From reading aloud the contents of your screen to moving the pointer with your head, Apple has always packed its macOS with useful Accessibility features. These features assist users, especially the ones with disabilities, in navigating and using their Macs. Voice Control is one such feature, and as its name suggests, it lets you control your Mac with your voice. This guide shows you all you need to know about using Voice Control on your Mac.
Table des matières
- 1 How to Turn On Voice Control on Mac
- 2 Things You Can Do With Voice Control
- 3 How to Add Languages to Voice Control
- 4 How to Add Custom Voice Control Commands
- 5 How to Add Your Own Vocabulary to Voice Control
- 6 How to Use Item Number and Grid Overlays With Voice Control
- 7 How to Use Voice Control Commands With VoiceOver
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
How to Turn On Voice Control on Mac
After you enable Voice Control you can speak select commands and Voice Control will perform the respective actions. As long as you’re running macOS Catalina or later, you can turn on and use Voice Control following the steps below:
- Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your Mac. From the drop-down menu, click “System Settings.” On older versions of macOS, this option will read “System Preferences.”
- From the System Settings window, scroll down the left sidebar and click “Accessibility.” You can also look for it using the search bar in the top-left corner of the window.
- Click “Voice Control.”
- Click the toggle to the right of “Voice Control” to enable the feature.
- If you’re turning on Voice Control for the first time on your Mac, wait for a few minutes for macOS to finish a one-time download from Apple.
- Once Voice Control is enabled, you will see a microphone button on your screen.
- Click “Sleep” if you want to deactivate Voice Control temporarily. The “Sleep” button will then change to “Wake up” for you to reactivate the mic.
- Alternatively, you can also say “Go to sleep” to make it sleep and “Wake up” to resume.
Tip: you can do more than just talk to your Mac. In fact, you can have your Mac talk to you by enabling Live Captions in macOS Ventura.
Things You Can Do With Voice Control
There’s a much you can do with Voice Control. To see the full list of available commands, say “Show commands.” Alternatively, head to “System Settings -> Accessibility -> Voice Control” and click “Commands.”
With “Basic Navigation” commands, you can easily navigate through your Mac by using Voice Control. The feature understands different apps and their functions. So, for instance, you can say “Open Safari” and “Close Safari” to open and close the browser. You can also ask it to scroll up or down by saying “Scroll up” or “Scroll down.”
If you want to enable dark mode, say “Open System Settings. Click General. Click Dark,” and your Mac will enable Dark Mode. Once you’re done, say “Close window” to quit System Settings.
Overlays & Mouse
In Overlays & Mouse, you can say commands like “Show numbers” or “Show grid” to enable numbers or grid overlay. For basic mouse navigation, you can also speak commands like “Single-click,” “Double-click,” “Triple-click,” “Long press,” “Click and hold mouse,” and “Release the mouse.”
To move the cursor in any direction, just say “Move cursor <direction> <count> pixels,” where direction can be left, right, up, or down, and count can be the number of pixels you want to move the cursor.
When you’re in a text field, for instance in a mail message or document, then you can speak whatever you want to insert in the text field. You can say “Type <phrase>” or just “<phrase>” and Voice Control will type that.
You can also insert punctuation marks, symbols, and emojis by saying “exclamation mark,” “ampersand sign,” and “surprised emoji.”
Voice Control is intelligent enough to understand commands contextually. So, you can transition between a command and dictation seamlessly. For instance, to replace a phrase, you can say “Replace I’m leaving with I have left.” Similarly, you can also say “Congratulations. Click Send.” It will first type “Congratulations,” then will send the response.
Voice Control provides a plethora of text selection commands that you can use to select the text in any way possible. From simply saying “Select all” to saying “Extend selection back <count> paragraphs,” you can select whatever you want.
Just like with text selection, there is also a long list of commands that you can use to navigate through the text. You can use commands like “Move to the end of the word” or “Move to the beginning of the sentence.”
After selecting the text, you can edit and format it however you would like. For instance, say “Bold that” to bold the text. Similarly, you can cut, copy, paste, italicize, underline, undo, redo, correct, replace, and insert text.
There are many delete commands that you can choose from to delete anything. You can say “Delete that,” and Voice Control will delete whatever you typed last. Also delete entire sentences, paragraphs, and particular words.
How to Add Languages to Voice Control
By default, Voice Control uses the language that you’ve selected for your Mac. However, it supports multiple languages. To change or add languages, from these steps:
“System Settings -> Accessibility -> Voice Control:”
- Head to “System Settings -> Accessibility -> Voice Control:”
- Click the “Language” section to open the drop-down menu, then select “Customize.”
- Select the languages you want to be added to your Voice Control’s list and click “OK.”
- Make sure your Mac is connected to the Internet and wait for the languages to download.
Good to know: Voice Control is just one of the many ways you can use accessibility on your Mac to customize your macOS experience.
The shorter way to switch between different languages is from the Voice Control settings:
- Click the “Language” drop-down and select the language you want to use.
- An even quicker way of switching languages is from the on-screen mic pop-up, where you can click the language and choose from the list.
If you want to remove the downloaded languages, click “Customize” from the menu again and deselect the languages the same way you selected and downloaded them.
How to Add Custom Voice Control Commands
Voice Control also gives you the option to create your own custom commands. For example, you can define a “What’s cool” command and set it to paste the text “Voice Control is cool.” Now, every time you say “What’s cool,” Voice Control will paste “Voice Control is cool.” in a text field.
To create custom commands, from the Voice Control accessibility settings:
- Click the “Commands” button.
- From the left sidebar, below the list of commands, click the “+” (plus sign) button.
- In the “When I say” text field, type the command you want to use.
- In the “While using” pop-up menu, select the app where the command should be used.
- Choose the action that needs to be performed in the “Perform” pop-up menu.
- Depending on the action, additional information may be required. For example, if you choose the “Paste Text” action, enter the text you want pasted when you say the command.
- To save, click “Done.”
The shorter and quicker way of adding commands is to say “create command” or “make this speakable” when Voice Control is active. This would launch a “Dictation Command” window. Enter the command name and specify the application and the action that it should perform, as illustrated above.
Import/Export Custom Commands
If you are switching to a different Mac, you can export your custom commands so that you won’t have to create them again.
- Click the “three dots” in the bottom-left corner of the Voice Control settings.
- Click “Export Custom Commands” from the drop-down menu.
- Select a destination location and click “Export.”
Delete Custom Commands
If you’ve accidentally created a custom command in error, here’s how to delete it.
- In the Voice Control settings, click “Commands.”
- From the list of commands in the left sidebar, select the custom command you want to delete, then click the “–” (minus sign) button.
You can also delete all custom commands. But before you do, remember that once deleted, these custom commands cannot be recovered and you will have to redefine them from scratch. Here’s how you do this:
- Click the “three dots” in the bottom-left corner of the Voice Control settings.
- Click “Delete All Custom Commands.”
- Finally, click “Delete.”
How to Add Your Own Vocabulary to Voice Control
To make it easier to work on specific apps or documents, add custom words and phrases to a Voice Control language that supports custom vocabulary.
For instance, if you work on medical documents, you can enter the word “hemianopsia” to make sure it is entered correctly every time you say it to Voice Control.
To add your own vocabulary, from the Voice Control settings:
- Click the “Vocabulary” button.
- Click the “+” (plus sign) button.
- In the pop-up window, type the word or phrase you want to add to the vocabulary and click “Save.”
- Click “Save” again.
You can also say “Add to vocabulary” to Voice Control after selecting a word or phrase, and it will be added quickly to the vocabulary.
Import/Export Multiple Custom Vocabulary
If you’re planning to change Macs, then you won’t have to add each vocabulary term again. Instead, just export it from your old Mac to your new one by following the steps below:
- In the Voice Control settings, click the “three dots” on the bottom-left corner, then click “Export Vocabulary.”
- In the pop-up window, select the file format and language, then click “Continue.”
- Select a destination location and click “Export.”
Once the file is exported, you can import it back on your new Mac to add all of your custom vocabulary terms. Follow the steps below from the Voice Control settings:
- Click the “three dots” in the bottom-left corner, and click “Import Vocabulary.”
- From the file browser, navigate to the vocabulary file and click “Select.”
- Click “Import.”
- Voice Control will update you once the import is complete.
Delete Custom Vocabulary
Just like with custom commands, you can also delete a term from your custom vocabulary. Here’s how:
- In the Voice Control settings, click “Vocabulary.”
- From the list of vocabulary terms, select the term you want to delete.
- Click the “–” (minus sign) button, then click “Save.”
- You can also delete your entire custom vocabulary. Do this by clicking the “three dots” in the bottom-left corner, then “Delete All Vocabulary.”
- Click “Delete.”
Your custom vocabulary will be deleted.
How to Use Item Number and Grid Overlays With Voice Control
When you’re using Voice Control to navigate and use your Mac, you may find it difficult to recall a command anfor a certain action. If this happens, overlay your Mac screen with numbers that mark each item and label or with a grid that can divide your screen.
To get started with number overlays, say the command “Show numbers.” Every clickable item on your screen will have a number assigned to it. This way, you can say commands like “Click 12” and the item whose number is 12 will be clicked.
Number overlays make it easy to interact with complex items. For instance, when you make a Google search, you can just say “Click 7” to click the link with the number 7 instead of reading the entire link.
If you want number overlays at all times, say “Show numbers continuously.” Later on, you can say “Hide numbers” to turn off number overlays.
While number overlays are used to navigate through items whose names aren’t obvious or easy to speak, grid overlays make it easy to interact with parts of the screen that aren’t directly clickable with Voice Control.
Just say the command “Show grid” and your Mac screen will be divided into a numbered grid pattern. When you say the grid number, that grid will be subdivided into another grid pattern. This way, you can drill down to any area of the screen and click anywhere you want.
You can also get a grid overlay on only the active window by saying “Show window grid.” To turn on the grid overlay at all times say “Show grid continuously.” To turn it off, say “Hide grid.”
Tip: ready to take your workflow to a whole new level? Number and grid overlays are an efficient way to boost hands-free productivity on your Mac, but you can also supercharge your shortcut menu with these Mac apps.
How to Use Voice Control Commands With VoiceOver
VoiceOver is another great accessibility feature that assists users with visual impairment by reading aloud the contents of their screen. Users can combine the functionality of Voice Control with VoiceOver to navigate through their Macs with ease.
This means that VoiceOver will read aloud what’s on your screen, then you can use Voice Control to navigate through your screen. Voice Control also offers a list of commands specific to VoiceOver. You can say “VoiceOver describe image,” “VoiceOver speak summary,” “VoiceOver stop speaking,” and much more.
To go through the full list of commands available for VoiceOver, say “Show commands” or scroll down to the Accessibility section.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I receive an alert when a command is recognized in Voice Control on Mac?
Sometimes users may find it difficult to judge whether Voice Control has recognized a command. For this, you can toggle the “Play sound when the command is recognized” option from the Voice Control settings.
Can I change the microphone for Voice Control on Mac?
Yes, you can change between multiple microphones easily when using Voice Control. This feature is helpful for users who have multiple microphones. Just head over to “System Settings -> Accessibility -> Voice Control,” click the “Microphone” pull-down option, and select the microphone you want to use.
Can I disable standard commands for Voice Control?
Yes, you can disable standard commands for Voice Control to prevent accidental clicks. To do this, head to “System Settings -> Accessibility -> Voice Control” and click “Commands.” From the list of available commands, search for the one you want to disable, toggle its checkbox, and click “Done.”
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Hashir Ibrahim.
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