How to Use Windows Vista’s Speech Recognition Feature

If you’ve ever dreamed of getting your computer to obey the sound of your voice and you have Microsoft’s Windows Vista installed as your operating system, then start celebrating. All you need is a microphone and you can teach your computer to recognise your voice. You can manage commands, menus and windows and even dictate and edit text With the Narrator, one of the features of Vista’s ‘Ease of Access Center, geared towards people with disabilities, you can get the computer to read text back to you. For the disabled, gadget lovers and the downright lazy, it promises both utility and a lot of fun.

Once you have your mike you need to go to Vista’s Control Panel, to Speech Recognition Options, and you are ready to configure your ‘Speech Recognition Experience’. ‘Start Speech Recognition’ opens a wizard. In subsequent steps you will set up the microphone before participating in an interactive tutorial that will teach you the basics.

The microphone user interface is an on screen display that you interact with visually. Say ‘Start listening’ and it will tell you that the mike is on and it’s listening. If it doesn’t understand you it will display the on screen message ‘What was that?’ The programme even features context-sensitive help that will suggest suitable commands if you and the user interface fail to understand each other. The commands you can use cover all the operations you might undertake in a normal session: opening and running programs, opening and saving files, calling up menus, switching windows, going to the desktop and so on…

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