How to dictate instead of typing in macOS Sierra

You can use your voice to enter text with macOS Sierra with its Dictation feature (which is different from Siri). Choose the Apple menu () > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Dictation. Turn on Dictation and choose from these Dictation options:

  • Choose whether to use Enhanced Dictation, which lets you use dictation when you're not connected to the Internet.
  • Choose your language and dialect. Some languages, such as English, have multiple Choose the keyboard shortcut you will use to start start dictating. 
  • Choose your preferred microphone from the pop-up menu below the microphone icon.
  • You can also you can ask Siri to “turn on Dictation” for you. Siri isn't the same as Dictation, but you can ask Siri to compose short messages, such as email and text messages.

To use Dictation, go to a document or other text field and place the insertion point where you want your dictated text to appear. Press the keyboard shortcut for starting dictation, or choose Edit > Start Dictation. The default shortcut is Fn Fn (press the Fn key twice). 

When your Mac is listening, it displays a microphone to the left or right of the page, aligned with the insertion point. If you turn on advanced dictation commands, the microphone appears in the lower-right corner of your screen, and you can drag it to another position. When your Mac can hear you, the input meter inside the microphone rises and falls as you speak.

Speak the words that you want your Mac to type. Dictation learns the characteristics of your voice and adapts to your accent, so the more you use it, the better it understands you. To stop dictating, click Done below the microphone icon, press Fn once, or switch to another window.

macOS Sierra also supports Enhanced Dictation. You can dictate continuously. You can dictate without being connected to the Internet. With Enhanced Dictation, your words might convert to text more quickly. You can use dictation commands to tell your Mac what to do.

Without Enhanced Dictation, your spoken words and certain other data are sent to Apple to be converted into text and help your Mac understand what you mean. As a result, your Mac must be connected to the Internet, your words might not convert to text as quickly, and you can speak for no more than 40 seconds at a time.

If you're on a business or school network that uses a proxy server, Dictation might not be able to connect to the Internet. Have your network administrator refer to the list of network ports used by Apple software products.