31 December 2020

Being taught to use Dragon

When I spoke with the occupational health nurse of the University about my RSI, she suggested that I could be given Dragon software. And she suggested I do a course to learn to work with it. That sounded reasonable! And so it worked out. First I downloaded the software, and then it was time to organise the training. I had imagined there would just be online tutorials, but that wasn’t how it worked out; I was trained by an actual person.

We would do two sessions of two hours. The first one mainly dealt with getting started, and text editing. The getting started was useful but overlapped with what I had already done my own; I had been practising with the software after all. So I had got used to my voice, and checked my microphone settings, et cetera. Then we came to text editing; writing, correcting, making bulleted lists, capitalising, hyphenating, italicising, justifying, and what not. And that is all very useful, but not the essence. I need to be able to not use my mouse! And that means moving between programs, manipulating spreadsheets, making PowerPoint slides and all such things. But the good thing is, that if you learn about manipulating text in Dragon, you also learn about the various commands, and how to look them up. And that is the road to being able to sort yourself out!

The second session was supposed to still be focused on Word, but we had done most of that. So we moved on to other programs; Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe reader came up. I had more questions than the instructor could answer there and then. And that is understandable! I suppose his clients are from all over the various walks of life, and all use different software. He can’t know everything about all of it. But he clearly set me up for Excel and PowerPoint, and told me that Adobe just is a program that Dragon struggles to work with. That is a pity! But he mentioned you can buy an add-on, SpeechStart, that might help. Dragon doesn’t recognise the various tabs in Reader, let alone the various options underneath them. But SpeechStart does!

The day after the course I got an email from the instructor; he had made some extra instruction videos for me that dealt with some of the questions I had about PowerPoint, Excel, and Adobe reader. Now that's good service! I think some of that will still be trying; making PowerPoint slides through voice control just looks like something that really tests your patience, but I suppose at least it can be done. Soon I will have to start practising!

I had been wondering if I should try to convince the University to buy me the second part of the course as well, but it looked like we had covered quite a lot of what is involved in it in these two sessions. And I know how the work to help function! So I think what l need to do now, is get the add-on, and then practice, practice, practice. And the fact that the blog is active again shows I’m on it!

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