Introduction: How to Control Your Computer Using Your Voice
Windows speech recognition is software that comes installed on most vista and 7 computers. It allows you to use your voice to control the computer and even dictate. It takes a bit of getting used to but it is a very fun program to use after you master the basics and learn how to write your own commands.
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Step 1: Starting the Program
To start Speech recognition, open up the control panel. Click on the accessibility (ease of access) link and you should see the speech recognition options. The first thing you should do is set up your microphone. This only takes a few minutes.
Once your microphone is ready to go, I recommend that you do some speech training. This is important because it will help the software to understand your accent and the way you talk in general. The more that you do this, the better the program becomes at following your commands.
Once you have done a little training, it is time to delve into the magical world of speech recognition! Click on the first link in the speech recognition options panel to start the program.
Step 2: The Basics.
You will notice when the program first starts up that the button is grey and it is "sleeping". To have it start responding to you, either click on the grey button or say "start listening". Well done, the computer is now ready to take commands!
To get used to using speech recognition, start by opening a basic word processor like microsoft word. To do this, say "Open microsoft word" or whatever word program you wish to use. Try dictating a simple sentence like "Instructables is epic" and watch the computer convert your words to text on the screen. This will get you used to speaking in a clear tone.
There are many commands that you can use to control aspects of the computer and you can access a list by saying "What can I say?"
Take some time to read through and familiarise yourself with it. Some important commands are
-Start listening (Takes the program out of sleep mode)
-Stop listening (Initiates sleep mode)
-Open *Program name*
-Close that (Closes current window)
Step 3: Mousegrid
If you want to select a specific portion of the screen but there is no button or link, you can use a feature called mousegrid. When you say "Mousegrid" it will divide the screen into numbered sections. Say the numbers that correspond to the portion of the screen until you refine it enough, then say "OK" to instruct the computer to click in the centre of that square. This is a useful tool if you are trying to click on a picture link such as the main logo of instructables that you can see in the top left of your screen.
Step 4: Macros
Once you think you are pretty good at controlling the computer by voice, you can have a go at macros. The software for writing these can be found at the microsoft website here
When you open up the macro software, speech will automatically run. Writing your own is easier than it looks, you just need to know a few basic executors. To open up the new macro window, click the button on the start bar that looks like a blue speech bubble with cogs in it. This offers 5 different ways to create macros.
Step 5: Insert Text
The insert text macro creator is the first option. It is helpful for inserting text or phrases that you use often, like your address. For example, instead of typing out your whole address, you can say "insert my address".
Firstly, write the phrase you want to say to cause the program to insert the text. In the second box, write the text to be inserted. Press "Next" and then "create".
Commonly you will get an error that the program cannot sign the speech macro. This can be fixed by creating a new signing certificate. Right click on the icon on the start bar and pick security, then create new signing certificate. These are important to protect your computer from any malicious macros that could cause harm to your computer.
Step 6: Run a Program
Instead of saying "Open *program name*" this allows you to pick a different phrase. In the first box, type the phrase you would like to use to open the program. In the second box, you need to type the location of the program. This must be an executable file but if you use the browse button, the program will filter out anything that you can't use. Most programs can be found in the C: drive in your Program Files folder. As before, pick next and create.
Step 7: Send Keystrokes
Send keystrokes can imitate your keyboard keys so that you don't have to press a specific combination. For example, instead of pressing Ctrl Alt Delete every time you want to go to the login screen, you can say something like "Main screen"
As earlier, type the phrase, then the keystrokes. Pay attention to the example below the boxes as you will need to follow the conventions in order for your macro to work.
A good idea for Send Keystrokes is the Print screen. Just sayin'
Step 8: Emulate Recognition
Emulate recognition is great for customising your computer. For example instead of saying "Stop listening" you can use a macro that will cause the program to enter sleep mode when you say "Go to sleep". Keep in mind that you are unable to modify the "start listening" command.
If you need to find the real commands for the second box, remember that you can open the speech dictionary by saying "What can I say?"
Step 9: Advanced
This is where you can write your own macros from scratch. Windows Speech Recognition uses XML. The basic executors you should know are
These are the most useful for basic customisation. All executors must be in greater than or less than symbols and be between two command lines. An example is shown in the picture of how my computer (named Magrathea) can listen for a greeting and speak back.
If you would like information on more advanced executors, this will help you out a lot as it is the whole documentation of the program.