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How to command your Mac with your voice

As a power user I’m keen on Apple’s Automator—a tool that allows you to do as the name suggests and automate certain processes on your Mac. With Yosemite, Automator introduces a cool new feature—the ability to command your Mac with your voice. Let’s see how that works.

To begin, go to System Preferences and choose Dictation & Speech. Turn on Dictation and enable Use Enhanced Dictation. This will cause an approximately 800MB file to download to your Mac.

Now go to the Accessibility preference. Scroll down to the bottom of the list and select Dictation. Click on Dictation Commands and in the sheet that appears check Enable Advanced Commands. Click Done.

Now launch Automator and choose Dictation Command from the workflow chooser. Let’s now assemble a quick workflow that will record a voice memo.

I’ll choose the Movies library and drag in the New Audio Capture and Start Capture actions. I’ll name the command Record Me and then enable the command.

Now let’s give it a try. I’ll trigger the Dictation feature with the keyboard shortcut and there’s the microphone icon. I just have to now speak the command— Record Me—and we’ll watch what happens.

QuickTime Player opens up, creates a new audio recording, and starts the audio capture. When I’m done I just click on the Stop button and I’m asked to save it when I click on the Close button.

And it’s just that easy—commanding your Mac with your voice. Check it out, I’m sure you’ll find lots of great ways to take advantage of this feature.

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