5 Voice Tools That Will Help You Write Better — Without a Keyboard

5 Voice Tools That Will Help You Write Better
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Writers are constantly looking for the best software to manage their creations.

People experiment and switch off between writing tools that add more features and some that declutter the workspace to promote creativity.

However, while the average person types at 50 to 80 words per minute, that same person produces 110 to 150 words per minute when speaking. Why not consider a writing tool that keeps your hands off the keyboard and puts your voice to work? (Click to tweet this idea.)

Let’s explore five tools that let you manage your ideas and write full articles and stories without even touching a keyboard.

Windows Speech Recognition

Ideas can pop into your head at any time, whether you’re doing the laundry or eating lunch. Take advantage of them!

Start writing at a faster rate, with more freedom to move around and complete other tasks by using Windows Speech Recognition software. This  software is surprisingly accurate and it picks up on your own personal speaking subtleties. Newer Windows computers come with the Windows Speech Recognition software included.

Dragon Speech Recognition

Dragon Speech Recognition is the top speech recognition option for Mac users. It’s not free like Windows Speech Recognition, but it blows any other dictation software out of the water. Narrate your book into the microphone and watch it magically appear on screen. A PC version is also available.

Evernote

It’s no secret that writers find inspiration in different locations. A handy notebook or camera works wonders for writers on the move.

However, these pieces of inspiration take a little more work to transfer into actual writing. Pictures and drawings are not words, so they need to be efficiently transferred into words. Log all your photos and sketches in Evernote and spend a period of time every week describing them. You could easily place one of these descriptions in a story or article.

In addition, Evernote offers a speech-to-text feature, which comes in handy when you’re on the move and need to jot down an idea, talk out a chapter, or run through lines of dialogue.

Download the application and include the widget on your homescreen to get a one-click capture of your thoughts. Go back to your computer later and export this piece of material to the word processor of your choice.

OmniPage

Optical character recognition is a form of software that scans hardcopy documents and converts them into editable documents for Microsoft Word and other processors. You may not be able to write a novel with OmniPage or other OCR software, but how many times have you held a hard copy document with no way to digitize it?

Cut out magazine articles and paste quotes or segments directly into your computer. Maybe you wrote a story back in the day and the only copy you have is the one folded into a time capsule. Dust off that story and convert it into a document for editing.

Livescribe

Livescribe is about as state-of-the-art as any writer can get right now. The Livescribe 3 pen allows you to jot down notes with a real pen that transmits ink to the page while still capturing a digital version of the text on your iPad or iPhone. You can then convert your notes into editable text to plug right into your article or story.

In essence you get four versions of your notes in one swoop: written on the notepad, written on the application, converted to type and you can also record your voice while writing for quick reference. The only problem with Livescribe? It doesn’t work on Androids yet.

The world is filled with places and opportunities that offer inspiration and motivation. Cut down on the process of transferring handwritten notes to your computer. Write faster and multitask by moving beyond the keyboard.

Are there any other ways to write more efficiently than with a keyboard?

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Joe Warnimont is a blogger, freelance tech writer and the author of Rise of the Writer. Learn how to find adventure and excitement in your writing career at Write With Warn... .

Write With Warnimont | @writewithwarnie

Joe Warnimont
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Comments

  1. Joseph todd says:

    Coooool. Thanks from Maui,

  2. Great article. Voice recognition software has made great advances. My big complaint about early versions was difficulty adding punctuation. Any reviews about that aspect of these programs?

    • Hi Alex,

      I agree the punctuation has always been a little tricky. For Windows Speech Recognition, Dragon and OmniPage you’re required to state the type of punctuation you want. I primarily use Windows Speech Recognition, and it’s quite responsive when you say “comma” or “period”. It’s somewhat strange having to state punctuation all the time, but I’ve found the process is still faster than typing, and if I miss some punctuation I’ll add it during revision.

      Evernote just uses the voice recognition software on your phone, so it really depends on your device. My iPhone recognizes period and comma commands quite well, but I just use Evernote for quick notes, so I don’t care about proper sentences much.

      I’ve only tested Livescribe once, but you get to write your own punctuation, so it translates the marks nicely, from what I saw. It’s cool because you don’t have to keep saying your desired punctuation mark. Thanks for the comment!

  3. The only issue is that I have a unique and mixed accent and voice recognition software does not pick it up well. My voice or accent is a mix of American, British, and Indian fused together. Several people have commented on it over the years. I’m articulate, clear, and crisp to humans but not software!

    I hope voice software improves. Another friend of mine with a thick Southern accent cannot use these things either.

    • Great point, Indu — an accent can certainly complicate things. Hopefully the software will improve to the point where it will recognize words and understand various accents!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Joe Warnimont says:

        A very good point Indu. The only software I know that allows for accent and dialect modification is Dragon Naturally Speaking. My buddy from Australia uses it and he doesn’t have many problems. The only thing is that you have to set your accent settings before dictating (they have a pretty huge list) and walk through a series of speech tendency tests to fit your own habits. I don’t have much of an accent so I’m not sure how well it works for an accent blend like yours, but if you had a chance to test a free version it might be worth a shot. Have a nice weekend!

  4. Hello! I have a question that may seem a bit naif, does the software write all languages? In my case I’m thinking of Catalan. I have checked the website of Dragon but can’t find any reference to that. I assume it does but I’d like to be sure before buying.

  5. voice recognition softwares are very useful but they dont work correctly in all of conditions.i tested many of them and some of them not work 100% correctly.

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