Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Preferred

by Matthew Harris on May 31, 2006 in Software

There are literally tons of productivity software out there to be had. Some are applications that allow you to do specific things such as create documents, graphs, spreadsheets and do image editing. Others are used to improve your productivity by allowing you to have better control over the software you are using. Some increase the abilities of the software and some increase the abilities of the user. Today we’re looking at one that does the latter.


If you’re a geek you’re generally a Science Fiction fan. In sci-fi, as it’s known by fans of the genre, one of the common themes that we see in many films and TV shows is the ability to interface with a computer vocally. Indeed this has long been one of the dreams of many geeks that I know. Today I’m taking a look at a piece of software that allows you to achieve this to some degree.

No, you won’t have your PC talking to you in the Valium leaden tones of Hal nor will it ask you to “clarify” in the voice of Majel Barrett because it won’t understand anything but the most basic of commands. In fact, it’s largely used to do dictation although if you want to take the time you can set it up to do more but only marginally more.

The software in question is Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Preferred. I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the name and may have dabbled with earlier versions of the software yourselves. I had the basic version of Dragon back in 2000, Dragon NaturallySpeaking 4 Essentials. The differences between the version I had and the newer version are varied but I’m not going to go into any depth here since they’re 6 years apart. In fact, sadly, I’m not going to go too far into the abilities of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Preferred because it tried my patience to the degree that working with it was more of a trial than going about things the old fashioned way.

As you can see the packaging claims you can possibly triple your speed by using Dragon for creating documents rather than typing. I can see how this is possible but sadly it’s one of those things that looks great on paper but falls short in reality. I used Dragon to write one review and what a mixed bag that was. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. First let’s take a quick look at what Nuance has to say about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Preferred shall we?