Sep 02

dragon for mac

Looking for a review of Version 6? Click here!

Today Dragon Dictate Version 5 (renamed “Dragon for Mac”) was released. It’s a major upgrade from Nuance who are the creators of Dragon Naturally Speaking. They have flagged the importance of this release with the name change from ‘Dragon Dictate’ to simply ‘Dragon for Mac’. It looks different and it feels different, my overall my initial response is… it’s the best and worst version of Dragon so far. Worst because it crashes a lot. The best because of the design and accuracy.

SUMMARY: 

The Good: Incredibly accurate. Fast. Looks great. Does not require significant time to be trained.

The Bad: Slow to Load. Problems with capitalisation and spacing.

The Ugly: Crashes a lot. Unstable. Does not work with Microsoft Office 2016.

UPDATE: This review was done in September 2015 and my conclusion was to ‘wait for the first bug fix release to get a more stable product.‘  It’s now four months later. We are up to Dragon version 5.0.4, and based on my own experience and the comments of people below, it’s not getting any better. In fact it’s now become so unstable under ‘El Capitan’ that I’ve had to stop using it. I have gone back to using the built-in dictation, which is pretty painful, but at least it doesn’t crash!

 

1. Improvements

Integration

The most obvious difference is that the Dragon Dictate Application seems to have completely disappeared as an app and it has more or less integrated itself into the operating system. This is fantastic. It doesn’t feel like Dragon is now a clunky add on application – it feels like part of OS X itself.

If you have the status window hidden, the only way you know Dragon for Mac is running is that it appears in a small menu icon at the top right of your screen. You can access the Dragon menu commands from whatever app you happen to be in. It feels more integrated into other applications than the previous version of Dragon. You can be dictating into Apple Pages and access the Dragon menu to do ‘vocabulary training’ or ‘microphone setup’ without switching apps.

menu

The new Dragon menu is available from any application you are in.

There is no longer a separate ‘note pad’  application to dictate into, rather Nuance have designed Dragon to dictate into any app.  Now they haven’t fully pulled this off yet –  see the comments below under  ‘integration into applications’ –  but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Aesthetics

Dragon for Mac looks a lot prettier.  If you say ’show status window’ (or select it from the Dragon menu) the new status window appears. It’s  is a huge improvement on the old one. Instead of being that ugly black colour from the 1980s, the status window has been redesigned with the OSX and iOS 8 look and feel.

For example here are some pictures of the status window.

As well as giving you a volume level  it displays tips of what you can say. These tips are really useful, especially for new users to Dragon, although I’ve been using it for years and I still found them useful.  The suggestions vary depending on the context – where your cursor is.

status3

The new status window in ‘dictation’ mode.

 

status1

The status window with some text selected.

 

status2

The status window with the microphone off.

Accuracy

The speech recognition accuracy seems fairly similar to what it was in Dragon 4 (I was running Dragon 4  with the ‘accuracy’  set to maximum.)  Dragon claim an accuracy improvement of 15%. That might be true but it’s hard to notice. I imported my old speech profile across to Dragon for Mac and the amount of mistakes that are being made doesn’t seem to have changed significantly.  I’m not coming away thinking ‘wow, this is a huge improvement in the speech recognition accuracy.’  I am coming away with a big wow in terms of the ability to dictate without any training –  more about that later.

Speed

The lack of noticeable improvement in accuracy is more than made up for in the speed improvement. The  speed at which the speed recognition is done is incredible!  The text appears almost instantaneously the moment you stop speaking.  In Dragon Dictate version 4  there was a  noticeable lag between the end of your sentence and when the text was pasted into the application.

In version 4 there was also a setting for you to choose between ‘accuracy’  and ‘ speed.’  There was a trade-off between the two. Running at the ‘accurate’  end of the spectrum, I found Dragon Dictate slightly too slow, whereas running at the ‘speed’  end of the spectrum I found that Dragon Dictate made too many mistakes.  That setting has disappeared  and the new Dragon for Mac seems to be running at full speed and full accuracy. So overall there is a noticeable improvement in performance.

Training

For the first time ever, you can now use Dragon without any training at all! In every previous version of Dragon Dictate you had to spend 5 to 10 minutes in front of the computer reading to it so that it could learn to adapt to your voice. This might not be an unreasonable investment given the time that you will save in using Dragon, but it is a bit of a downer when you first receive the software to have to sit through all the training. Remarkably, Dragon for Mac recognises your speech very accurately with no training at all.  I dictated the second half of this article right in an untrained profile of Dragon for Mac  and it was very usable straight out of the box  with no voice training!

There is an option for extra ‘Voice Training’ if you want to improve the accuracy.

improve

 

2. Bugs and problems

Sadly there are way too many issues with Dragon for Mac. It’s almost like a beta testing version.  If buggy software annoys you it’s probably worth waiting for the next minor upgrade date before you upgrade.

Slowness to Load

Once Dragon for Mac is running, the speech recognition is  fast, but the application itself is terribly slow to install and to load.  When Dragon for Mac is launched there is a message “Dragon is Starting up…’ and Dragon for Mac takes about 30 seconds to load.  Most of my other apps take 1-2 seconds to launch. My MacMini takes 15 seconds for the entire boot process. So it takes twice as long to load Dragon as it does to boot my entire OS X.

During installation there were lots of spinning beach balls  with no indication as to whether my computer had crashed or was still doing something.

Crashing during Training

The first problem I encountered, and I have to admit it was a pretty major one, is that when I did have a go at ‘voice training’ (I couldn’t help myself) Dragon for Mac crashed about 5 minutes into the process, losing all of the training I had done. Even when it goes smoothly,   training is a pain in the neck – sitting at your computer reading monotonous passages –  it’s worse when it crashes!  I didn’t bother retraining to see if the accuracy improved.

The training passages are exactly the same ones that Nuance used in previous versions  of Dragon so it’s not real exciting reading. (Yes it’s the same readings about the difference between ‘ice cream’ and ‘I scream.’  aaaarrrrgh)

Integration into Applications

Dragon for Mac is designed to dictate into any application, so that you do not need a separate app like ‘Notepad’.

You cannot mix typing and speaking in any app –  Dragon gets confused. But Nuance claim that Dragon has been designed to work especially well  Microsoft Word and Text Edit.  I don’t have Microsoft Word,  I use Apple’s pages.  It seems a strange choice  that Dragon would choose to integrate with Microsoft Word,  but not with Apple Pages. Full integration with Apple Mail would have been nice too.

So what does this full integration mean?   With Microsoft Word and Text Edit you can  ‘mix’  dictation and typing. You can type some text, and then you can say ‘select word‘ and Dragon will go  back and selected the word that you typed.  Or you can say ‘ insert before word‘  and Dragon for Mac will go back and start dictating from before that word ( even if you typed that word rather than dictated it). This feature is only available from within Word and Text Edit.  You can’t do that in Apple pages or Apple mail. In any other app other than Word and Text Edit, you can only use ‘select word‘  with words that you have dictated.

Dragon not work with the latest Office 2016. I think this is a problem with Microsoft Word rather than Dictate because the OS-X dictate does not work in the new Microsoft Word either.

Problems with capitalisation and dropping the last letter of a word.

These problems carry over from Version 4. Using Text Edit (the only piece of software that I have that you can mix your ‘speaking’ and ‘typing’ with) Dragon seems to still have some problems capitalising the first word in a sentence when you are mixing speaking and typing. For example when I typed a full stop (period) at the end of a line, and then said ‘new line’  and started dictating, Dragon began the next sentence with a lowercase letter instead of an uppercase one.  There are also times when I found myself clicking in the middle of a sentence to add a word and dictate would capitalise that, even though it was in the middle of a sentence.  There are a few times I have just clicked at the end of a sentence and started dictating and Dragon doesn’t capitalise the first letter of the sentence there either. So it seems to have trouble working out the context of a single word within a sentence in terms of whether to capitalise it or not.

Apple dictation on my iPhone doesn’t seem to have any problem getting this right. It looks back at how the last word ended and works out whether it should be beginning with a capital letter or not.

This might sound like I am being picky but by version 5 Nuance should have something as simple as capitalisation  working.

In Dragon Dictate version 4 there was the dreaded dropping the last letter of the word bug,  where you would click after a word, start dictating, and Dragon Dictate would remove the last letter of the previous word,  drop in your dictated text,  and then stick the orphaned letter at the end of the sentence.  This has happened to me a number of times with Dragon for Mac, so there are still a few issues to iron out.

Finally, Dragon for Mac seems to add a space before every word that you dictate.  Sometimes this is desirable, but not all the time, the problem is that Dragon for Mac always adds a space. So if you click into a sentence and you click  straight before a word (after a space), and start dictating, you get a double space before the word, and then no space after the word.  This was also the case with Dragon Dictate.  I think this is what Nuance mean when they say that ‘dictating’  mixed with ‘typing’  doesn’t work in applications other than Microsoft Word and Text Edit.  It will be nice when this happens in all applications.

Other Issues

There are lots of little bugs. Some advanced features are not working.  I can’t edit Applescripts. I can’t add keyboard shortcuts.  I can’t add Menu Commands. If you look on the forums there are a few other teething issues. It seems this is a fairly major overhaul that is more than skin deep and this has led to some problems that were not there in previous versions. I assume these will be sorted out fairly soon.

3. Dragon for Mac: final thoughts

This is the most significant upgrade to Dragon since Dragon Dictate was released.

In this previous review of version 4 I said that I did not think it was worth the upgrade from 3 to 4.  I thought it was rude of Nuance to charge such a hefty upgrade fee ($149)  to it’s loyal users for such a lame offering.

Well for those of you who decided to wait, todays upgrade to ‘Dragon for Mac’ is the upgrade you were waiting for.

Dragon for Mac has been given a facelift as well as a good boost under the hood.

Upgrading to Dragon for Mac is a no brainer – conceptually it’s the best Dragon we’ve had.  If you are desperate I would go for version 5.0 and start enjoying the new features now, but it might be better to wait for the first bug fix release to get a more stable product.

Purchasing

You can buy it direct from Nuance from here (affiliate link).

If you buy it direct from Nuance you get the 30 day money back guarantee.

But if you are going to buy it read here for the interesting price differences. On Nuances own store the price (for the upgrade) varies from $99 to $150.

 

86 Responses to “Dragon for Mac: A Review of Dragon v5”

  1. Bruce says:

    Good review. I have been using Dragon 5.0 for Mac for about a month (used previous versions in the past but was disappointed with the results) and its recognition is much better than in previous versions. The bugs, such as putting a space before every word, including the first word of a sentence, are tolerable as dictating is much faster than typing. And the transcription mode works well, too, for voice recordings made on my iPad.
    I would rate this version 4.5 stars.

    • muriel : says:

      dictate 5.04 does not work with Mac OS X EL CAPITAN; I have been trying to use it since 3 months, and it drives me mad, also my infomatician, who called them different times, but problems are still there, and it is faster to tape myself, than to deal with all the problems, the slow, etc… And work is now late … but it was perfect on my precedent Mac.

      • Kevin says:

        We are now on v5.05, and while Dragon Pad is still shot, the newer version is more stable than earlier versions. However, dragon is intolerant of some formatting and objects in Word. For example, if I insert a table, then Word or Dragon, or both, continually crash.
        You might try updating your software.

  2. savitabailur says:

    Thank you for a great review! Was wondering whether to buy it – tempted now – I loved the PC version but didn’t get the Mac one until now because of poor reviews. Do you have any idea if it works in gdocs?
    Thanks so much again!
    Savita

    • Wayne says:

      I wouldn’t buy it quite yet, there are lots of bug reports on Dragon for Mac support page, maybe wait until the first update comes out, version 5.1 or something like that.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for the great reviews and information. I’ve never used voice recognition software but an eye injury may force the issue.

    I went to Nuance to check out Dragon for Mac. Under system requirements, they list “Built-in Mac microphone or a Nuance-approved microphone.” Does this mean Dragon for Mac is superior to Dragon Speak 4 and you CAN use your built-n mic? Or is it really $300 for the program and the microphone required for satisfying results? ouch…

    • Wayne says:

      it may be, I haven’t tried it. If you give me a couple of days I will give it a whirl with the built-in mic on my laptop.

    • Patricia says:

      Kathryn, I don’t have direct experience, and it’s possible that Nuance isn’t super conscientious with its third party support, given that it competes with them. I would assume that compatibility is the biggest issue, and the differences are likely pretty deep into the tech.

      But – I will say I’ve heard others report good results with a quality mic setup that isn’t Dragon. I suggest some deep googling to see what others have used. There may also be a difference between PC and Mac compatibility, so be mindful of that.

      Last I researched, someone recommended this Shure mic (WH20XLR you will need an adapter). I haven’t tried it yet though. Another person suggested the Audio Technica ATR-3350. You can always try and then return them if they don’t work for you… Good luck! :)

      • Tom Wilkinson says:

        I’ve used a Blue Snowflake mic with Dragon 4.0 and the results have been noticeably better than with the internal mic on MacBook Air. For one thing its just closer to me and I can’t stand a headset. Check Amazon for a great selection of mics.

  4. Malcolm says:

    Great review Wayne,

    Thanks,

    Hope you’re doing well

    Malcolm

  5. Howard says:

    Is it just me, or is no one else questioning why the colour of the microphone” “On” button, a light green, and the colour of the microphone “Asleep” button, a light greenish blue, are virtually indistinguishable in the menu bar at the top in the Dragon logo?

    • Wayne says:

      Yes I have not noticed that – the red and green are good but the blue looks too much like the green. I have the status window open so I had not noticed that!

  6. Jorge Quinonez says:

    Is it compatible with El Capitan (10.11)?

    • Wayne says:

      Now sure – has anyone out there tried it with 10.11???

      • Howard says:

        I’m using it with El Capitan, and its working very well.

        It’s just been upgraded to 5.0.1, Build 13622, which does seem faster and more accurate. I am normally pretty critical of Dragon For the Mac, but so far so good.

        I am on the public beta 10.11.1 of El Capitan.

  7. Howard says:

    I should’ve mentioned this in my prior post. This is an excellent review of Dragon for the Mac version 5. It’s not just reiterating the publicity material from Nuance, which so many reviews seem to be. It has real information on speed, accuracy and training. It doesn’t ignore the dropped last letter issue, which sadly appears to continue. And it identifies many of the little things that should be there but aren’t, particularly in a final version.

    Thank you for your, obviously, considerable efforts on this.

    Howard

  8. Andrew says:

    Thought it dictated well at first. Crashed after that. On startup. Then not comparable Textexpander, crash, crash. Trained the software very well, then crashed again. 5.0.1 Worked for another two days. Time and effort wasted. Reinstalled updated, trained to my voice and then worked until reboot. Crash at start. 5.0.2. Crash at start again. Time and effort lost again. Unresponsive customer service. Beta software sold at $150 -200 in 2015. They must be the only game in town. Poor Mac users. Shame on Nuance.

  9. Wayne says:

    Another update today, but still plenty of problems, I still can’t dictate into Microsoft Word in places, and Dragon has crashed on me since the update.

  10. Bob says:

    I was a user of the PC version and loved this program. I recently swapped my PC laptop for a Macbook and I was totally surprised at how inferior the Mac version is to the PC version. Can anyone give a brief explanation as to why? Really just curious but would like to know if anyone thinks that the Mac version will catch up anytime soon.

    Thanks

    • Wayne says:

      It’s always lagged behind the PC version ever since it was released. Now that the speech engine is catching up, the software is so buggy it’s a disaster. It’s always been the PC version was first then the mac version was second. I hope that will change.

  11. Julian Pozzi says:

    I can upgrade from the 4.0 version for $50. The reps said that one advantage of the new version is that it can transcribe without a microphone. I have been using the Apple dictate option on my Yosemite laptop. what are the advantages of dragon for Mac versus using the native transcription voice recognition?

  12. Michael Dorer says:

    I am interested in using Dragon for Mac, v5 to dictate text into MS Wordier Mac 2011. Most of my documents are 7-10 pages in length. My question is what is the limit? Is there a limit as to how much may be dictated? A time limit? Character limit? Anything like that?

    Thank you.

    Michael

  13. nurseblogger says:

    Great Review. I’m a Dragon trainer at my hospital and will soon be leaving my position. I’ve come to really enjoy using the software myself and had been looking into buying it for y Mac. Amazon has 4.0 for $50 and 5.0 for $200. I’m used to the lag time being on a network version.
    I’m curious if either version offers the option to “learn from sent emails” or “learn from documents”?? I have found this to immensely increase recognition. Does it allow for importing of vocabularies as well? This feature is similar to “learn” but only words not groupings.

  14. Alan Hughes says:

    I upgraded to version 5 today and by mid-afternoon I was back to 4. I really dislike 5. Why? Lack of the Recognition Window. In version 4 as I dictated I can could individual words or sentences appearing in that window and can spot any errors which I can immediately correct rectify by choosing the option which is correct. In version 5 this disappeared, so you had to ask it to correct something it had erroneously typed, and then check in the status box to see which of the corrections could be right, and then choose it. For me the lack of the Recognition Window was a big disappointment, hence my departure. Also I thought the Status Window was quite ugly, and the sound bar no way near as clear as that in version 4. I’m so glad I was able to reinstall version 4 onto my El Capitan,operating system, despite warnings from the Technical Support department that wouldn’t work, I just regret the few hours I wasted today been tempted to upgrade what is already a fantastic dictation system. At least I got my money back.

  15. Steve M says:

    Thanks Wayne & Alan Hughes for your review and feedback respectively. Just ordered 5.0, will see if I have the same issues as Alan Hughes. Just wondering if the 5.0 will work on Mountain Lion?

  16. Gordon says:

    I’ve had most versions of DragonDictate since they acquired the company from Mac dictate. Now I’ve also purchased version 5, on a clear understanding that they’d addressed many of the problems of the previous products. Unfortunately, this is not true, and many people make comments all over the Internet to that effect. Nuance is a company that seem to dish out an updated version of their product for OS X on a yearly basis, yet still haven’t delivered a bug free version that works consistently and without problem.

    The new version still has many of the same bugs that were in version 4, version 4 didn’t work that well if you didn’t have an American accent. Microsoft’s latest product range for OS X office 2016 still doesn’t work correctly with version 5, even though it suggested that it’s embedded into the program. Most people who use word in the business environment, used to review and track changes section very regularly. But again nuance are failed to get their product working correctly. The ironic situation with nuances products for dictation, is that Windows product does work well, is far superior to the OS X product yet with four versions released by Nuance, one would expect that the programmers would been able to fix these issues and get a consistent product working.

    If I’m asked, I wouldn’t recommend this product to anyone, and perhaps if more people were to tell the truth about this product the company would do something about it fixing it. It’s a real shame writing a comment like this, there you go, what would good if someone at Nuance read this, as when I spoke to their support teams both in Europe and in the USA there far from helpful, almost dismissive at times blaming the individual.

  17. Elaine says:

    I have a current editing project that Dragon would be very helpful for, but I am reluctant to buy it now, considering all the feedback in this report. Any idea when a better version will be availability? Elaine

    • Wayne says:

      Every version seems to have bugs and feels like a piece of PC software. (It’s like running Microsoft Word on your Mac!) But, the recognition is so good, and there’s nothing else that’s anything like it. So I would say it’s less of a matter of ‘When will a better version be available?’ and more a matter of ‘Will speech recognition benefit me enough that I’m willing to put up with the problems.’ Sad but true!

  18. Lance says:

    I decided to check reviews with the new Dragon Dictate. I started 10 years ago with Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Windows XP. Unfortunately I have watched Nuances products degrade substantially over the last two or three years. It’s pretty much a joke, nothing like it was five years ago. Sadly, their technical support has degraded as well. I was using the dictate 4 and upgraded because I had heard that 5 was better, but that proved to be false. Five years ago I praised the product, now I question the integrity of the company.

    • Wayne says:

      Nothing’s changed. Their support has always been terrible. The Macintosh product has always been lagging behind the PC one. Have a look at my reviews over the years and the product has always been crashing and had problems. And yet, the speech recognition is fantastic and there’s no competition so we’re stuck with them!

  19. Lance says:

    I thought you might like to know. I’ve upgraded and do everything that their tech says to do, but following their instructions has only led to things getting worse. This has been going on for awhile but worsened in the last several weeks. I wish that the speech recognition was fantastic. I have for discovered that it works much better without the Internet extensions for both Safari and Firefox that they recommend. The one for Firefox is not even compatible with the latest version of Firefox at this very moment and has not for at least three weeks. Back in September, you recommended waiting. I did, but to no avail. If one needs to become technologically savvy in order to utilize the product, then that defeats the simplistic marketing tactics they use. I would not recommend this product to the average individual.

  20. Jim says:

    This is a very disappointing product. I am a big Dragon fan for well over a decade but this is the worst version I have come across. It is incompatible with Word 2016 which is my main Mac Platform – Dragon causes Word to crash constantly with significant loss of data.
    I have raised it with Dragon support who acknowledge the problem and are sympathetic but cannot say when it will be fixed.

    • Wayne says:

      I agree Jim, in fact I have just ditched Dragon, It was crashing so many times, and have started using the built-in dictation app. Apple have added some really nice features to it and I think pretty soon it’s going to overtake dragon. I can’t help wondering whether Nuance are stopping the development of dragon because Apple are going to buy them out or something. Dragon is going downhill fast and dictation is improving with every release of OS X. With El Capitan it has a fairly good range of commands and you can even at your own. Still no correction though.

  21. Stephen Strum says:

    I was a long-standing PC user going back to the IBM PC Jr; I think that was in the early 1990’s. I am a physician and was blown away with DNS (Dragon Naturally Speaking), and was one of the first users of the original DNS. Astounding was DNS’s ability to learn difficult medical words and bizarre names of people after 1 learning lesson. So speaking the words paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea was a piece of cake for DNS.

    About 2005 I was convinced to switch to Mac. The apps that were wonderful on the PC but crappy on the Mac were DNS and SnagiT, to name the two that come to mind. I tried the upgrade to Dictate and finally realized that for whatever the reason, there was not to be had on the Mac OS the quality of DNS that blew me away on the PC.

    This review by Wayne is excellent; thank you. What is appalling to me as a medical professional that utilizes the computer is that those that stand to gain the most (the company) seem not to get input from the customer (the user). I am considered by AppleCare as an advanced user but I just do not understand why Apple and in this instance Nuance are not getting input from users that need features in the OS or app to enhance their efficacy. Instead, we users end up spending more time with loss of efficiency because many upgrades are actually superficial face lifts. Beauty is skin deep, but ugly is all the way down into the bone. So it is with operating systems and apps.

    Bottom Line: those with something to sell need to listen to the customer.

  22. Lance says:

    Wayne,

    I have been doing a little bit of research concerning the latest on Nuance. I noticed that on Amazon.com, 47% of the reviews were one out of five stars. This is quite indicative of the bigger picture. I cut and pasted these two relevant comments from some of the reviews;

    Nuance is a huge business now. They handle Apple’s SIRI, a lot of health care giants, and universities. The individual user is a detail for them, and a money machine. They will give you zero support and will likely never answer a simple question (“how do I download if your server is crowded?”

    What is worse is the technical and customer support. Like a brain dead teenager these folks refuse to accept ANY accountability. In short they really don’t seem to give a flying **#$ that this software does not work – and good luck getting a refund – they are clearly about the money.

    Back to Lance. My feeling is now that they no longer are interested in those who have spent many on their products over the last 10 years, getting them to where they.

    Lance

    • Noah Pikes says:

      Thanks for your highly informative description about the Dragon setup. It’s exactly what I’ve experienced, in the few months since I was seemingly, obliged to upgrade. I just have to accept a repeated error message every hour or so of use, that closes the software down. So far it starts up again… phew! Dragon 4 was fine, and the presentation much higher quality.

      • Stephen Strum says:

        Noah et al,
        Strange, in the last few weeks I have been finally doing a lot of text messaging and the app on my iphone 6 (Dragon Dictate) does a pretty good job. The major problem is with last names and technical names that are obviously not in the “vocabulary”.
        The dictate app on the iMac using double tap of the function key (fn) does not seem as good as the app on the iphone.

  23. Bill Ulwelling says:

    I got the newest Microsoft Word and the latest Dragon for Mac 5 and things got worse! Word crashes so often with Dragon the pair is worthless. (It helped some to set the Word auto-save feature for every 1 minute, so I didn’t lose many pages per crash.) The two support staffs blamed the other app for the problem.

    • Wayne says:

      Yes I reverted back to the old Office 2011. Still crashes with Dragon though.
      Dragon works well in Pages but not real well in Word.

      • Bill Ulwelling says:

        Thanks, Wayne. Maybe I should get Pages for my Mac. I already have it on my iPad and iPhone. TextEdit works well with Dragon, and I’ve been cutting & pasting TextEdit dictations into my Word documents, but TextEdit seems to have capacity for only a page or two of dictation.

    • Alan Hughes says:

      I use Dragon on my Mac and have done so for years. When Version 5 came out I upgraded, and within a day or so was asking for my money back and rolled back to Version 4. Version 5 was useless in its editing ability. With Version 4 there is a Recognition Window where you can see everything being dictated and immediately make amendments. In version 5 this became very clunky and time-consuming. So I will never upgrade from Version 4
      .

      • Stephen Strum says:

        What is puzzling and at the same time frustrating is that the Dragon Dictation app on the iphone works so darn well with amazing accuracy except for out of the ordinary words and names. I can use that to send text or email on my iphone but when I go to use the dictation mode on my iMac I have a much less satisfactory performance.

      • Alan Hughes says:

        I wouldn’t dream of putting Dragon onto my iPhone. Why should I because the iPhone has the best dictation of all, by a long way. I am dictating using that now, and get astonishing accuracy.

      • Stephen Strum says:

        The app I am using is called Dragon and its icon is green. It was free. I have tried using the dictation within the Messages app that comes with the iphone but it does not work for me.
        Please explain exactly what app you are talking about. And how can you use your iphone to dictate your reply to this forum? I sincerely want to learn from you about how to do this.
        Thanks Alan.
        Stephen

      • Alan Hughes says:

        It is simple. There is a microphone symbol to the left hand side of the space bar. Hit that and you start dictating. Apparently the sound bites go to Apple’s computers, I’ll be in Cupertino, where it is interrogated, converted into text by some huge machines they have, and back it comes as a text.

      • Wayne says:

        Alan we are talking about on a computer, I think you are talking about an iPhone or iPad.

      • Stephen Strum says:

        Alan, interaction between people, can bring a sense of satisfaction to the giver and the receiver when the modus operandi is one of positivity. And some people communicate clearly and others lack that ability. There are multiple issues here:
        In talking about an iMac, or Apple Laptop, it is clear that there is no microphone key other than the pressing of the function key (fn) twice.
        On the iPhone, yes, I have used that dictation feature when doing emails. It fails if you try to dictate in the “To” and “Subject” fields. It is good, not excellent, in the text body. But the Dragon dictation app (v 2.0.28) for the iphone gives the user the option to send via email, text message, Twitter or Facebook, or simply to copy. In my experience, it is superior to the more restricted email dictation feature on the iPhone. It is free & despite the mediocre reviews works incredibly well, reminiscent of Dragon Naturally Speaking for the PC. But nothing I have found on the iMac or laptops comes remotely close.

      • Alan Hughes says:

        Did you not see my previous post? Simply hit the microphone symbol immediately to the left of the on the spsce bar on the standard Apple keyboard which appears when you want to type anything.

    • Jenn Noten says:

      Me too. It’s great when it works but it crashes every couple of minutes. After the latest update, it worked for a whole day! I was so excited! Sad. Baseline expectation for ANY program, but especially one with this hefty price tag, is that it works.

      • Jim says:

        And STILL not a word from Dragon as to when this major compatibility issue will be fixed…..
        Are we all supposed to wait until Dragon 6 and then cross our fingers?

  24. Noah Dennis Pikes says:

    Terrible behaviour by Dragon 5.4 after dictating a transcript from an improvised video talk I’d given into WORD for Mac 2011 14.5.7. It behaved well enough for nearly an hour, then suddenly WORD disappeared and all my text with it. No trace of the document anywhere, nor the backup. Just one of those pages of “stuff” being sent to Apple!

    Has anyone else experienced this? Could it be the result of mixing typing some words or phrases here and there into the dictated text?

    • Wayne says:

      Dragon crashed a lot, but you usually don’t lose the data as it’s in the word processing doc. I dictate into Apple Pages so I can’t comment on Word crashing. But if you are dictating into Microsoft Word (or even typing) without some kind of autosave you are asking for trouble!

      • M.C. says:

        I have experienced the same problem as Noah. I was upgraded to Word 2016 which was unstable with Dragon, and switched back to Office 2011 because it was so bad. Word 2011 crashed frequently despite 1 minute autosaves and backup copy, which did not work unless I manually saved after practically every sentence along the way. The document would crash without warning, try to reopen, crash again and the ominous error message would pop up. No back up, no saved copy, the whole document disappeared.

        I finally was forced to go to upgrade to Office 2016 again and compatibility errors with OSIRIX which I use to import reports have forced me to switch to TextEdit which seems to work more smoothly in the short time I have used it.

        However, when importing auto-text, it double spaces after every hard return. Any recommendations?

  25. Noah Dennis Pikes says:

    Finally I found advice recommending the use of DragonPad under Help near the bottom of the Dragon App icon on the Safari menu bar. This works very well and swiftly, but very much like Notes or TextEdit with no formatting whatsoever. But it gets the speaking into dictation effectively and without closing down. For me that’s the basics I needed.
    But for lawyers and others with honed skills in dictating formatting etc, that must not be at all satisfactory.

    • Jim says:

      Yes – there’s no doubt that the app works with Dragon Pad and Pages. But Dragon has always been about functionality – productivity. For it to be useless with the single largest platform for print which dwarfs all others – Microsoft Word – is a tragedy.
      And it repeats itself as farce when it has gone this long without remedy,

  26. I’m a writer. I bought Dragon 10 years ago and never used it. Now I’m thinking of buying it again for my MacBook Air. I’m using Microsoft Word for 2011. Would you advise not buying it, or buying an older version like Dragon 2014? Appreciate any advice.

    • Wayne says:

      I’d wait till the next version of Dragon is released. Or Apple might even incorporate good speech recognition into OSX before Dragon get their version working.

      Work and Dragon crash a lot when they are run together.

      But if you can’t wait, yes an older version of Dragon and an older version of Word will be more stable in my experience.
      I’d go for version 4 of Dragon:

      http://macintoshhowto.com/dragon/dragondictate-version-4-review.html

      • Stephen Strum says:

        What astounds me is how incredible DNS (Dragon Naturally Speaking) was right out of the box from the very beginning of this app for WINDOWS. It was one of the few apps that I missed after leaving the crazy world of Microsoft for the more evolved world of Apple. Dragon (Dictate) on the iPhone is quite excellent but the so-called dedicated Dragon for the Mac desktop is absurd. I could not see using any version of Dragon on a Mac other than the iPhone.

      • Wayne, Thanks, appreciate it, Jim

    • Jim Toohey says:

      Wouldn’t touch it if you plan to use it with Mac Word. Completely incompatible. No advice when this major problem is to be rectified

      • Noah Pikes says:

        I have an iMac OS El Capitan, also using WORD 2011 for MAC, with recent updates. I used Dragon 4 till a year or so ago, and after a time of learning how, found it reliable and useful. Then came what was announced as a major update and improvement to Dragon 5. Many, including myself, have found this version a big letdown in the number of crashes, and odd behaviours. Also in the brevity of guidance and training. And the initial lack of accessible support. However, sigh – having persisted, with pauses, and 3 updates I think, I’m finding it behaving better. I’ve not found it incompatible with WORD 2011, and am delighted to have recently used it to transcribe a document that I dictated in a non-desk situation. I simply had to slide the sound file into the specified box that appears when choosing “Transcription Mode” and telling it to transcribe into a new WORD doc. and it did just that!
        The doc needs some editing, but that’s because I’ve not mastered many of the layout and related commands.

      • Jim Toohey says:

        I could certainly revert to an earlier version of Word – the crashes I and so many others are experiencing is with Word 2016 – but why should I?
        My expectation is that a product with such a superb reputation as Dragon should be compatible with the latest most widely used document program.

  27. Eileen Doegg says:

    I am running Dragon for mac 5 with word 2011 for mac. I bought Dragon specially for a specific project and voice recognition is good, but the fundamental flaw is the one referred to above — despite saving as a I go along the word doc crashes frequently and text is lost and there is no autosave to be found. It is a disaster and has wasted hours and hours of my life over the last few days. Can anyone say if I might be better off using Pages instead of Word 2011 — is that more stable?

    • Eileen Doegg says:

      I forgot to mention (see above post) I upgraded to El Capitan just before buying the Dragon for mac 5. Am I right that this might be the main reason for the crashes, and that Yosemite is more stable. Any views gratefully received.

      • Wayne says:

        No it’s not El Capitan, it’s definitely Dragon 5 that causes the crashes. I had Yosemite and it was crashing all the time. I did a completely fresh install of El Capitan and I found that Dragon ran slightly better on El Capitan than Yosemite. The main culprit is Word. Word 2016 and Word 2011 are both unstable with Dragon.

      • Eileen Doegg says:

        Thank you very much for your views. I will have a go with pages. It is easy enough to convert after or even block copy into a separate word doc. Best wishes

    • Wayne says:

      Pages is DEFINITELY more stable. Use Pages for sure.

    • Kevin says:

      Try Open Office (Free) or Neo Office (Inexpensive). These do not crash with Dragon and do not have the problem of introduced multiple spaces that Pages has.

      • Jim says:

        Unbelievable – as in literally beyond comprehension. Dragon 6 crashes in Mac Word more often and quickly than Dragon 5. It also crashes in Outlook which Dragon 5 did not do. How a new version could be released without addressing the critical productivity and compatibility issue is jaw dropping. I am about to test it in Pages which was my default with Dragon 5 however it is a less than optimal solution.

      • Kevin says:

        I gave up with Word and Pages. Even Open Office and Neo Office have their problems. I tried to use Dragon Pad and transfer my work one page at a time.
        .
        .
        .
        It worked once, since then Dragon Dictate crashes whenever I attempt to transfer work from their own app!
        They have not yet replied to my request for help – apart from an automatic reply that advised me I may be charged for technical assistance.

  28. Jon says:

    While this is far from a satisfactory solution, I have found that the biggest problem is the length of the document. Therefore, if I dictate one page at a time and then paste it onto a master document, then it seems a lot less likely to crash. Obviously this is unacceptable, but as a workaround at least it makes it possible to use Dragon and Word.

    • Stephen Strum says:

      I have Word for Mac 2011 on my iMac but I use NeoOffice most of the time. Prior comments noted that Dragon for Mac (new version) worked “flawlessly” for OpenOffice. It should therefore work for NeoOffice.

      I have tried over the past few years to use Dragon Dictate for the Mac (or whatever the name du jour is) with major frustration.

      Has anyone tried the new Dictate app using NeoOffice. Note that NeoOffice app is supposed to be the preferred app over OpenOffice for Mac users.

      Perhaps if we had confirmation that Dragon Dictate worked really well in NeoOffice I might be tempted to again download and try this.

  29. Noah Pikes says:

    I’ve also experienced loss of dictated text into WORD 2011 on El Capitan. But only once in the last 12 hours or so. It had happened several times before that and left me utterly flabbergasted, with no alternative to respeak it all again, making interim saves of the latest paragraph and pasting it myself into a separate WORD doc.
    I’ve also had the pleasant surprise of making several transcriptions from a my own spoken content onto an mp3 recorder, transferring the file to iMac then finding it followed by sliding it onto the mini-screen provided in the Dragon control box when you choose Transcription Mode on the menu list. If you know the commands well enough you can dictate it all first onto mp3, then have that be written out in a quite short time.

    • Stephen Strum says:

      I have read the recent comments on Dragon for Mac v 5.0 and these were sufficient to wet my curiosity. However, reading some of the reviews left me cold, with some obvious “bugs” that are too flagrant and arise too often to make this an un-aggravating experience. For me, an app is to enhance my enjoyment of using the computer and upgrade my efficiency. Considering how pleased I was with Dragon Naturally Speaking for the PC back in the early 90’s, it astounds me that Nuance still has not got it’s act together for Mac users. So, after reading this review at: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3004940/desktop-apps/dragon-for-mac-5-despite-bugs-an-upgrade-worth-making.html I am maintaining an “I don’t want the pain anymore” lyric. Maybe, one day, Nuance will get what they did for the PC done for the Mac. But right now, assuming the reviews are not overstated, I will continue to trod on with my fingers, and not my voice.

  30. Eileen Doegg says:

    After struggling with the combo I mentioned above (El Captain and word for Mac 2011–I didn’t dare use the 2016 version after comments above) with the key issues of crashes frequently followed by a lost doc even though I had auto save on and manually saved it, I have given up. I also had the problem of watching as my hard won dictated text suddenly started being deleted and my machine was frozen at the time and then it crashed and agree with someone above that I assume I had inadvertently said something the programme interpreted as meaning “delete”. For well over £100 this is quite ridiculous. I was within my 30 days trial period and when I rang to cancel the person who accepted my cancellation (without quibble) said there were quite a few Mac users who rejected within the 30 day period. Hope this is helpful to prospective users.

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