Speech recognition

With speech recognition, you can control your computer and apps using spoken commands. You can speak commands that open apps, choose menu items, email contacts from your address book, and more. A number of commands, or “speakable items,” are already created for you. You can create your own commands and add them to the Speakable Items folder.

Use the Speakable Items pane of Accessibility preferences to turn on Speakable Items, set up how to tell your computer that you’re speaking a command, create commands for apps, and open the Speakable Items folder.

When you turn on speech recognition, a round speech feedback window with a microphone icon appears on your desktop. This window shows which key to press or which keyword to speak to tell your computer you’re going to speak a command. The pop-up menu at the bottom of the speech feedback window provides quick access to preferences and the Speech Commands window.

If your computer has a built-in microphone, you can use it to speak commands. If you have more than one microphone, speech recognition selects the one it uses in this order: external USB microphone, external analog microphone, built-in microphone.