 12 inch version or a Pro or Air model. Windows laptops now seem to be in the minority amongst this particular group – where did they all go? Amongst certain groups of users, PCs seem to have all but disappeared. Was the deeply unpopular Windows 8 the tipping point, the straw that broke the camel’s back when it was time to upgrade? Maybe there was just a “halo effect” from years of using iPhones and iPads – when it came down to a choice between this or that, writers chose the platform they had come to love from the company they had come to trust.

Either way, there’s no getting around it – it’s not good enough to simply tell people to use a version of the software for a platform they don’t own or want to use. And, for an awful lot of writers who spend time away from their home office in coffee shops or libraries (anywhere, frankly, that allows some fresh air and the ability to get out of the house), it goes without saying that travelling light is a very attractive option.

I see more and more people using an iPad with a keyboard case or cover as their “out and about” device. It’s not that a MacBook Air, for example, is too heavy to carry around but a MacBook Pro certainly could be. Interestingly, Apple has now entered the “professional” market for its tablets with the iPad pro. Whether this is genuinely a “Pro” device is open to debate, but I am seeing many writers who find this particular form factor, with its lightweight, floppy keyboard cover as something truly compelling.

As of the time of writing this (April 2016), Apple has expanded this line-up to include a 9.7 inch iPad Pro, cheaper than the larger model but with the same keyboard and pencil accessories. Again, for a writer looking to travel extremely light, this is the perfect device when paired with some reliable cloud storage for getting words down on the move and, if you don’t need the pencil, is even cheaper in the iPad Air variant.

There’s just one problem with these devices – how on earth do you use Dragon on them? I’m not suggesting that most people would want to dictate out loud while sitting in their local Starbucks. But a complete inability to use desktop software, Dragon included, is a major problem. Writers who use Microsoft Word or Apple’s own Pages are well served with these devices, as are those who prefer specialized writing apps like Byword and Ulysses. But the fact remains – Dragon cannot be run on an iPad or any other non-Windows tablet, for that matter. While Nuance has recently announced Dragon Anywhere, this is a relatively expensive monthly subscription model that anyone who has already bought the desktop version of will balk at. But there is a solution.

If you have a desktop or laptop PC or Mac back home, you can access it on your iPad (Pro or otherwise) using a remote desktop application. You won’t be able to dictate directly into Dragon from your iPad, but you will be able to control it – meaning you can transcribe recordings in Dragon, right on your desktop while you access it remotely. That means live, real-time transcription capabilities using the full version of Dragon – right on your iPad screen!

Intrigued? Thought so. If you really want to incorporate your iPad or Android tablet into your Dragon workflow, follow the steps below and you’ll be off and running in no time.

If you have an iPad:

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Install a Remote Desktop app for your iPad. There are many available (some free) but the most reliable I have found is [+ Screens VNC+].

#
p<>{color:#000;}. On your Mac, you will need a helper application so the iPad can speak to your Mac – in this case, Screens Connect.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. When both pieces of software have installed, open the app and follow the instructions to establish a connection.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You will now be able to manipulate your Mac desktop from your iPad (you simply need an Internet connection – you do not need to be on the same network).

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Use a smartphone to transcribe a recording and save it (via your phone’s “Share” function) to your cloud storage of choice. Make sure your Mac at home is set up to sync files with where you have saved the audio file.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Manipulating your Mac via the iPad, open Dragon and transcribe the recording. When it’s done, save it as a text file in the same cloud storage.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Exit Screens and open the newly-created text file on your iPad in your word processor of choice for further editing.

If you have an Android tablet:

Accessing and manipulating a PC or Mac via your tablet follows the same steps as above but you will need to use an Android-compatible Remote Desktop application such as TeamViewer or [+ Chrome Remote Desktop+] (you will also need to set up the helper application in Chrome on your PC or Mac).

[]Command Cheat Sheets

The following are comprehensive lists of commands for you to print out and keep handy when using Dragon. They are slightly different for Mac and PC; make sure to use the one relevant for your version of the software.

[+ Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows – Cheat Sheet+]

[+ Dragon for Mac – Cheat Sheet+]

[][] Afterword

I hope this free guide has been useful and, hopefully, taught you a few things you didn’t know about Dragon. The intention of this book was never to be a complete guide to working with this incredibly powerful piece of software – for that, I have already written a far more comprehensive book called The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon. If you want to learn how to set up your equipment and profile to get [* 99% accuracy from the moment you start using the software *], please check it out.

That’s not all. I maintain a comprehensive set of videos which are updated regularly with new content, exclusively for readers of the above book. I’d love to invite you to check them out as well – simply register here and I will send you the private link. Don’t worry, your email address will not be used for any other purpose than keeping you up-to-date with my videos and books. It won’t be shared, you will never receive spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

I have also compiled a list of items featured in this book (and many more not mentioned here) to research and purchase online. These include microphones, software, USB interfaces, apps, voice recorders and much more.

Access the guide HERE.

There’s never been a better time to be a writer – or so we keep being told. True, the traditional barriers to publishing have been broken down and we can all reach a global audience now through platforms that didn’t even exist less than a decade ago. But the downside to all of this is that it’s no longer enough to just write, especially if you want to make a living from your books.

Somebody once referred to the huge rise in self-published books as a “tsunami”. That’s not strictly true – a tsunami recedes, while the onslaught of newly published titles keeps on coming. What does that mean for you as a writer? Well, quite simply, the route to publishing is easier but competition is much greater than it’s ever been. For anyone wanting to make their writing pay, you need to increase production dramatically and free up as much time as possible for other activities, such as marketing and promoting your books.

Dragon can help you do that. Training and sticking with the software can give you the incredible gift of time – less time to create more words, more time to do other things. Those can be business or personal activities, but the benefit is the same – Dragon changes how you work and how much you can produce. Even if you are simply trying to be more active or avoid or recover from an RSI-related injury, dictation can benefit your health, too.

Dragon has never been more accurate while publishing has never been more accessible. Authors can finally write more quickly while reaching more readers worldwide than ever before. Now that’s perfect timing.


Quick Cheats for Writing With Dragon - Hidden Tricks to Help You Dictate Your Bo

No jargon. No confusion. Just solid, fail-safe tips for writers to take their dictation to the next level. From the author of "The Writer's Guide to Training Your Dragon", this mini-guide will help you choose the right microphone, transcribe on-the-go with Dragon and put you on the path to sky-high word counts. You will also learn little-known tricks, such as: - Dictating into programs Dragon doesn't support - such as Scrivener; - Preventing a crash from taking your dictated text with it; - Creating a "Quiet Profile" for when you need to dictate without disturbing others; - Using the same profile on multiple computers - and keeping it updated; - Running your desktop Dragon app on an iPad or Android tablet - anywhere, anytime. Designed to get you up-and-running with this powerful software in no time, "Quick Cheats for Writing with Dragon" may make you want to never look at a keyboard again!

  • Author: Ashe Publishing
  • Published: 2016-04-06 18:05:08
  • Words: 7611
Quick Cheats for Writing With Dragon - Hidden Tricks to Help You Dictate Your Bo Quick Cheats for Writing With Dragon - Hidden Tricks to Help You Dictate Your Bo