Voice Dictation, or just Dictation as Apple calls it, is one of my favorite features of iOS on the iPad. As I’ve mentioned recently here, I use it more and more and it just keeps getting better. Though Siri may draw more attention, I think dictation is the far more useful feature right now.
If you haven’t tried out dictation on the iPad you really should give it a go. It can be much faster than typing at times. Here are a few little tips and some common commands you can use to get even more out of dictation:
Speak slowly and clearly: I know this sounds obvious, but it’s an easy one to forget. I find that when I speak too quickly or run my words together I see poor results, as should be expected. When I remember to slow down just a bit and pronounce things clearly I get great results – even when there are low levels of background noise around me (e.g. music or TV playing nearby).
Add punctuation commands as you speak: There are a great number of useful commands that can be used with dictation. Common punctuation is easy to add as you speak. For example you can say “This morning I ate breakfast comma walked the dog comma and took my daughter to school period” – and the result you’ll get will be:
This morning I ate breakfast, walked the dog, and took my daughter to school.
Use languages Other than US English: Dictation supports a range of languages other than just US English. If you’ve installed a keyboard for one of its supported languages then you can dictate in that language as well. I tried this out with Spanish and it worked beautifully. Here are the supported languages:
- English (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada)
- French (France, Canada, Switzerland)
- German (Germany, Switzerland)
- Japanese (Japan)
- Spanish (United States, Spain, Mexico)
- Italian (Italy, Switzerland)
- Mandarin (Taiwan, China)
- Cantonese (Hong Kong)
- Korean (South Korea)
And here are some of the most helpful commands you can use with dictation – with the command listed first and then the result:
question mark: ?
exclamation point: !
open parenthesis: (
close parenthesis: )
end quote: “
percent sign: %
caps on: caps lock on
caps off: caps lock off
cap: capitalize next word
new line: insert new text line
new paragraph: begin new paragraph
space bar: type a space
To see a full list of dictation commands you can go to this Apple support document. Note that it is titled as a document for Mac – but I’ve found that nearly all the command syntax is the same on the iPad.
Are you using dictation on the iPad? If so, how much and what do you use it the most for?