Mac OS X Mavericks 101: Setting Up Speech Recognition

Mac OS Mavericks is an OS is designed for convenience. This operating system offers a lot of built-in features that greatly ease use, especially for busy users who juggle multiple projects. One such built-in feature is speech recognition. This tool comes in handy for when you quite literally have your hands full and you’re too busy to bother with the track pad or the Magic Mouse.

To set up speech recognition on your Mac, follow these steps:

  • Access System Preferences and launch the Accessibility pane.
  • Choose ‘Speakable Items’ on the list on the left, then click the Settings tab visible.
  • Click the ‘On’ button. This will open the speech feedback window.

    image from

    The Speech Feedback Window (image from

  • Choose the microphone you want to use and calibrate the microphone. The built-in microphone on your iMac or MacBook Pro works great, but a third-party microphone might deliver better results.
  • Once you’re satisfied with the microphone’s performance, click over to the speech feedback window, press the Esc key (the default listening key), and say a command.
  • Click the small triangle at the bottom of the speech feedback window, then choose the ‘Open Speech Commands window’ option.
  • Choose the command or function you want to enable.

Some useful tips to finetune the Speech Recognition tool:

  • The listening key is the key you press when you want to activate Speech Recognition and talk to your Mac. By default, the listening key is the Esc key, but you can switch the function to any key you want through the ‘Change Key’ option.
  • You can also configure your Mac to listen continuously and activate Speech Recognition when you say a certain keyword. If you choose this option, you can further choose how your Mac listens to the keyword.

Once you’ve set up speech recognition, you can launch apps and send emails even without touching your keyboard, track pad, or Magic Mouse.

Does the setup process sound too complicated? Don’t sweat it. Just visit any of our retail stores at Huntington Beach, Torrance, Santa Monica, or Chicago and have any of our specialists look at your Mac. MacMall stores can help you out with whatever Mac configuration you need.

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