How to dictate on a Mac computer, using the voice-to-text dictation feature that can type out your speech

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It's possible to dictate speech on your Mac computer, which has the ability to type out your spoken words.

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  • You can dictate on a Mac computer so that your computer types out your speech. 
  • But before you can start using dictation, you'll have to enable it via your Mac's System Preferences, and decide the shortcut you'll use to turn it on, as well as the language it will dictate in.
  • Here's how to set up and use the dictation feature on a Mac computer.
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Voice-to-text is a helpful feature for those who are often out and about.

And for those who have a Mac computer, you can take that feature and use it in your everyday workflow. The key is a built-in feature known as dictation. 

But before you can take advantage of dictation, you'll have to enable it. After that, it works similarly as any voice-to-text feature, any you may be able to access more in-depth voice commands to format your document.

Here's how to set it up and start using it.

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How to set up dictation on a Mac

1. Click the Apple logo in the top-left toolbar, then choose "System Preferences."

2. Select "Keyboard."

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Click on Keyboard in System Preferences.

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3. Toggle over to "Dictation" in the menu at the top of the window.

4. Next to "Dictation" select "On" and if desired, turn on enhanced dictation by ticking the corresponding box — this allows you to use additional commands, like bold, italics, underline, copy, delete, and undo — and dictate without an internet connection (enhanced dictation is only available for those with OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later).

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Turn Dictation on.

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5. Set the language and create the desired shortcut.

How to dictate on a Mac

Once you've enabled the dictation feature, here's how to use it:

1. Open a document.

2. Place your cursor to the desired location for your dictation.

3. Use the shortcut you established when setting up dictation; alternatively, you can also select "Edit" and then "Start Dictation."

4. Start talking.

You should see a microphone icon appear on the screen after you start the feature. 

As you speak, it's important to remember to say your desired punctuation out loud, otherwise you'll end up with a long, run-on sentence. To stop dictation, click "Done" below the microphone icon.

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