Talking to your computer

This section Introduces the voice recognition feature in OS 8 and 9

Introduction

Mac OS 8 and 9 has optional voice recognition software, which takes your speech and turns it into commands to control your computer. It doesn't allow you to dictate into, or control, other programs.

English Speech Recognition can be found on the Mac OS CD-ROM: under CD Extras: Universal Access: Easy Access.

If you do not have access to the Mac OS CD-Rom it is available on the web at:
Apple Macintosh Software Toolkit

Instructions

If you have Speech Recognition installed take the following steps to turn it on and use it:

  1. Click on the ' Apple ' menu (no keyboard shortcut).
  2. From the ' Control Panels ' sub-menu click on ' Speech ' which will bring up the box as shown in Fig 1 (no keyboard shortcut).

Speech dialog box
Fig 1

  1. From the sub-menu next to ' Options: ' click ' Speakable Items ' (See Fig 2) . (No keyboard shortcut).

Speakable items option in the Speech dialog box
Fig 2

  1. Click on the ' On' radio button next to ' Speakable Items is ' . This will open the Speakable Items window (see Fig 3) .(No keyboard shortcut).

Speakable items window
Fig 3

  1. To issue a command press and hold the ' Esc ' key on your keyboard while speaking.
  2. ' Speakable items ' can issue a number of commands, they are listed in the 'Speakable Items' sub menu in the ' Apple ' menu.

By default Speakable items will recognise the ' OK ' and ' Cancel ' buttons in windows, you can turn this off by:

  1. Click on the ' Apple ' menu. (No keyboard shortcut).
  2. From the ' Control Panels ' sub-menu click on ' Speech ' (See Fig 1 above) .(No keyboard shortcut).
  3. From the sub-menu next to ' Options:' click ' Speakable Items' (See Fig 4 ) (No keyboard shortcut).
  4. Click on the ' Recognize ''OK' and 'Cancel ' buttons checkbox as shown in Fig 4.(No keyboard shortcut).

Speakable items option with 'Recognise 'OK' and 'Cancel' button turned off
Fig 4

When Speakable Items recognises a command it will give you a visual response in the Speakable Items window, speak feedback text and make a sound.

You can change these settings and the ' Speakable Items ' character by:

  1. Click on the ' Apple ' menu .(No keyboard shortcut).
  2. From the ' Control Panels ' sub-menu click on ' Speech '.(No keyboard shortcut).
  3. From the sub-menu next to 'Options:' click ' Feedback' (See Fig 5).(No keyboard shortcut).

Feedback option in Speech dialog box
Fig 5

  1. Click on the drop down list next to ' Character ' to change the ' Speakable Items ' character and make a selection .(No keyboard shortcut).
  2. Click on the checkbox next to ' Speak text feedback ' and clear or check it to your preference. (No keyboard shortcut).
  3. If you want to hear a sample of the text feedback click the speaker icon button. (No keyboard shortcut).
  4. Click the drop down list next to ' Recognized ' and click on a selection .(No keyboard shortcut).
  5. Test your choice by clicking on the speaker icon button to the right of the list.(No keyboard shortcut).

By default Speakable Items only listens while the ' Esc' key is pressed, this key can be changed or you can set a command for the computer to listen for so you do not need to hold down a key.

Follow the steps earlier to turn ' Speakable Items ' on, then do the following.

  1. From the ' Speech ' control panel click the drop down menu next to ' Options ' and make a selection (see Fig 5) .(No keyboard shortcut).

Listening option in Speech dialog box
Fig 1

  1. Type in your preferred key or click on the radio button next to ' Key(s) toggle listening on and off' .
  2. Type in your preferred command then click the drop down list next to 'Name is:' and choose to either require it before every command or to change the length of time the command is activated for. You can also turn the command to optional by selecting ' Optional before commands ' , however you may issue commands by mistake. (No keyboard shortcut).
  3. Click the close button or press ' Apple' + ' W ' to exit the ' Speech ' control panel.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

See this page on:

  • Mac

Also see:

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.