Dragon Naturally Speaking arrives on the Macintosh!

[This article was written in 2010. For a more recent of Dragon click here.]

I’ve been waiting for almost 10 years for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh!  And finally it’s here –  Dragon Dictate.


Despite being a long time Apple user user, in 1999 I purchased a PC (yes that’s right!) just to run Dragon Naturally Speaking. I would dictate to the PC and then copy files to my Mac on a thumb drive!
Dragon Naturally Speaking was by far the best voice recognition software – but sadly it was not available for the Apple platform.

Not long after that, IBM releasedViavoice for the Mac. Viavoice wasn’t as good as Dragon Naturally Speaking but it did the job (and meant I could get rid of the PC!)  I used ViaVoice for the next 6 years.

So personally it’s been a 10 year wait  for Dragon Naturally Speaking to arrive on the Macintosh – but finally it’s here! After using Macspeech Dictate since it’s release 2 years ago,  I can say Macspeech Dictate is far and away the best dictation software for the Mac. It is now up to version 2.0 which has been renamed ‘Dragon Dictate’.

‘At the core of MacSpeech Dictate is the world-renowned speech recognition engine, Dragon NaturallySpeaking.’

For those who have been limping along with iListen or Via Voice – you won’t believe the difference! The latest version – Dragon Dictate 2.0 – achieves almost full accuracy with just 5-6 minutes of training.

There are a few (small) weaknesses, the main one being that the correction and editing is not quite as good as with the PC version.  With Dragon Naturally Speaking  if I retrained a word it would never mistake it again.  Not so with Dragon Dictate.  There must be some difference between the way Dragon Naturally Speaking and Macspeech Dictate handle the retraining of words. Dragon Dictate is in my opinion still slightly behind the PC version.

That said,  it’s a fantastic product. I use it every day,  and I’d totally recommend that you try it out if you do a lot of typing or transcription work.  At the very least find a friend who has a copy and give it a trial! That’s what I did and I was hooked.

If you live in the USA it is available directly from Nuance (Macspeech):

Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0


Click here to go to the Official Dragon site.

There is a ‘download only’ option which is great for international customers but you’ll need to find your own microphone.

Note to Australian Customers: you don’t need to select the ‘international language version’,  just the normal US version comes with Australian and UK speech files.

STOP PRESS:  I’ve made some videos here.

Other posts on Speech recognition:



86 responses to “Dragon Naturally Speaking arrives on the Macintosh!”

  1. Mary

    Per the above short section on transcribing interviews – I’m also looking for software that will recognize more than one voice. I’ve been told by the Nuance people that their Macspeech Scribe will transcribe more than one speaker’s voice, though other voices will not be as accurate as the primary one it was trained for.

    The tech. asst. said people have tried it… (and she also mentioned the 30-day money back guarantee….)
    Anyone out there tried this? any success?
    Thanks for any help on this…

  2. Mark S

    hi guys,

    I am a PC user and have been happily using Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 11 for quite a while now, but I’m looking to get one of those new iMacs that Apple has just released.

    Now I’ve got a bit of a dilemma, as I don’t know which is better: use Dragon NaturallySpeaking with parallel 6.0, or buying Dragon dictate 2.0 (which seems to have so many editing problems).

    Can someone please advise?

  3. Charles D.

    I’m in the same dilemma as Mark S. I, too, would like some guidance on this issue. It seems unreasonable to buy Dragon dictate for the Mac when there appears to be many problems, as opposed to loading Windows on the Mac and using the more time-tested Dragon NaturallySpeaking software.

    1. There’s no problems, it’s great, it’s just not as good as the pc version which is not what Mac users are used to!!!!

  4. Bev O.

    I am a long-time Mac user who records interviews with various folk and then transcribes. I understand that Dragon Dictate 2 for Mac is trained to one speaker, me. Hence, it appears that I would have to listen to my recordings and speak them into the Mac in order to use Dictate. I am not feeling confident that software exists to do this for me. Please, tell me I’m wrong!

    1. This is correct, it wont’ recognise people well without training so the only way would be for you to listen to the tape and read it back one sentence at a time.

  5. Shane Phillips

    I just got dragon dictate for the Mac I like it so far. I am still getting used to it. They have a free version on iPad and iOS devices get it soon it is a limited time offer

  6. Lisa L

    I have a dozens of interviews to do for my research. What is the best software to use for transcription and transferring to my iMac. I want to use my iPod touch to record my interviews and transfer them onto my iMac as an audio file.

  7. patrick deegan

    I have downloaded Dictate2 for Mac a week back… i found a little notice that says I have not long to register product. I have been using the product. Somehow it was registered. I have filled in registration form and it tells me I have wrong serial numbers. i hope i have the full download for the price I have paid One has an option of 30 days or money back if not satisfied. (A satisfaction Period.) That is usually the case with all purchases.

  8. patrick deegan

    The other comment I have is that the Australian Accent is much more different to an American accent… especially the word Com mand… not Cam mand

  9. Torie

    I interested in the Dragon Naturally Speaking for my Mac but I have Word 2008. Is it compatible? Or should update to Word 2011? I have a Mac OS X.

    1. Ronda

      Did you every get a consensus on this topic: I have installed dragon for Mac with Office 2008 on Mac; but it seams buggy to me. Your input is great appreciated.

  10. Miha Cookson

    I’ve just downloaded dragon dictate but it’s not giving me the prompts to start installing. Do I need snow leopard on my mac air to work dictate?

  11. Mary B

    Does anyone have experience using these voice recognition programs for scientific dictations, molecular biology, microbiology, etc? Recommendations for the best choices for Macs would be appreciated.

  12. where are the real videos for this program. i want to know if i can manage my computer rather than just type.

    1. I don’t’ use it to control my computer. I find it’s too hard to remember all the different commands. I only use it to type.

  13. BOB


    1. If it degrades the longer you use it it might be that you are getting lazier with your speech the longer you speak. That’s what I find. Try speaking clearly and see if it improves. Play back the ‘mis-recognised’ text and see if you said what you thought you said!

  14. Laura

    Does Dragon Dictate work with open office?

    1. Well it works with any program in that it dictates wherever you put the cursor.

  15. Terry McManus

    I am considering buying Dragon Dictate to use with medico legal reports which will contain al lot of medical terminology, is it possible to correct spelling using the key board rather than dictate correct spelling?

    1. Yes that’s the way I tend to do it. I dictate but then type to correct. You usually don’t’ have to correct spelling, rather mis-recognised words. It doesn’t make spelling mistakes so to speak!

  16. Tom

    I recently purchased DNS version 11.00. It has worked good on XP. Now I have upgraded to Win7 and I cannot make it run. I’m thinking of buying a Mac. They tell me on the Mac, you can run two systems: Apple and Windows. Is that true for DNS v.11? Or will I have to buy another version of DNS? If it runs on Mac, will it run as good as on Win? Tom

    1. You’ll need to buy the mac version. The windows one won’t run on the mac except in Windows.

  17. Serena M. Polinski

    I saw an old Dragon Dictate that belonged to my brother before. It guess he bought it 3 years ago. Can I still use it on my Mac?

    1. Can’t see why not. Give it a go! The accuracy will be better if you upgrade though.

  18. kelley

    Downloaded Dragon Dictate from internet–now they want me to insert a disc. I did not buy one just downloaded. What now?

  19. Andre Haermeyer

    I am a long term user of Dragon Naturally Speaking 11 which I have found excellent.

    I recently migrated from PC to Mac and bought Dragon Dictate 2.5. I found it primitive and frustrating. It has a “Golden Rule” that you should alternate between typing and dictating. Given that its ability to correct, spell and modify dictated text is very limited and cumbersome compared to DNS, I find myself frequently returning to the keyboard and finding it sends Dragon Dictate into a SuperNova.

    I do not wish to control my computer through oral commands and I don’t want to have to learn a plethora of additional Dragon Commands. I just want to dictate; to spell; to correct; and to edit with ease both orally and on the keyboard – whichever suits my purpose at the time.

    Dragon Dictate is a long way short of DNS. I am now using DNS 11 again with Word for PC and Outlook for PC, through Parallels for my longer emails and text documents.

    Given the extent to which I use DNS I am seriously revaluating my migration to Mac and feel I have complete wasted my money on Dragon Dictate.

    Given that Dragon Dictate 2.5 costs more the DNS 11, for significantly less functionality, I can only declare it a complete waste of money.

    I am hoping this will improve with Dragon Dictate 3 – whenever that happens – and that people who wasted their money on Dictate 2.5 will be offered a free upgrade.

  20. Marty

    Your article doesn’t sound true at all from an experienced Via Voice, and Dragon user. I have used the dictating programs for over 12 years. I am a real estate inspector. I conduct 500 reports a year, which means 3 to 4 hours per day dictating. Via voice had many “commands” that would close the program while talking without saving. An amazing ability but that is why I went to Dragon Ver 3. I used it all the way up to Dragon 12 on PCs. It would get a little better each time.

    Then I bought a Mac. The Dragon 2.0 for Mac is from a different developer. That is what the Nuance reps admitted. The Mac developer has programmers that are no where close to the PC version’s capability. Think of it, Version 12 compared to version 2 or 3, which set of programmers have got it dialed in?

    Well, the Mac program it terrible at making corrections. The PC version allows you to add and delete words easily. The dictionary has 20,000 Surnames, that no one will ever use. It was a programmers game to see how many last names he could install. Mac Dragon constantly inserts a “Last name” incorrectly for another word. You cannot delete the word from the Dictionary so it comes up all the time. The PC version training of a word was better and doesn’t work in the Mac version. Go ahead, say the word “soot”. that is right. Black dusty stuff on a heater exhaust. Mac Dragon will bring up the words, “Such, such that, such at, and a plethora of others. It will not insert soot. Try and say the command, “Correct that” and it always jumps to another part of the sentence or paragraph. The PC version would go to the last word or phrase.

    Mac 2.0 and 3.0 force me to proof read and correct a word in every other sentence. I also speak clearly and enunciate. Nuance did not give me any money and that is why this is an honest critique of their product.


  21. I have using this software in windows for many of my writing work, it makes my work so easy and fast and It’s the best speech to text recognition software I have ever used.. Its great to hear that it’s now in Mac too.

  22. sherrie

    My mom is elderly and unable to type lately. She is a writer and she also loves to use her email, facebook, etc.
    Will the Dragon for Mac program basically run her computer for her or is it mainly for text? Thanks.

    1. I personally think it’s not easy to use to control your computer, more for just speaking text. You can control your computer with it but it’s a bit complicated.

  23. Huigh

    Question probably clearly indicates the level of my ignorance: If I have Siri, why would I buy Dragon Dictate?

    1. The response of dictate is almost instant. Siri takes 3 or 4 seconds. dictate adapts to your voice and gets more accurate. Siri good for simple commands. Dictate good for letters, talks etc!

  24. Emily

    Please, someone, I beseech you, tell me how to:

    1. Delete a word immediately after typing it
    2. Return to end of line after selecting a word and making a correction.

    I feel like I can do everything else, but these two very basic maneuvers are eluding me, and making me cry it frustration DELETE DELETE NO GO BACK I MEAN DELETE BACKSPACE ARGH!!

    1. 1. Delete a word immediately after typing it

      Say ‘scratch that’ to delete the last phrase you spoke

      2. Return to end of line after selecting a word and making a correction.
      IT should do it automatically of you correct by saying ‘correct xxxx’
      otherwise try ‘go to end’

  25. Dragon Naturally Speaking is awesome, and I was in the same position as you (but i did not purchase a pc! lol). But in all seriousness, this product is great, useful, and helps especially for times when you have loads of articles to complete or essays in college.

  26. I have been using dragon naturally speaking PC Windows version for about 7 years and I am very satisfied with the performance. I purchased the Dragon Dictate 2 for my Mac air 11inch, hoping for a better user experience, but sadly it is not up to expectations. The editing and training modules are not very up to date or non existent for Mac version. If you plan to purchase Dragon naturally speaking I suggest go for the windows version. It has been established for a long time, have released several versions, with new up dates and by far the best dictation software. First time users might get a good feel from Dictate 2 for Mac, as it does the job, but if you have used the windows version you might be in for a disappointment.

    1. Thanks Thomas. My impression is that the Mac version is behind the PC version, maybe by a year or two. It’s always improving, as is the PC version. Mac is now up to version 3. So if you are after the BEST POSSIBLE speech recognition, yes I’d say the PC version is better. But if you are a Mac user after speech recognition for your mac, the mac version and it is very usable.

  27. Jen

    I don’t understand what the difference is between the Naturally Speaking and the Dictate? The Naturally Speaking 12 says it can be used on a Mac…

    1. Naturally Speaking is PC software. Dragon Dictate is Mac software. Any PC software (e.g. Naturally Speaking) can be run on a mac by installing Microsoft Windows using parallels or bootcamp, but it’s a pain to do it that way!

  28. […] Here’s a review of the software and the various software/headset bundles from Macintosh How To: https://www.macintoshhowto.com/software/usable-speech-recognition-arrives-on-the-m… […]

  29. jansher khan

    so nice and amzing site thanks for sharing.

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