Dictating a “new line” in the macOS

Recently I dictated my wife’s travel notes using Pages on my iPhone and then transferred them to our computers. It went smoothly.

Then I wanted to list the captions for my photos from the trip tol be displayed on our Web site. But, instead of using the iPhone keyboard to edit and make corrections, I wanted to use a full keyboard.

So, I tried to dictate the list in both Pages and MS Word on my MacBook Pro. When dictation was activated (using fn-D) and I read my list, the words appeared, but when I said the command, “new line” to go to add next caption, nothing happened. The dictated text remained on the same line, until I clicked “DONE on the microphone icon that accompanies dictation. Then the list sorted itself into the format I expected. So, “new line” only worked post facto. If you have a long list of items, you have to either type the list on a single line, intoning “new line” between them until you close the dictation. Or else, stop dictation every so often to see the results so far.

At that point, I consulted the Web and found that others have encountered this problem. (It was there that I learned, that the “new line” command was obeyed once you stopped dictating.)

There is another way you can evoke a new line with that command that works as it should, but you have to switch to the Mac’s Voice Control in the Accessibility in the System Preferences window. I consider this overkill for a feature that has been part of dictation for a long time.

The strategy I finally devised grew out of my travel notes dictation on the iPhone. I open a new blank template in Pages on my iPhone and dictate the list. Because the page resides in the cloud, a copy appears in Pages on my MacBook Pro and my dictated content appears, properly formatted, about a 20 seconds later.

As it turns out, instead of shouting at the MacBook screen, dictating to a Pages document by talking into an iPhone is a lot more comfortable. There on the screen, my list magically appears, slightly delayed and properly formatted.