by April 12, 2002 0 comments

The next big wave that’s expected to change the way we interact with our PC is speech recognition, and there are many applications for it. One such is the speech-recognition software that comes with Office XP. You can use it to dictate text or access menu options using your voice. Before you can use this feature, however, you’ll have to train the software to recognize your voice. For this, a training wizard makes you read a few phrases aloud. This takes around 15 minutes, but after which if you still think that your PC is not recognizing your voice clearly, you can go for additional training sessions using the training wizard. After the session, Office XP creates a profile for you with the necessary information to help your PC recognize your voice. 

Spell right

To correct spelling errors while dictating, use the Spelling mode. For this, highlight the mis-spelt word and say “Spelling mode”. You’ll see the Dictation mode change to Spelling mode in the menu bar. Now spell out the correct word. For example, if you dictate “the” and the PC incorrectly types it as teh, then select the word and say “T-H-E”. You can even add words, such as your name, to the speech-recognition dictionary. To add a word, select Add/delete word under the Tools menu in the speech-recognition menu bar. Type the word you wish to add under Word and click on Record pronunciation to pronounce the word. 

Once installed, speech recognition is available as a menu option under Tools. A speech- recognition menu bar also appears on the upper-right corner of the screen. Here you’ll come across two modes to work in: Dictation and Voice Command. You use the Dictation mode when you want to dictate text to your PC. As your PC recognizes the words you speak, they’re displayed on the screen. You’ll also notice a blue line on the screen while speaking, which indicates that the PC is processing your spoken words. The best results are, however, possible using a combination of voice, mouse and keyboard. 

You use the Voice Command mode when you want to use your voice to select menu items, toolbars, dialog boxes, etc. For example, to open a file, you just say the words, “File, Open”. This mode is also useful when formatting text. You select the text you wish to format and speak out the command. For example, to change the font of a text, you have to say “Font” and than speak out the font name you wish to use. Apart from this there is also a text-to-speech option called Speak on the menu bar to have the PC read out text to you.

If your PC is used by many users, you can create different voice profiles for each user. For this, go to Start>Control Panel>Sound, Speech and Audio devices. When you double click on the Speech icon, you’ll see the Speech Properties dialog box. Here you select New under Recognition profiles to create a new profile. To select or switch between profiles, go to Tools>Current user and select the respective user. 

Neelima Vaid

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