How do you get a list of Speech Commands for an application in Vista?

We often get requests for lists of availiable speech commands in Vista applications.  The challenge for most people is that when given these lists they can only rememeber a few commands for few applications. To address this challenge we employ


“Say what you can see” as the basic principle behind the Windows Speech Recognition (WSR) UI in Vista.


Of course sometimes you can see a control but you don’t know what it’s called, for example this is the case with the playback controls in Windows Media Player.  To find out what these controls are called you can hover the mouse over them or you can say “show numbers”.  You can then speak the number of the desired control followed by the word “OK” and the control will be activated as well as displaying the name of the control in the speech recognition notification area.  


Typically if there is text associated with a control or action you can speak any sub string and have the control activated.  In the event that there’s ambiguity regarding what control you want to activate the system will highlight the possible controls and ask you to say the number of the desired control followed by the word “OK”.


For more details on how to get the most out of Windows Speech Recognition (WSR) please consider taking the tutorial.


I'll close with one special consideration (beyond general SR limitations) that might cause you difficulties. If the system isn't always recognizing what you've said it’s possible that you aren't waiting long enough for WSR to interrogate the application to obtain all of it's commands.  The blue doughnut in the Windows Speech control indicates that it is still obtaining information from the application.  While the blue doughnut is present, not all commands will be available.  And finally, be sure that command or item you are trying to speak is visible. If you can't see it you can't say it!

Comments (2)

  1. a_chameleon says:

    If this helps, too..

    Here’s a URL that lists/links to, the seven posts from Rob Chambers, that cover practically every command possible inside Vista!


    Bill Burke

  2. From I’m very pleased to announce that first Technical Preview of Windows Speech Recognition Macros is

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