Voice commands and speech recognition aren't just for smartphone users; they're for PC users, too.
Speech recognition can help you avoid repetitive stress injuries, increase efficiency, and even be fun. You can launch programs, dictate text, scroll Web pages, and more, all by voice. Here's how:
Step 1: Go to Start > Control Panel > Ease of Access > Speech Recognition, and click on "Start Speech Recognition."
Step 2: Run through the Speech Recognition Wizard by selecting the type of microphone you'll be using and by reading a sample line aloud.
Step 3: Once you've completed the Wizard, take the tutorial. We highly recommend going through the entire tutorial. It's a little long, but it will help you learn how to use speech recognition, while training your computer to learn the way you speak. It will teach you the basics, dictation, commanding, and working with Windows.
Step 4: After the tutorial, you'll see a speech recognition status window at the top of your screen. During your session, helpful information will display in the status window. You can also mouse-click on the microphone icon to enable or disable speech recognition.
Step 5: To further train your computer to learn your voice, click on the "Train your computer to better understand you." This will run through another series of sentences to read aloud.
Step 6: If you forget how to use parts of speech recognition, refer to the Speech Reference Card for help.
Tip: It's helpful to memorize keyboard shortcuts for actions you perform frequently. For example, you can say, "press F5" to refresh your browser or "press Control Tab" to switch tabs.
That's it. Now you know how to control your computer and dictate documents by voice. It might take a little time to get used to using voice commands, but hopefully it'll pay off in the end. And if you have an OS X machine, here's how to enable speech commands on your Mac.