November 27, 2006

Quick access to the task manager

Category: Navigating Windows XP

Just created a desktop shortcut to the task manager -- bringing up the task manager has been another thing that I find time-consuming to do by voice.

The task manager lives in the following file path in Windows XP:

Create a desktop shortcut by right clicking on the taskmgr.exe file and selecting Send to > Desktop (create shortcut).

November 22, 2006

Issues with default Windows/Office settings

Category: Navigating Windows XP

I found that these default Windows/Office settings get in the way of using Dragon smoothly:

"Condensed" menus in Office programs
When I say "File" in Microsoft Word, it's much easier if i can see all of the options on the file menu straight away.
The fix: follow these instructions.

Long start menu shortcut names in Office 2003
I find I am not able to say "start Microsoft Word". Instead, I have to say "start Microsoft Office Word 2003".
The fix: navigate to the start menu shortcuts for office 2003 programs. On my computer, this is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office. Rename each program shortcut to a short, unique name you'll remember. I renamed mine as "Word", "Excel", etc.

The ever-growing and shrinking system tray on the lower right
Perhaps this is just a personal preference, but I wanted to show all taskbar icons at all times (see step 17 of this article for instructions). Then I could easily access ones I did use, and delete unwanted icons. Doing so reduces the number of programs that launch on start-up. Or rather, reducing the list of start-up programs reduces the number of icons in the system tray.

By default Windows Explorer shows files and folders in tile view, and does not show hidden files
I like to view files as a list and view hidden files by default.

By default .rtf files created in Dragon pad will open in Word
The fix: it doesn't seem possible to associate the .rtf file type with Dragon pad. But one compromise is to select a .RTF file and associate it with WordPad.

Although not strictly a Windows setting, while doing the above I found it useful to create a Vocola command for inserting curly quotes, with thanks to the authors of this forum post.

November 20, 2006

Setting up RoboForm with Dragon

1Category: Free & easy tools

11One of the things my to-do list was to get RoboForm up and running on my new laptop. Can't believe I waited so long! It really is such a timesaver for filling in text fields on websites.

RoboForm works in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and a couple of other browsers.

To configure RoboForm:
  1. Follow the installation and set up instructions on the RoboForm site.
  2. If all works well, it will prompt you to create a profile and ask to save information whenever you fill out Web forms.
You'll also need to:
  • create a voice command for clicking on the [Passcards] button (fills in site-specific saved information)
  • create a voice command for clicking on the [your name] button (fills in generic information based on your RoboForm profile).
To create Vocola commands
  1. Open the browser/s you commonly use.
  2. Say "edit voice commands".
  3. Copy and paste the below commands into your command file.

Fill this in = SetMousePosition ( 1, 333, 119 ) ButtonClick(1,1) SetMousePosition ( 1, 333, 129) ButtonClick(1,1);
Generic fill in = SetMousePosition ( 1, 448, 119) ButtonClick(1,1) SetMousePosition ( 1, 448, 129) ButtonClick(1,1);

Note: The above mouse coordinates work for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox on my computer. You may have to adjust these.

Happy surfing!

DNS9 and Natlink/Vocola troubleshooting

1Category: Natlink/Vocola for beginners34

DNS 9 has fantastic accuracy. And the new Vocola installer worked like a charm. But both DNS 9 and Vocola have required a few "adjustments".

I, and other users, have experienced the below issues.

DNS 9 freezes in noisy environmentsInstall patch35 from Nuance website
Apparently the new NatLink/Vocola installer does not install over the old installation.Uninstall existing NatLink/Vocola installation before using the new installer.
Some macros won't work.Increase or insert additional "Wait" times. I now usually insert Wait(200) by default whenever a menu pops up/down or screen updates.
Apparently recursive grammars cause issues.
See this forum post36 for details.

If anyone would like to add to the above, please let me know.

I'm back :-)

My apologies for the lack of recent postings!

My priorities have been with other projects but there's lots more I want to achieve with this site.

At the very least, I have sorely missed not having an excuse to keep furthering my SR knowledge and there's a very large list of things I'm looking forward to trying out.

So please stay tuned to this space :-)

August 04, 2006

Using Dragon in "unsupported" applications

Categories: Other discoveries, Native Dragon features

Here are some great tools/techniques to use in non-Select-and-Say applications.

Note: Select-and-Say applications are programs where you are able to dictate freely, and select phrases on command.  Non-Select-and-Say applications are programs where it is much more difficult to dictate and select text, i.e. many of the applications not listed in the Dragon compatibility charts.

Enable That for editing formatted text
Enable That is a great add-on that works with all editions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 5-8.  Works best with the Professional edition, but I have tested it in Standard and was able to use it to edit text.  I mainly work in Microsoft Publisher, and found that Enable That was able to edit text without any issues, but I lost my pictures.  From what I hear, it will possibly become redundant with the improved dictation box in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9?  Great if you work mainly with text and seems to have loads of features.

Dictation Box for dictating long phrases
The dictation box is a standard feature of Dragon NaturallySpeaking.  To use the dictation box:
  1. Move the cursor to the point where you want to insert your text

  2. Say "show dictation box"

  3. Dictate the required text

  4. Say "okay"
Your text will be inserted into the document.  
The dictation box is great for inserting long sentences or paragraphs.  Commands using the Vocola variable <_anything> is quicker for dictating short phrases.

Edit All for editing plain text
"Edit All" is a native Dragon command that grabs plain text from a window and displays it in the dictation box where you can use standard editing command before reinserting the edited text into the original window.

Vocola commands using <_anything> for quickly dictating short phrases
I found this tip on the speech wiki web site.  Very simple, but very effective.
If you create a Vocola command using the special variable <_anything> (which I believe is unique to Vocola..?) to capture your dictation, you can get great accuracy in non-Select-and-Say applications.

My command looks like this:
Dump <_anything> = $1

So to dictate a single word or a short phrase, I will say "dump <the phrase>”.  

Commands for editing text on-the-fly
The biggest frustration with using non-Select-and-Say applications is editing while you work.  Commands like "select next four words" and "delete line" become extra useful in non-Select-and-Say areas.

Because I tend to work mostly in columns of text in Publisher, I like to be able to select groups of words on the same line.  For example, I might edit a line like this:

Contact the Directorate of Social Services for more help.

Let’s say I wanted to change "more help" to “further assistance”.  I would then want to select those two words and then dictate over them.  There are many ways to do this, but I like selecting the words by number.  In this example, I would select words 7 and 8.

I use the following Vocola command to select a specified number of words from a given word:
Select 1..10 from 1..10 = {home} Repeat($2, {Ctrl+right}) {ctrl+left} Repeat($1, {shift+Ctrl+right}) ;

So in the above example, to select words 7 and 8, I would select two words from the start of word 7 by putting the cursor anywhere within the line say "select two from seven".  

Other commands which I find quite useful are:
Repeat select up
Repeat select down
Repeat select left
Repeat select right
(all of these use the Natlink repeat keystrokes script)
Select 1..20 previous words / lines
Select 1..20 next words words / lines
(found in Speech wiki’s general editing command collection)

July 05, 2006

Shortcuts for working with files and folders

1Category: Other discoveries

This is the easiest method for accessing files and folders by voice I've come across so far:

July 03, 2006

Copying from a web page by voice in Mozilla Firefox

11Category: Other discoveries

Here’s how to copy content from a web page without using the mouse.

To do this, you'll need to have the following command either in your global voice command file or in your Firefox voice command file:

Select 1..20 More Words = Repeat($1, "{Ctrl+Shift+Right}");

The procedure is as follows:

1. Say “slash x”, where x is the first word of the passage you want to copy.

The word will be highlighted.

2. Say “select y more words”, where y is the number of words/items in the rest of the passage.

The rest of the passage will be highlighted.

3. Say "copy that".

The passage will be copied to the clipboard!

May 13, 2006

Get updates on Vocola macros

Category: Natlink/Vocola for beginners

When browsing around on Speechwiki the other week, I found that there is a facility to receive e-mail updates of all changes/additions to their collection of Vocola macros.

So far, I've received about one or two updates per week.

Sign up for Vocola macro updates by following the instructions on this page:

You don't have to understand how Natlink/Vocola works to use any of the Vocola commands on this site or on speech wiki

Just follow this procedure to incorporate a Vocola command into your Dragon setup:

1. Install Natlink/Vocola.

2. Restart your computer.

3. If the command is for a particular application, open that application and say "edit VoiceCommands" OR If the command is global, say "edit global VoiceCommands".

A blank command file will display.

4. Copy the Vocola command that you want to use to the clipboard (from this site or from speech wiki).

5. Go back to the command file you just displayed, and paste the command on a new line anywhere in the file.

6. Say "refresh macros" to save the commands.

7. Close the command file window.

You're now able to use the new command.

NOTE: Natlink/Vocola is free, versatile and compatible with all editions of DNS (you can even use it to create commands with Standard editions), but it has its quirks. If you're looking for a complete command set with user support, you may want to consider a buying product like Knowbrainer or hiring an SR professional to customise commands for you.

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