One of the cool new features introduced in Windows Vista is Speech Recognition. The feature allows you to control your computer through voice. You can dictate documents and e-mail messages, fill out forms on the web using voice commands, and manage Windows Vista and applications by saying what you see.
In older version of Windows this was accomplished by using third party software such as E-Speaking and Say Now. There are other commercial applications like Dragon Naturally speaking from Nuance which is very powerful , but on the downside the price is pretty high.
Before you get started using Speech Recognition, you need to have a microphone hooked up to the computer (Obvious Right 🙂 ). Once you’ve got your microphone set up, you can train your computer by creating a voice profile that your computer uses to recognize your voice and spoken commands.
Start the Speech Recognition Service (Again in vista it’s pretty easy to search for an application with the integrated search box in the start menu) . A microphone icon should pop up in the task bar.
The options available is shown below
Start the tutorial by selecting “Start the Speech tutorial”
The tutorial other you through the features also starts adapting to your style of talking. The tutorial is pretty extensive and it covers:
- Basics : How to start/stop/hide speech recognition
- Dictation : Letters/Words, Correcting Mistakes, Navigation etc.
- Commands : Say what you see , Show Numbers etc, Working with Form Windows etc.
The tutorial is best place to explore all the features.
The service is controlled using 2 keywords : Start Listening and Stop Listening. The Speech Recognition widget gives a textual feedback on how it’s interpreting the voice.
Some of the commands like “Start Menu”, “Start Notepad”, “Start WordPad” seemed to be working nicely. On the Dictation front, I was not so happy with the recognition Engine. Most of the words were not interpreted properly.
The Top 10 command list
Voice Commands for working with Windows
Don’t forget to check the Windows help, it has a big list of voice commands for Dictation, Punctuation marks, clicking anywhere on the screen etc.