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Use your voice to enter text on your Mac

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Dictate messages and documents on Mac

With Dictation, you can dictate text anywhere you can type it. Turn it on in Keyboard settings—your dictated utterances are sent to Apple to process your requests. A feedback window gauges your speaking volume and provides basic dictation controls.

If you need to dictate text and control your Mac using your voice instead of a keyboard and trackpad, use Voice Control. See Control your Mac and apps using Voice Control. When Voice Control is on, you can’t use Dictation.

On a Mac with Apple silicon, dictation requests are processed on your device in many languages—no internet connection is required. When dictating in a search box, dictated text may be sent to the search provider in order to process the search. Additionally, you can dictate text of any length without a timeout. You can turn off Dictation manually, or it stops automatically when no speech is detected for 30 seconds.

Note: Dictation may not be available in all languages or in all countries or regions, and features may vary.

The feedback window alongside dictated text in a TextEdit document.

Turn on Dictation

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Keyboard  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)

     

  2. Go to Dictation on the right, then turn it on. If a prompt appears, click Enable.

  3. If you’re asked if you want to improve Siri and Dictation, do one of the following:

    • Share audio recordings: Click Share Audio Recordings to allow Apple to store audio of your Siri and Dictation interactions from your Mac. Apple may review a sample of stored audio.

    • Don’t share audio recordings: Click Not Now.

    If you change your mind later and want to share or stop sharing audio recordings, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Privacy & Security  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) Go to Analytics & Improvements on the right, then turn on or off the Improve Siri & Dictation option. See Change Privacy & Security settings.

    Note: You can delete the audio interactions (which are associated with a random identifier and less than six months old) whenever you like—see Delete Siri and Dictation history.

  4. To dictate using another language, click the Language pop-up menu, then choose a language and dialect.

    • Add an unlisted language: Choose Customize or Add Language, then select or add the languages you want to use.

    • Remove a language: Click the Language pop-up menu, choose Customize, then deselect the language you don’t want to use.

To learn more about how Apple protects your information and lets you choose what you share, click About Dictation & Privacy at the bottom of the window. See the Apple Privacy website.

Dictate text

  1. In an app on your Mac, place the insertion point where you want the dictated text to appear.

  2. Press the Microphone key if available in the row of function keys, use the dictation keyboard shortcut, or choose Edit > Start Dictation.

    Note: Press and release the Microphone key to start Dictation; press and hold the Microphone key to activate Siri (Siri must be enabled).

  3. When the feedback window shows a microphone icon  with a fluctuating loudness indicator, or you hear the tone that signals your Mac is ready for dictation, dictate your text.

  4. To insert a punctuation mark or perform simple formatting tasks, do any of the following:

    • Say the name of the punctuation mark, such as “exclamation mark.”

    • Say “new line” (equivalent to pressing the Return key once) or “new paragraph” (equivalent to pressing the Return key twice). The new line or new paragraph appear when you’re done dictating.

    For a list of the commands you can use while dictating, see Commands for dictating text.

    Note: Dictation automatically inserts commas, periods, and question marks for you as you dictate. To turn if off, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Keyboard  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.) Go to Dictation on the right, then turn off Auto-punctuation.

  5. If you set up Dictation for multiple languages and want to switch languages as you dictate, click the language in the feedback window, then choose the language you want to use.

    For information about setting up Dictation for multiple languages, see <a href="https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/use-dictation-mh40584/13.0/mac/13.0#mchlpb5054de" "="" class="xRef Task">Turn on Dictation.

  6. When you’re done, press the dictation keyboard shortcut, the Return key, or click Done in the feedback window.

On a Mac with Apple silicon, you can insert emoji using your voice while dictating—for example, say “heart emoji” or “car emoji.”

Ambiguous text is underlined in blue. If the text is wrong, click it and select an alternative. You can also type or dictate the correct text.

Set the Dictation keyboard shortcut

You can choose a specific dictation keyboard shortcut or create one of your own.

Tip: If the Microphone key is available in the row of function keys, you can press it to start Dictation or use the keyboard shortcut.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Keyboard  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)

     

  2. Go to Dictation on the right, click the pop-up menu next to Shortcut, then choose a shortcut to start Dictation.

    To create a shortcut that’s not in the list, choose Customize, then press the keys you want to use. For example, you could press Option-Z.

Note: When you choose a Dictation keyboard shortcut, depending on your Mac model, the “Press fn key to” or “Press the Globe key to” option in Keyboard settings may change automatically. For example, if you choose Press Fn (Function) Key Twice as the Dictation Shortcut option, the Keyboard settings option changes to Start Dictation (Press Fn Twice) automatically.

For more help with Keyboard options, click the Help button  in Keyboard settings.

Change the microphone used for Dictation

The Microphone source in Keyboard settings shows which device your Mac is currently using to listen for Dictation.

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Keyboard  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)

     

  2. Go to Dictation on the right, click the pop-up menu next to “Microphone source,” then choose the microphone you want to use for Dictation.

    If you choose Automatic, your Mac listens to the device you’re most likely to use for Dictation.

Turn off Dictation

  1. On your Mac, choose Apple menu  > System Settings, then click Keyboard  in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)

     

  2. Go to Dictation on the right, then turn it off.


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