Blogging By Voice: Part 3 – Tell Your Blog What to Do! (Syntax commands for Dragon Dictation 2.0 mobile app for iPod/iPhone)

This is part of my series on Blogging by Voice, using the newly updated (July 23, 2010) Dragon Dictation 2.0 iPhone/iPod on  a WordPress blog. This app has helped me keep blogging with an injured hand!  I have dictated all posts in this series using Dragon Dictation, and edited them by voice (tidying up with a little hand editing to insert links, headlines, graphics, and the like).

Posts in this series:

Part 1 -Voice-to-Text Blogging on Your iPod! (via Dragon Dictation 2.0) – overview

Part 2 -Edit by Voice on Your iPod Touch/iPhone in Dragon Dictation 2.0 mobile app

Part 3-Tell Your Blog What to Do! (Syntax  commands for Dragon Dictation 2.0 mobile app for iPod/iPhone)

Part 4-Edit by Touchscreen Keyboard on Your iPod Touch/iPhone in Dragon Dictation 2.0 mobile app

This post explains how to use Dragon’s command syntax to format your dictation, thereby minimizing the need for later editing. Command syntax is Dragon’s built-in capability to recognize code words, or commands, that specify formatting, such as capitalization or quotation marks. These commands may at first seem just one more list of coding to learn, but when you discover how much time and effort they save you in editing, these commands become your friends.

When you dictate using these syntax commands, the text is formatted accordingly. Instead of the command words themselves appearing in the text, the words or phrases that you surround with syntax commands will be styled or formatted according to the commands.

For example: If you dictate, “I love Dragon dictation” — the second word dictation will not be capitalized. On the other hand, if you dictate, “I love Caps On Dragon Dictation Caps Off” — the app will capitalize both Dragon and Dictation.

There are many such commands, and I keep a list of them in front of me as I dictate. There is a learning curve to incorporate them into your dictation style, but it’s well worth the effort. The best place to find a list of these commands is “Just Another iPhone Blog” here.  Be sure to read the comments too, as there are additional syntax tips there.  You can find a shortened list of syntax commands on the Dragon Dictation mobile apps support page here.

Here are my five favorite syntax commands:

1. SPELLING.  Say you have a name or an unusual word that Dragon will not recognize. Just spell it out using the NATO alphabet, which you can find here. Just spell it out using the code words for each letter. For example, I wanted to use the word “fabled” but Dragon would not recognize it. So I spelled it out, saying “foxtrot, alpha, lima, echo, delta — and Dragon got it on the first try.

2. CAPITALIZATION

Cap,  to capitalize the word, as in “I like cap Dragon.”

Caps on, Caps Off — to capitalize a number of the words in sequence, as in “He sang caps on America the Beautiful caps off.”

All caps on and All caps off — to capitalize all the letters in a word, as in “All caps on DO NOT All caps off try this at home.”

3. PUNCTUATION. Saying certain words such as period, comma, apostrophe, open paren, close paren, open quote, close quote, etc, will produce that punctuation mark.

4. MONEY. Just saying the price of something, for example: “three dollars and ninety-nine cents” will produce the correct formatting, like this: $3.99.

5. E-MAIL ADDRESSES. Begin by saying No caps on so that the address will correctly not contain capital letters. Popular domains such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., are recognized by Dragon. Others you may have to spell out.

Here are a couple other tips I discovered to minimize hand editing:

  • Speak at a normal rate of speed, not too slowly, not too carefully enunciated, and without pauses.
  • When using voice-driven editing, it helps to record several new words or even a whole new phrase at a time, rather than just one word.

That’s Dragon Dictation syntax commands in a nutshell. For me, voice-driven editing combined with these spoken syntax commands makes the difference between a usable and unusable app.

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