Taking Advantage of Dragon Templates
If you use Dragon dictation on a regular basis and haven’t come across template commands yet, this article is for you. In the Dragon voice recognition system, templates allow you to paste text you already typed or dictated. Whether you create a review of systems report, a set of instructions, or a form letter, the Dragon template enables you to use that same block of text again and again.
Most Dragon for Windows and Dragon for Mac applications come with template commands—but not all of them. Be sure to check with your certified Dragon reseller before making a purchase.
Please note: For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on Dragon for Windows template functionality, though much of the same functionality is available on the Mac.
“Auto-texts” vs “Text and Graphics”
Depending on which version of Dragon speech-to-text you’re using, you will see templates referred to in three ways:
- Text and Graphics Commands
- Text Macros
The important thing to notice here is that only Windows commands allow you to use images in your template. This is one of the main differences between Mac and Windows templates.
New Dragon Templates
Here’s a picture of a new Text and Graphics command from Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2:
This is where you give your template a name, which you will use as a voice command. Try to use multiple words, and choose a phrase that you wouldn’t normally dictate otherwise.
Choose “Text and Graphics” to create a Dragon template.
Here’s where you paste, type, or dictate whatever you want to appear in your template.
How to Create a Dragon Template
If you have your text already typed up, you can select it and use the command “Make that a shortcut.” When you do, a new template command will pop up, with your text in the “Content” field.
To learn more, check out our step-by-step instructions to create a Dragon template.
When to Use Dragon Templates
If you use voice dictation regularly, you probably know which blocks of text get repeated. These blocks are perfect for a Dragon speech template. Here are some examples:
- Medical reports
- E-mail responses
- Boilerplate text
Once the text is pasted, you can make any changes you need. There’s even a feature that lets you add placeholders for each change, and navigate from one spot to the next. These placeholders are called variable fields.
What Are Variable Fields?
In a Dragon speech recognition template, variable fields are places where you can fill in information specific to that part of your template. With voice commands, or using a programmable microphone, you have the ability to move from one field to the next. You can even put text in a variable field as a sort of “default value.”
For example, if you had a new client form, part of your template could look like this:
Client Name: [ ]
The square brackets let Dragon know you want to use a variable field. When you call this template up in Dragon Medical Practice Edition 2, the application can be configured to jump to your first variable field, allowing you to get started quickly.
What Are List Variables?
In Dragon voice recognition, list variables allow you to add a field to the title of your template command. That field gives you access to a list of words and phrases that you configure. Once you have it all set up, you can use an item from your list as part of your command phrase during dictation.
Dragon Template Troubleshooting
If you’re trying to use your Dragon template in a specific application—like your EHR, Microsoft Word, or Google Chrome—and it’s not working:
- Does your version of Dragon support the program?
- Does your operating system support the version of Dragon you have?
- Does the application need a Dragon plug-in? Is it installed?
- Does Dragon have full text control within the application?
We’d be happy to troubleshoot any template issues for you. Sign up for a Support Me service agreement, and we’ll get right on it!
Templates With a Voice Recorder
If you are trying to use your Dragon speech-to-text templates when dictating into a digital voice recorder, you might want to reconsider. Templates, especially with variable fields, aren’t set up to work with recorders; you cannot see which part of the template you are dictating into. We have also seen cases where template commands are not recognized.
You can certainly try it out and see what you get, but we don’t recommend depending on template functionality with recorders.
Moving My Dragon Templates
If you have Dragon installed on multiple computers, you can move your templates from one computer to the other. You can also share your templates with other Dragon users—and they with you. In addition, using the same process, you can back your templates up to a folder on the desktop.
Check out this article on moving Dragon templates for more information.