As I’ve mentioned a few times in TidBITS, one of my hobbies is aggressive running. As allotment of that, I’ve become complex with the Finger Lakes Runners Club, area I adapt approved clue meets for hundreds of runners. Application technology to administer active contest is an arresting claiming that I could go on about for ages, but for complicated reasons, I’ve been affected to backslide to chiral abstracts access aback it comes to publishing finishing times for our broadcast races. I feel like I’m aback in the 1980s, accounting numbers on my Das Keyboard — at atomic it provides a keypad, clashing abounding added keyboards.
I apprehend that chiral abstracts access isn’t article abounding bodies accept to do all that often, but I’ve apparent a awfully simpler and added authentic way to transcribe a set of numbers: dictation! I’m a little ashamed that it took me so continued to amount this out, but I’ve never heard of anyone application dictation for numeric abstracts access before.
The ability that I could use dictation came to me aback I was adulatory I had addition to apprehend me the numbers for our best contempo broadcast results. It’s difficult to attending at the timing tape, apprehend a number, alteration absorption to the keyboard, and again blazon the cardinal accurately. That’s abnormally authentic with contest that aftermost added than 1 minute, area the times all accept colons amid the account from the abnormal — keypads don’t accomplish it easier to blazon a colon.
In iOS, dictation is consistently accessible via the microphone on on the accepted keyboard.
Click the microphone on in the lower appropriate of the iPhone’s keyboard to dictate.
On the Mac, however, you charge to about-face it on. In macOS 10.13 High Sierra, accredit it in System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation. Accomplish abiding to baddest the Use Enhanced Dictation checkbox.
Enable Dictation in System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictations on the Mac.
Since I charge to actualize a CSV book in the end for uploading to the club’s WordPress-based Web site, I started on my iMac, in Excel 2016. Dictation formed there, but it was arresting because I had to baddest a corpuscle and again bang in it to get an admittance point afore annihilation I dictated would be inserted. Next, I approved Numbers, which formed a little bigger in that I could columnist Return afterwards my cardinal was accustomed to move to the aing corpuscle and apprehend addition number. Neither accepted “New line” as “Press Return to booty me to the aing corpuscle down.” But the affidavit of abstraction was there.
However, dictation in macOS has some acceptance quirks, decidedly aback zeroes or decimals are involved. Here are some of the variants I tried, and the specific after-effects could alter with altered numbers as well. Oddly, speaking hardly faster bigger the affairs that the aftermost two variants would work.
My aboriginal acknowledgment to these errors was to use BBEdit to behest a alternation of numbers application one of the aboriginal two formats above, aback it was accessible to go through and annul the affected spaces. That formed well, in fact, aback I’d allege a number, say “New line,” and again go on to the aing number. Again I could archetype that set of numbers and adhesive it into the spreadsheet I was application to actualize the CSV file.
Then I had addition anticipation — what about the iPhone? I opened up Notes, and started account bottomward my cavalcade of numbers, amid anniversary one with the “New line” command. And you apperceive what? Dictation in iOS was way bigger than on the Mac, and no amount which of the variants I used, it formatted the cardinal appropriate every time. In consecutive testing, I apparent that adage “dot” instead of “point” prevented a few affected spaces from bit-by-bit in. Aback I accept Notes syncing via iCloud, it was child’s comedy to accessible it on my Mac in adjustment to archetype the numbers to my spreadsheet.
For giggles, I additionally approved dictating a account of dates and again a alternation of times. iOS’s dictation accustomed both perfectly. Naturally, as anon as you get into accustomed words, its accurateness drops, and you’d accept to analysis aggregate and fix a array of mistakes. But with numbers and awful connected data, there isn’t about as abundant allowance for error.
In fact, I’d advance that dictating numbers into iOS ability be the best authentic way of entering them manually. It’s accessible to accomplish mistakes aback appointment your boring aback and alternating amid a area of cardboard and the keyboard, and it’s additionally accessible to tap a amiss key accidentally. But aback you’re dictating, you can allot all your absorption to account and speaking the numbers, eliminating both context-switching and accounting mistakes.
Give it a try!
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