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I'm helping out a friend who has aphasia, a language processing disorder, who has trouble reading and saying certain things. Dictation in MacOS is very useful for him, but pressing specific keys on the keyboard to trigger it is very challenging, as is using voice commands. I'm looking for a clickable item that can live on his screen -- I'm imagining in the toolbar at the top, but am open to suggestions -- that he can click when his cursor is in the text field, that will trigger the 'microphone' icon to pop up so he can begin speaking.

I've previously been able to help him out with a similar issue, getting the TTS controller to appear, by making an AppleScript that lives on his desktop. AppleScript worked great in that case because the TSS controller can stay on the screen in perpetuity. That won't work in this case, because the dictation popup can only appear when the cursor is in a text field (as far as I can tell), and the text field into which he's trying to enter text gets 'de-selected' as soon as he clicks the desktop.

Open to third-party apps or scripted solutions or whatever. Thank you!

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  • Have you tried Shortcuts?
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 17:42
  • No, I don't have any experience with Shortcuts, but I'm looking at it now. I do see that it has a 'Dictate text' module, but I'm not sure how to make a shortcut that will work universally in all text fields. Can it make something that can be triggered on screen but without clicking away from a text field?
    – Ckenn
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 18:01
  • I’ve not tried simultaneously clicking a shortcut and a text field, but it’s worth a shot
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 18:19

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You could turn on voice control via system settings and then just talk whenever you are in a text field. Which is what I did to enter this answer.

Go to System Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control and enable voice control. A small floating window with a microphone icon will be displayed. It will have a label that either says "Wake Up" indicating voice control is not on or "Sleep" indicating voice control is on, and dictation is enabled. Clicking on the label will switch modes.

Speaking "Wake Up" or "Go to Sleep" will also switch modes.

There is also a "Set Voice Control" action in Shortcuts, which you might be able to use similar to how you used an AppleScript for the TTS controller.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

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  • This will need a couple of tweaks for my friend (I'll need to figure out some easy way to open it in the event it gets closed by accident, for example), but this is 95% of the solution I was looking for. Thank you, I wouldn't have found this otherwise!
    – Ckenn
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 5:25

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