For over fifty years using a computer meant using a keyboard. Even when that computer became a tablet or a smartphone, there was no getting away from the need to type. Yet there are many situations where using a keyboard just isn’t practical, or where there is a smarter, more productive alternative.

With speech recognition software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13, your hands are free and there’s no need to worry about keeping your keyboard clean. This is as much a boon to busy parents as it is in many jobs, where oil or grime might be part and parcel of the trade. Also, where a keyboard keeps you chained to the desk, speech recognition frees you to move around. As a result, it’s less stressful on your shoulders, arms and neck. Plus, as most of us can talk up to three times faster than we type, using speech recognition software can help you work faster as well.

Here are just three everyday scenarios where speech recognition can improve your life.

At Home

If you’re a busy mum or dad, multi-tasking is a way of life. While you’re preparing dinner or doing the washing up, speech recognition software can help you deal with your emails, search online for recipes or dictate an agenda for a school or club activity. You won’t have to lay a finger on the keyboard.

You can also update Facebook or Twitter, using speech to navigate with your browser, and speech to write your post. Whatever you’re doing, you can organise your thoughts, get them down, then come back to the screen knowing that you’ll only have to make a handful of corrections, thanks to the accurate speech recognition of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13. The latest version is designed to work with Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail as well as Microsoft Office applications, and it’s as happy working with your laptop’s built-in microphone as a headset mic.

In the Office

Writing endless emails or long reports can be a chore, but there’s no need to tie yourself to the desk. Get up, stretch out, and you can use speech recognition to draft your emails or documents while you move around, using intuitive commands to go back and edit on the fly, while the software takes care of the spelling.

Speak normally and at a steady pace, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 is up to 99% accurate without any additional training, though a little training combined with the software’s built-in analysis tools will help it master your vocabulary and writing style.

You can also use speech recognition on the move, recording notes and memos using a digital voice recorder or Dragon’s free smartphone apps, then getting the software to convert your audio files to text when you’re back at base. In short, Dragon helps you get more done, sooner.

For School

Getting homework or projects done is a challenge for any young student, and even more so if they struggle with the keyboard or with dyslexia. Use speech recognition, however, and the software takes care of the process, leaving children free to focus on the work. They can write faster, adding punctuation where it’s needed, the software covers the spelling, and the easy-to-grasp interface means they can still go back and make crucial tweaks. Furthermore, a text-to-speech function can read dictation aloud, helping with proof reading.

The same audio-to-text features we talked about in the office can also make a big difference for schoolwork, enabling students to take down thoughts and ideas wherever they are. It’s not just about talking rather than typing, but of unlocking each child’s true potential.

This article is brought to you in association with Nuance. Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 online.