Jul 28

[This article is now 4 years old. For a review of the latest version of Dragon click here.]

I’ve been waiting for almost 10 years for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh!  And finally it’s here –  Dragon Dictate.


Despite being a long time Apple user user, in 1999 I purchased a PC (yes that’s right!) just to run Dragon Naturally Speaking. I would dictate to the PC and then copy files to my Mac on a thumb drive!
Dragon Naturally Speaking was by far the best voice recognition software – but sadly it was not available for the Apple platform.

Not long after that, IBM releasedViavoice for the Mac. Viavoice wasn’t as good as Dragon Naturally Speaking but it did the job (and meant I could get rid of the PC!)  I used ViaVoice for the next 6 years.

So personally it’s been a 10 year wait  for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh – but finally it’s here! After using Macspeech Dictate since it’s release 2 years ago,  I can say Macspeech Dictate is far and away the best dictation software for the Mac. It is now up to version 2.0 which has been renamed ‘Dragon Dictate’.

‘At the core of MacSpeech Dictate is the world-renowned speech recognition engine, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.’

For those who have been limping along with iListen or Via Voice – you won’t believe the difference! The latest version – Dragon Dictate 2.0 – achieves almost full accuracy with just 5-6 minutes of training.

There are a few (small) weaknesses, the main one being that the correction and editing is not quite as good as with the PC version.  With Dragon Naturally Speaking  if I retrained a word it would never mistake it again.  Not so with Dragon Dictate.  There must be some difference between the way Dragon Naturally Speaking and Macspeech Dictate handle the retraining of words. Dragon Dictate is in my opinion still slightly behind the PC version.

That said,  it’s a fantastic product. I use it every day,  and I’d totally recommend that you try it out if you do a lot of typing or transcription work.  At the very least find a friend who has a copy and give it a trial! That’s what I did and I was hooked.

If you live in the USA it is available directly from Nuance (Macspeech):

Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0


Click here to go to the Official Dragon site.

There is a ‘download only’ option which is great for international customers but you’ll need to find your own microphone.

Note to Australian Customers: you don’t need to select the ‘international language version’,  just the normal US version comes with Australian and UK speech files.

STOP PRESS:  I’ve made some videos here.

Other posts on Speech recognition:


85 Responses to “Dragon Naturally Speaking arrives on the Macintosh!”

  1. I have using this software in windows for many of my writing work, it makes my work so easy and fast and It’s the best speech to text recognition software I have ever used.. Its great to hear that it’s now in Mac too.

  2. sherrie says:

    My mom is elderly and unable to type lately. She is a writer and she also loves to use her email, facebook, etc.
    Will the Dragon for Mac program basically run her computer for her or is it mainly for text? Thanks.

    • Wayne says:

      I personally think it’s not easy to use to control your computer, more for just speaking text. You can control your computer with it but it’s a bit complicated.

  3. Huigh says:

    Question probably clearly indicates the level of my ignorance: If I have Siri, why would I buy Dragon Dictate?

    • Wayne says:

      The response of dictate is almost instant. Siri takes 3 or 4 seconds. dictate adapts to your voice and gets more accurate. Siri good for simple commands. Dictate good for letters, talks etc!

  4. Emily says:

    Please, someone, I beseech you, tell me how to:

    1. Delete a word immediately after typing it
    2. Return to end of line after selecting a word and making a correction.

    I feel like I can do everything else, but these two very basic maneuvers are eluding me, and making me cry it frustration DELETE DELETE NO GO BACK I MEAN DELETE BACKSPACE ARGH!!

    • Wayne says:

      1. Delete a word immediately after typing it

      Say ‘scratch that’ to delete the last phrase you spoke

      2. Return to end of line after selecting a word and making a correction.
      IT should do it automatically of you correct by saying ‘correct xxxx’
      otherwise try ‘go to end’

  5. Dragon Naturally Speaking is awesome, and I was in the same position as you (but i did not purchase a pc! lol). But in all seriousness, this product is great, useful, and helps especially for times when you have loads of articles to complete or essays in college.

  6. I have been using dragon naturally speaking PC Windows version for about 7 years and I am very satisfied with the performance. I purchased the Dragon Dictate 2 for my Mac air 11inch, hoping for a better user experience, but sadly it is not up to expectations. The editing and training modules are not very up to date or non existent for Mac version. If you plan to purchase Dragon naturally speaking I suggest go for the windows version. It has been established for a long time, have released several versions, with new up dates and by far the best dictation software. First time users might get a good feel from Dictate 2 for Mac, as it does the job, but if you have used the windows version you might be in for a disappointment.

    • Wayne says:

      Thanks Thomas. My impression is that the Mac version is behind the PC version, maybe by a year or two. It’s always improving, as is the PC version. Mac is now up to version 3. So if you are after the BEST POSSIBLE speech recognition, yes I’d say the PC version is better. But if you are a Mac user after speech recognition for your mac, the mac version and it is very usable.

  7. Jen says:

    I don’t understand what the difference is between the Naturally Speaking and the Dictate? The Naturally Speaking 12 says it can be used on a Mac…

    • Wayne says:

      Naturally Speaking is PC software. Dragon Dictate is Mac software. Any PC software (e.g. Naturally Speaking) can be run on a mac by installing Microsoft Windows using parallels or bootcamp, but it’s a pain to do it that way!

  8. […] Here’s a review of the software and the various software/headset bundles from Macintosh How To: http://macintoshhowto.com/software/usable-speech-recognition-arrives-on-the-m… […]

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