Sending Email with Voice Control

Since Catalina shipped on the Mac, I’ve been using Voice Control a lot to dictate text to my machine. After using it now for several months, I would say that it is not as good as Dragon (which shockingly still works in Catalina), but not far behind. One of the things you can do with Dragon is give your computer commands to take specific actions. For instance, with Dragon, when I would be writing an email reply with my voice, simply saying “Send this Email” would be enough to trigger the same command in the email application and send it off.

Voice Control window.png

It is not obvious, but you can also do that with Voice Control. In the voice control accessibility settings, there is a button labeled “Commands…”. Clicking on that gives you a list of the default navigation commands built into voice control. Clicking the plus button lets you add your own. The interface is pretty self-explanatory. You type in the new voice command you want to use and, unless you are creating a global command, link it to a specific application. In this case, I’m using the Apple Mail application, and the command is “Send this Email.” There are several different types of actions you can take with these commands, including opening Finder items, opening URLs, placing text or data, pressing a keyboard shortcut (which I’m using here), selecting a menu item, or running a workflow. If you spend a little bit of time on this, you can do some quite advanced features was just your voice.

Adding Command with Voice Control.png

Unfortunately, there is no way to chain multiple commands together. It would be nice if you could have it press one keyboard shortcut and then pause and then press another. (You could possibly get around this with a workflow). Also, the commands do not sync with iCloud. The same mechanism exists on the iPhone and iPad but is implemented differently. I’ll make an explainer post on custom commands on iOS with another post, but understand you’ll need to create the Commands there separately.

I have only prepared a few them so far one to archive email and one to send an email, but I use those every day. If you were going to use Voice Control, you should take up the time to set up your most common custom commands.