Dragon Naturally Speaking Cheat Sheet & Dragon Naturally Speaking Tips

Summary: Dragon Naturally Speaking Cheat Sheet and Dragon Naturally Speaking Quick Start Guide.  Learn how to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software with these Dragon NaturallySpeakingdictation tips.

Question:  I don’t type very well, or very fast, and I’ve heard that there are now some pretty good voice-to-text dictation programs out there, but I’m worried it will take me too long to figure out how to use them. Have you tried any voice to text dictation programs? What is your  experience with voice-to-text dictation software?

ChuckEgg’s answer: I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software for about 16 months. I have been touch typing for more than 30 years, and I’m a fairly fast and accurate typist. After many years and many long days of typing, my hands don’t work as well as they used to. So, I find myself now depending on Windows speech-to-text dictation software on my Windows PC to perform some, but not all, of my typing.

I use computer dictation software exclusively to convert my words to text when I’m writing.  The dictation software I use, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, can also be used to navigate computer programs and websites with your Internet browser, but I don’t use it for that — Keep in mind that you can eliminate half the dictation commands if you decide, like me, to use the software for transcription only and not for computer and browser navigation. Furthermore, if you use your dictation software for voice to text transcription, you can probably concentrate on only about 30 dictation commands to effectively make use of writing by dictation.

I was intimidated by the thickness of the dictation software manual until I started concentrating on the most basic dictation commands that would allow me to get the greatest use of the software in the shortest amount of time.  You probably already concentrate on the most important commands with any other computer programs that you use.  If you use Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel you probably use less than 20% of the functions programmers built into Microsoft Office, but 20% of the commands suit the majority of your needs. Likewise, I started out by trying most of the commands in the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software manual and tried methods described by online dictation tutorials. Within a few days, I discovered which commands were most important and which I could do without.

The list below contains about 30 of the commands that I think are the most necessary to effectively use Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice to text transcription software in the shortest starting time.  I encourage you to print the commands below as a quick guide for when you’re learning how to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking software.

Another Tip:  If you’re not satisfied with the accuracy, try running the Dragon NaturallySpeaking Audio Setup Wizard.
Dragon > Tools > Accuracy Center > Check Your Audio settings > Audio Setup Wizard

In future blog posts I’ll describe my technique for using these commands as an effective replacement for longhand writing and for typing.


GENERAL TIPS – Dates & Currency: Dictate each digit of a year individually. For example, for 1977, say one-nine-seven-seven. Dictate dates as you would normally say them, such as “April fourteenth-nineteen-eighty-nine.” Also, dictate dollar amounts as you would normally say them. For example, say, “Twenty-Four-dollars-and-ninety-two-cents.”


Microphone On (Off) | Go To Sleep | Wake Up

– create a new line or new paragraph at the current cursor position


INSERT BEFORE (AFTER) <word or phrase>
will move the cursor before/after occurrance of a particular <word>

INSERT BEFORE (AFTER) That — will move the cursor before/after currently selected text.

Tip: “insert after blah blah period” or “insert after period” to begin a sentence after another existing sentence.

Consider punctuation like, periods, a word. Think in phrases, not words.

Start of Line | End of Line | Up 3 lines | Down 3 lines *doesn’t always work

Left (Right) –> 3 Words | 3 Characters | 3 Paragraphs |

Move to –> Top | Beginning | Bottom | End <– preferred)

Go to –> Top | Beginning | Bottom | End <– use sparingly

Tip: Better luck with “MoveTo,” seems to be understood more often than “GoTo.”

Right 20 words (instead of goto end) (20 words max)

Down 20 paragraphs


Selects the occurrence of the <word or phrase> closest to the cursor, either forward or backward in the text. When selected, say the replacement word or phrase

SELECT <word or phrase> | Line | Paragraph
(then after text is selected say…)

Example: “select <word1> through <word2> <punctuation>”

–> Copy That | Cut That | Paste That | Delete That | Spell That | Correct That


Tip: Hold down the shift key while dictating words like “full-stop” etc to easily correct any misrecognitions.

The 3 commands below automatically remove your most recently dictated text. You can use them repeatedly.

Strike That | Scratch That | Delete That

Correct That | Correct <word or phrase> — selects <word> and displays the correction list

Spell That
— selects the word before the cursor and allows you to correct the spelling. Spell that. Say the name of the button – Ok, Cancel, etc.

Backspace <- bad command, use sparingly


Open Quote | Close Quote | Open Parenthesis | Close Parenthesis


The commands below may work only with MS Word compatible text editors.

Bold That | Italicize That | Underline That | Restore That

Un-Bold That | Un-Italicize That | Un-Underline That |

Caps On | Caps Off | Cap <word or phrase> | All Caps That | No Caps That

Left Align That | Center That | Right Align That Add

Bullets | Insert Numbers

Tab Key

Set Font Times | Set Size 18

Single Space (Double Space) the Next 3 Paragraphs

Print Preview | Print Document | Print Page | Print Page 8 | Print Pages 3 to 7

2 Replies to “Dragon Naturally Speaking Cheat Sheet & Dragon Naturally Speaking Tips”

  1. Hello Chuck!

    I’ve just started using this software.
    What I can tell is that it seems to be really easy to use.
    I’m brazillian and, although I’m able to read and write mostly anything in English, my speaking abilities are really weak. That’s because I really can’t practice speaking.
    Here comes DNS. It looks so amazing that it’s been able to recognize near 100% from what I dictate. And I’m not speaking any slower than normal speed.
    The best part is I did nothing more than navigate through few pages from basic tutorial. After that I discovered most commands by logic sense only.
    Now, only one day after installation, I’m able to do mostly everything I’d like to do when writing documents, but now it’s hands free. Great!
    One question though, I’m unable to find out how to write sentences beginning with the “select” word, like “select the nearest apples.”.
    If I dictate that as “select the nearest apples period”, DNS understands that as the select command an tries to search for “the nearest apples.”.

    What can I do to make it write the full sentence I want, or at least to write the “select” word alone?

    Thanks in advance!

    Chuck Eglinton’s answer. That’s an interesting problem. It’s difficult to begin a sentence with the word “Select’ because Dragon assumes you’re not dictating, but you’re instead trying to select a word or words.

    How I would probably deal with this is that I would not begin a sentence with the word “Select” instead, I might train myself to say instead, “First Select” then I would return to the document and replace “First Select” with the word “Select” only.

    Another (more technical) solution is to use the Dragonbar to select “words > View/Edit > Add” and you can ADD a new word for “Select” but pronounce it differently, for example, you could pronounce it “SEE-lect” or “sa-sa-lect.” Dragon would assume that you’re saying a different word and will type it instead of thinking that you’re issuing a “select” command.

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