Vocola and Dragon = instant compatibility

Edited for clarity. Okay, I’m officially never griping about Dragon incompatibilities again. (Unless in the case of some rare glitch.) The other night I downloaded the files that eventually make up Vocola, which is a free scripting program designed to add almost any natural language command you want to Dragon NaturallySpeaking. While it would be nice if Nuance would build in more commands that seem very basic to me, such as control clicking and middle clicking, not to mention fully supporting Firefox without the bugs, Vocola combined with Dragon has immensely improved my ability to navigate my computer by voice, and essentially every program I have installed is now vocally accessible.

There are multiple files to install, the instructions for which can be found here. The latest version is 2.6, but I may have downloaded 2.5 because when I tried to download 2.6 I got an error message. 2.5 works absolutely fine, though, even if that’s the case. There is also a basic tutorial file, which is incredibly easy to understand for the most part — even if you don’t use the examples verbatim, you can look at them and see how you’re supposed to structure your own commands. The mouse commands are somewhat more difficult to understand, because the tutorial does not provide you with what numbers stand for what clicks — I had to look them up. A middle click, for example, translates as ButtonClick(4, 1). To get my current mouse coordinates, I used AutoIt WindowSpy, which comes with AutoHotKey, which I was using for another experiment. I think there is also a Vocola command for that, however.

For the most part, though, almost everything can be done by creating keystroke commands, which are the easiest kind. The basic syntax, minus the square brackets, is [what you say] = {[modifier key]+ [key]};. The keystroke command can have multiple keystrokes.

Another useful command is AppBringUp, which does exactly what it sounds like — runs an application or file from its specified path. You might have to do a search in order to find the file’s location. Once you have, go to the address bar of Windows Explorer and copy what’s there, then paste it into your command. The file extension is usually .exe, though it can also be .lnk or another. There is a list of common Windows filenames here.

I don’t want to make this post overly long, but I do want to give you some of my commands in case they’d be of use to you — save you some dictation. So, in my next several posts, I’ll post commands for Jarte Plus, Windows Media Player, and others. (NOTE: Vocola CANNOT create commands for OpenOffice as is, at least not for the portable version, which is the only one that I have now. However, you may be able to download a Python extension for that; see the discussion here. I haven’t bothered. Jarte’s good enough.)

Much of the blogged info on Vocola is dated, and I think SpeechWiki is still down, but there are discussions of it almost every day at Speech Computing.

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5 Responses to Vocola and Dragon = instant compatibility

  1. Rick Mohr says:

    Thanks for the enthusiasm about Vocola. Some corrections and comments:

    1) The web site (http://vocola.net) was completely updated on 12/24/2008, so all information is current.

    2) Vocola was always intended to run with all Dragon versions. Nuance has made general noises about restricting command-creation utilities to the professional version but have never commented specifically about Vocola or NatLink.

    3) I hadn’t heard that keystroke commands don’t work with Open Office. I have seen a couple applications like that, and sometimes keystroke commands will work if you use SendSystemKeys().

  2. hand2mouth says:

    You’re welcome, and thank you for your contributions to it.

    When I said info was dated, I didn’t mean your site — I meant blog posts that haven’t been updated, and sites that were gone and such. Sorry I was unclear. I’ve not tried SendSystemKeys in OpenOffice Portable yet, but will update when I do.

  3. hand2mouth says:

    update: SendSystemKeys didn’t seem to help in OpenOffice Portable. I’ll try again, on the off chance that I missed something, but so far it hasn’t worked.

  4. Tony says:

    This may not be clear from the documentation, but SendSystemKeys does not require quotes around the keys being sent.

    Example:

    SendSystemKeys({Ctrl+Shift+d})

    Perhaps this will work better with OpenOffice.

  5. hand2mouth says:

    That’s an idea, though I decided not to reinstall OpenOffice to try it yet again. But if I recall, the problem on one of the tries was actually that I couldn’t get Vocola to interact properly at all, so that I didn’t even have a chance to create any commands — the Messages from Python Macros window popped up as soon as I tried to say anything whatsoever, never mind “Edit voice commands.”

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