Yes, you read correctly. This week on the #52WeeksOfScrivener series, we’re diving into dictation. Guys, this is week 36 and I’ll be honest, I’m having to dig deep here to keep it fresh. But as I had hoped, I’m actually learning a few new tricks myself. Here’s what I’ve discovered about Scrivener dictation.
First, some technicalities. To start using dictation, go to Edit -> Start Dictation (it’s WAY down at the bottom of the drop down menu). Or you can push the fn key on your keyboard twice.
The first time you do, you’ll get a little pop-up like this:
Using Enhanced Dictation has some perks, the biggest one being that the program will do the actual dictation which means you can do it offline, but you do have to download the extra software.
If you’re feeling like you don’t want to download the extra 1.2 Gigs of material and unclick that little box, you’ll get this pop-up when you click OK:
Personally, I like to be able to work off line AND I’m not wild about the names of all my contacts being shared with Apple. So I went ahead and canceled out of this, checked the box to use Enhanced Dictation and waited for my computer to download the 1.2 Gigs.
It’s actually pretty awesome. When you hit the fn button twice, this little microphone icon pops up.
I played around with it a little and I could see how it could be super useful for first drafts, especially if you have a solid outline and know where you’re going.
A few things I’ve noticed:
- Like any dictation software, you have to say punctuation and “new paragraph” when you want it.
- It doesn’t seem to recognize when I say “quote” or “comma” so I will definitely have to do a careful edit of anything I dictate.
- It’s not perfect, but if it gets a word wrong I can just hit (or say) delete and it allows me to back up easily.
- You can stop dictating by hitting the fn button twice again. But it also automatically stops if you click to another application, for instance your web browser.
As A Research Tool
For me, the idea of having to go back through my manuscript and do the kind of edit that would be required after dictating a few thousand words just sounds exhausting. However, I am really excited about using it for research purposes.
I often read something in a book and decide I want to save it somehow to reference later. My solution so far has been to take a photo of the page and import that photo, but it’s kind of tedious, and the files are huge unless I take the time to shrink them, and sometimes it’s just a sentence or two that I want to grab.
I could totally see opening a new file in a research folder and just dictating the material right into that file. Punctation isn’t important, and I could collect many snippets like this without having to import a bunch of cumbersome photos. Then I just name that file with the book’s title so I can easily find the material again.
Kind of brilliant actually. I highly suggest you give it a whirl.
Next Monday we will… I don’t know yet. But never fear. I’ll find more interesting things to say about Scrivener. I will. Stay tuned, follow on Twitter with #52WeeksOfScrivener, or sign up for my newsletter to get a weekly digest of all my posts.