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Dragon Starter Guide


Sold by Nuance.  Current version is 13

Premium version– is fine for most users.
Professional version – for users requiring a total hands-free system, includes the ability to write VBA code to automate actions.

Both versions can be purchased via the University Information Service Software Sales website.

PC Memory

For good speech recognition we recommend 4GB of RAM as a minimum for a machine running Windows 7.

Being able to have a variety of applications running and still get good speed from your Dragon system requires at least 6-8 GB of memory.


Both the Professional and the Premium versions may come bundled with a headset.  This headset is generally not sufficient for excellent voice recognition.  The headset usually ends in standard microphone 'jacks'.

The jack's plug directly into the pc's on-board sound card which is often not suitable for good voice recognition.  

Instead, we would recommend buying a better USB headset (usually £30-£50). Either of the following brands are providers of good wired, Dragon compatible, USB headset microphones:

a)      Andrea

b)      Plantronics

Independently Tested Microphones

There are on-line sources of independently tested headsets and microphones:

  1. Knowbrainer: The Dragon recommended, fully tested headsets  
  1. Nuance: The 'Hardware Compatibility List' for Dragon - (Select Dragon NaturallySpeaking from the drop-down list then select either Wired or Wireless Microphones.)

When you are confident that Dragon is a tool that you will use for a significant portion of your work, you may then like to think about a better headset, possibly a wireless one to offer more freedom of movement. 

Use the Knowbrainer and Nuance links to research a better headset.

Soundcards and Accessories

If using a microphone with the two jacks, we recommend using a USB pod which by-passes the soundcard in the pc.

USB pod recommendations:

a)      From the Nuance 'Hardware Compatibility List' page, choose the Adapters (USB, etc) link.

b)      From the Knowbrainer website homepage, choose the 'Soundcards and Accessories' link.

Speech Recognition in Windows 7

General Information - review of Windows 7 Speech Recognition

Windows Speech Recognition On-line Support:

Getting Started and Setting Up

Using Speech Recognition

Dictation and Correcting Mistakes