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Some Tips For Dragon Dictation

image As a former long-time user of Dragon Naturally Speaking for the PC, I was eager to see if Dragon Dictation would include the same command syntax.  Largely, it has.   Here are some tips and a quick reference guide to some of the helpful things you can say during your dictation.


Cap to capitalize a word: ‘I was shopping at cap Target"

Caps On for titles: "I was reading caps on The Washington Post"

All Caps to capitalize the next word: "Can we go now all caps PLEASE"

All Caps On and All Caps Off are Caps Lock: "This is all caps on NOT A JOKE all caps off so stop playing"

No Caps, No Caps On, and No Caps Off are the exact opposite of the above: "I like Amy and no caps amy"

Space Bar not only inserts a space, but can be used to prevent a hyphen in normally hyphenated words: ‘A long-lasting or long space bar lasting peace. ‘

No Space for words you want together: ‘Surf on the World no space Wide no space Web ‘ 

No Space On & No Space Off for words you want together: ‘I was running no space on reallyreallyfast no space off the entire time ‘

New Line starts the following text on a new line, and New Paragraph begins a new paragraph (effectively 1 and 2 carriage returns, respectively).



Say punctuation: period  comma  apostrophe  open-parenthesis  close-parenthesis  asterisk   open quote   close quote.   Note that you do not need to say apostrophe for possessive names such as ‘Joe ‘s ‘.

There is a difference between a hyphen — like this — and a dash-like this.  Similarly, point (in numbers) and period have spacing differences. 

Special symbols “ note that many of these will automatically be placed in context, such as the dollar, cent, degree, percent, and at signs:

  • % – percent sign
  • © “ copyright sign
  • ® – registered sign
  • § – section sign
  • $ – dollar sign
  • “ cent sign
  • ° – degree sign
  • ^ – caret
  • @ – at sign
  • £ “ pound sterling sign
  • # “ pound sign

Note: You must use cent sign explicitly.  Saying ‘The price is fifty three cents ‘ will yield ‘The price is $.53 ‘.   Say ‘The price is fifty three cent sign ‘.

Email addresses should generally be prefaced with no caps on; most common domains (such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc) are recognized, but you may have to spell others. 

Saying ‘www ‘ will result in the formatting of a URL: ‘isource.com/ ‘.  Oddly, unlike the desktop version, saying ‘http ‘ does not do the same thing in my testing.  I got ‘HDTV ‘ instead.

Hopefully this quick reference will help you make the most of Dragon Dictation.   Happy dictating!

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  • Very helpful, Joe. Thanks!

  • Tom

    Thanks for this.

    But what about the app's behavior of sending contact data (at least the names of your contacts) to the company?
    There are so many people very euphoric about this software and only some did recognize this behavior.
    I think this has to be made clear for everybody.

    • We discussed this in the comments of the post announcing the app. Short version, it's the names only, it is apparently done for recognition purposes, and the EULA prohibits contacting your contacts or giving the data out.

      • Tom

        thanks again. then let’s hope for the best πŸ˜‰

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  • Fantastic tips! Thanks for posting this. This will be very useful, and I'm finding this program to be quite amazing, and works so much better then I would have expected.

  • How do you stop it putting Victorian. when you want and say Victorian Period?

    • Presumably you can spell "period" – although I won't have a chance to test this until later.

      • I just tried saying "Victorian period" and it worked fine. In fact, I tried, "She ushered in the Victorian period period" and it gave me "She ushered in the Victorian period."

  • Jeremy

    so if i want to spell a word out, can I just say the letters or should I say “no space on” B-L-O-G “no space off”?

    • Actually, Dragon seems to capitalize spelled words, so use "no caps on". You don't need "no space on" for spelled letters, just words you want to run together that normally would be separated by spaces.

      • Joel L.

        Spelling Tip – I was having trouble with my company's name: "NVision". Saying "N" spelled "in". I tried the NATO phonetic alphabet which worked great: (All CAPS) november victor (NO SPACE)(NO CAPS) india sierra oscar november

        This worked perfectly. It also does not seem necessary to say "on" or "off" after formatting commands. In fact it often seemed to spell "on". Great guide. Great app.

  • This APP is IMO the best non jailbroken APP of ’09. Last night I used the word degrees and it automatically added the proper symbol after the number. I have tried whispering and talking normal with my 2-yr old making noise in the background and it still has yet to make an error.

  • Gunnar Evermann

    This guide is awesome! I didn't know about most of these commands…. and I am one of the developers who built the iPhone app. πŸ™‚ We all started playing with these commands here in the office. ALL CAPS ON is my favourite.


    • Dan

      Gunnar – how do you spell out names. how do you get it to recognize that you want numerals and spelled numbers?


    • BOB

      Nice job with the app!

  • Julia

    Thanks for these tips. This make an awesome application even more awesome.

  • Michael Ross

    Come on, why not working for the Touch!?!?!?!? Let’s see some solidarity here, people… I’ve got a microphone for my Touch and already use it for voice dictation, so why can’t this app run on the Touch as well?

    • Akcelia

      Works fine on my Touch, second generation. Just need the headphones with the microphone built in.

  • s muhlberger

    At least with the desktop version you need only say "paren."

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  • So how do you actually get the word "period" into your sentences? The app interprets them into punctuation.

    • Depends on the context. In places where Dragon determines that the sentence is incomplete, it will use the word. If it determines that the sentence is complete, it will use the punctuation. As I mentioned above, I was able to dictate a sentence including "Victorian Period." and it got the two "periods" correct. You can always use "no-caps-on p e r i o d no-caps-off" if you need to force it.

  • Peter

    Oh it also dose Smile Face!

  • Mirmark


    Any way to force a return? I tried "return," "paragraph," and "para" and none of them seemed to do the trick.

    Once I accustomize to the syntax, this will be a big timesaver!

  • Yes, as noted above:

    "New Line" starts the following text on a new line, and "New Paragraph" begins a new paragraph (effectively 1 and 2 carriage returns, respectively).

  • Bevx

    I’m loving this app! As Peter mentioned above, smileys seem to be available, too… So far, I’ve had luck with “smiley”, “frowny”, and “winky”… Anyone else find any other hidden goodies?

  • w3ph

    Fantastic app – two requests for the next upgrade: a) add a progress bar so you can tell when your 30 seconds of buffer time is about up, and b) save the buffer so as to handle those cases where the server couldn't be contacted.

  • THANK YOU! for the helpful comments….Now that the Version 1.1 has the option to NOT upload contact names I feel more comfortable about using this app. I have been a years long user of Dragon Dictate and Naturally Speaking and I welcome this much more portable and connected use of the iPhone. I will continue to use my SONY recorder for longer dictations that I need more sophistocated "user specific" accuracy….but this app is FANTASTIC and your post JOE gives me just the reminders I need to sucessfully adapt to this new platform! THANKS AGAIN JOE!

    • No, thank you for the kind words and for being a part of our little family here…

  • Thanks to all for the tips. The use of the NATO alphabet has been immensely helpful. I often us bullet points in my dictation. Has any figured out a way to create these?

  • I discovered that, when I want Dragon to type a number rather than spelling it out, I can say, "Numeral 5", e.g. and I'll get a "5" rather than "five", but I haven't figured out how to change it back to the words after having gotten it to type the number. … any ideas?

  • Lou

    Anyone know how to get it to delete the last word (or more) if you realize you've mis-spoken? I tried "scratch that," which works with the regular Dragon system, but it seems not to work on the app (it actually typed "scratch that" instead).

  • Adrian

    This link is for Dragon Naturally Speaking 10, but the syntax commands seem to work (it does Roman Numerals!)

  • Wall14gm

    How about quotation marks?

    • HJR

      Say "begin quote" and "end quote."

  • shall

    can you reply to an email with this app without starting a new email?

  • jbaron

    "All Caps On" only uses all caps on the next word, and then it automatically goes back to regular text. Is there something else I need to do to get All Caps On to apply to more than just one word? Is this a bug?

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  • Bob

    Hi Using Dragon Search/Dicatation on a Touch. In Dication you can and Letter/numbers with Phoentics and the Numberal command. Doesn't work in the search application. Not many of these commands do. Any tricks for the search app?

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  • David Knapp

    This is a supremely helpful (and very clear) guide—especially when one takes note of the NATO spelled-out-alphabet tip Joel L. gave Jeremy. The app itself is tremendous, but I really can't figure out why Nuance left it for justanotheriphoneblog to tell us how to use it. One small additional tip: for me—inexplicably—accuracy increases when I speak fast and without overemphasising enunciation. I get the best results by thinking a paragraph through before I speak—often fifty words without one error. Changing your speaking speed while you try to figure out what's next is a fecund source of errors.

  • /guy

    i noticed by accident that if i used the modern phonetic alphabet (golf tango delta alfa) it uses the letters instead of the words. way cool! i see that someone already mentioned that though. sorry.

    for numbers it has worked perfectly by using 5, 9, 2, 5 for example which come out 5925. fifty-nine-twenty-five doesn't work though. also, three dot zero four returns 3.04.

    i swear i tried both new line and new paragraph and neither one worked, but i'll try again. and i never would have guessed 'space bar'. i said 'space' until i was blue in the face and never got one!


  • PVC

    I believe your instructions for hyphen and dash should be reversed.

  • “Period” command does not work, I’ve tried a million ways of saying it and spacing it with the dictation I do. Disappointing.

    • scarthman

      Try "full stop"

    • scarthman

      Also could switch settings to USA English as UK English appears to be the default


  • Has anyone found a way to record phone calls with Dragon?

  • John Berry

    Simply, say "full stop".

  • John Berry

    Well, yes, of course you can.

  • john berry

    Sorry, but it works almost perfectly. What you mean is that you cannot get it to work!

  • James T

    For those struggling to get a period: say 'full stop'

  • OMG this has made blogging so much easier thanks for all the tips.

  • Jeff L

    I would like to see "bullet point" (•) added to the punctuation.

  • this has mad my life so much easier when it comes to blogging!!

  • Henry Moseley

    Works great. I use iphone for mail all the time BUT when I try to share the output of Dragon Dictation it does fine posting to twitter etc but it sez I’ve got to set up an email account first. Where do I set up this duplicate account?

  • jane A GRAMLICH

    Thank you so much. I am a beginner. And this is my first day!

  • Dov

    Is there any way to use this app to dictate into other apps – say pages or Yahoo Messenger?

  • Jie-Ming

    Do you know how to get * in the text?

    • Mallory

      say “asterisk”

  • Les Pock

    Following the formatting instructions (at least those I had initially for the iPhone), when preceding a word with “Cap”, the entire dictation comes back blank. I’ve noticed that others (but not everyone) also have that problem. What is known about that? Obviously, I’ve of course uninstalled and re-installed, and even reset the entire phone to factory “out-of-the- box”, and then installed Dragon again, but it still does it. I even had a reason to replace the phone with a new one, but it still does it!

  • Lorrie

    So if they collect the names of our contacts shouldn’t you be able to say “SMS to Josh” then speak the text? Can’t figure out how to populate the collected sounds into a specific text message string. It always starts a new message. Any help?

  • Johnny

    None of the “caps” commands work for me

  • Jim

    I can not get saying space bar to ever give me a space. I always get it writing out spacebar. So if you want to spell out something it would not recognize, how do you get spaces around it? I wonder if they have taken spacebar out of its commands?

  • Brian2118

    Great app. I dictate work notes on my way home. But…The “cap” command seems to wipe out the dictation. “I shop at [“cap”] target” produces nothing. “I shop at target” produces “I shop at target”

  • Tara

    if i say the word ‘cut’+something (not as a command, but as a dictation) the program cursor often goes racing back through my document and then performs some action that i didn’t want and i can’t seem to successfully undo. then when i go back to what i was doing, it inserts a letter IN FRONT of the cursor, and it keeps doing that, no matter if i erase it, go to a new line, etc. the only solution seems to be to close out of dragon and re-open. does anyone know how to deal with this process? ‘undo action’ may accomplish part of the undoing, but not all of it.

  • Emmett

    On iPhone 4 … on formatting only “new line” works (none of the caps functions, e.g., seem to work). On Punctuation, the only one that doesnt seem to work is pound sign.

    I ran it through all the examples above.

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  • Emmett

    On iphone 4, if you say “smiley face” … it gives you one!

  • Jamie

    I would love to use Dragon Dictation to make a grocery list or To-Do-List AS I think of the ITEMS. PROBLEM: If I list one or two items and want to RETURN to THAT list later to add another item … I can’t get BACK to the original list if I have used my phone for anything else since I began the list.

    Is there a WAY? Please tell me there is….then I would ADORE this app!!

  • Ken

    This article doesn’t display in the mobile layout for me anymore. Is it something I did? If not, can we please have it in the mobile layout again? Thanks!

  • Karen

    This app is the best I have come across. I’ve mastered most things that I need, but anyone know how to make a kiss (lower case x)? If I say kiss, it puts it in full. If I say x, it gives me a capital X. Thanks xxx

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  • Rusty

    Caps on/caps off & All Caps on/all caps off no longer work. When I dictate those commands now it just shows up blank-as if I said nothing. I’ve used this app for every text I’ve ever sent from my iPhone since I got this app, but not now, since it hasn’t been working properly. Please fix this with next update?

  • Rusty

    Btw, the “CAPS” commands used to work great, up until the last time I updated.

  • George

    How can I dictate a longer document. It always stops before I’m finished.

  • Beth Leatherman

    Thank you so much! I haven’t been using DD because I didn’t know the commands and had to edit everything. The app should provide a list!

  • @George: If it stops, let it process, then just hit the record/dictate button again and keep on speaking. Works for me. Love this app.

  • Jennifer St. John

    All of the commands using capital letters and numbers used to work for me. After an update they stopped working. I actually contacted them and the said it was a known problem and would be fixed “in several months.” Unfortunatley this was about 5 months ago. Does anyone have any updates on this?

  • One quibble: the way I learned it (and, as I recall, in Associated Press style), the nomenclature of dash and hyphen are the opposite of what is posted here: the hyphen is the smaller character and functions as a joiner and the dash is the larger character and functions as a separator. (Forgive the run-on sentence!) FWIW.

  • Hedda Ekstrom

    Anyone who knows the Norwegian command for New Paragraph?
    I am working my way throu all commands in Norwegian and trying to make a list to publish, but I can’t make i a new pargraph.
    This will be a great app for dyslexic people in Norwegian too.

  • Alex

    how do you toggle the NATO phonetic alphabet in the app? when i said “november victor india sierra oscar november” it listed those words, not the leading letters.

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  • mary block

    You sound like you know a lot, or maybe users on your blogs do.

    I want to train a 9 year old with special needs to use dragon. The program is not picking up his voice. It seems that everything is working because it will pick up mine.

    I’ve set him up for more volume, e.g. posture, etc.

    Any suggestions. Does the system need a different type of microphone. His voice is rather soft and slightly high.

    • I have had this same problem with children. It seems to be the highness and possibly the quietness of the voice. Try having him “SHOUT like a bear/monster”.
      I do Assistive Technology assessments to determine what technology is available to people with disabilities for their particular goal at the non-profit EmpowerTech in Los Angeles.

  • Barbara

    How do I italicize or underline?
    Is there a way to compose a text or email within dragon without choosing SMS or email and then having to manually type in addresses?

  • HTJ

    I have had my iPhone 4 for 3 months, and one of the first apps I got for it was Dragon Dictation. I frequently use it on my 30 to 45 minute commute to and from work. A headset/boom mic is a must. I only found out about the voice commands for this app this week.

    Some of the above commands work on my phone, some do not. I am not sure if this is because of the iOS, DD version, carrier, or what.

    I have to agree with some of the posts above. There are times with the app is not able to process what has been spoken. I would also recommend that the buffer be saved also for reprocessing.

    I have also noticed that if while dictating and I get a text or or phone call, that what ever work I had is wiped out, gone, not saved. Very frustrating. Once again, I would suggest that what ever has been completed, and what ever has been recorded, be saved to a file and reprocessed later.

    Excellent application. Keep the good work up.


  • Jslayne

    I am an accounting college professor looking for a way to “speak” what I want to write on the board. Dragon works remarkably well. Is there a way to place a tab inbetween words? Or place words right- or left-justified?

    • paul

      Try saying “tab key”. It seemed to work for me, although it put in a character other than the tab! A search and replace in Word took care of that!

  • I use Dragon when typing reports in my Private Investigation Business. I love the program and it saves me tons of time. On at least a few occasions now the program has hung – seems to happen when it gets confused about certain terms,i.e., like square feet and it wants to write feet2 as though it is an algebraic number. Then it will freeze. After the freeze I lose my work. Any suggestions or ideas why this happens?

    • Munkypoop99

      You are controlling it faster than it can keep up. Go to the Dragon tools and under options and change the bar that you can move it to faster or more accurate. Move it to closer to the faster part and it will keep up more and not freeze as much

  • Mallory

    If I leave the app, is there a way to go back and retrieve everything I just dictated before I left?

  • William Groff

    When I tap on DONE, where does the document go? Is my only choice to send it to another source? Also, once I send it, how do I delete the document from Dragon?

  • Michel

    I had created a personalized command in Outlook I called it “done”. I couldn’t find my way back to it to modify it the way I like. please advise me on the steps on how can I get back to my command and adjust it accordingly.

    Thanks a lot

  • LM

    Does anyone know if there is a command to create a list, instead of having to keep saying “new line” over and over?

  • Lisa

    I just started using this app today. I also would like to know how to save the document to go back in to edit it. So far I really like this app. I did a few “tests” and once I e-mailed them to myself, I could not find the dictation I just did to edit it. Any help would be great.

  • Bob

    The DD on my myTouch 4G from T-Mobile has an annoying feature right now, it puts a space after a word I speak so that if I say “open the door comma please” into DD, it types: “open the door , please”… which messes up the look of the phrase. Is there any way to stop this? THANKS!

  • Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • Munkypoop99

    Just reading over everything… And as far as Dragon speak goes. I upgraded from Dragon professional 11.5 and went to premium 12 and it works really well. Right out of the box and reading your initial first story, it was already more accurate than the previous version where I read every story. And there are more available options for it. I use it because I am paralyzed and have to use my voice to control everything I do on the computer. I’m very pleased with it. And if you have a problem, they have a new tutorial with either text based solutions or WebCam solutions to actually show you. I’m not an employee or anything, it just helps me so hopefully it will help others.

  • Munkypoop99

    I was wondering… Are there any cellular phones that are controlled by voice, either with Dragon or something. I know you can control phone calls and text messages. But what about the other Apps on the phone? Anything or a phone that has something like Dragon where you can control and use every single thing on the phone by using only your voice?

  • Thanks for the great information. I really needed these tips.

  • Sally

    Thanks for this. When I dictate dragon notes I can’t see what I am typing until I finish. Is this what you’d expect? I’m used to dragon naturally speaking for the PC where you can see what you are writing.