Dragon for Mac

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    Jon B.
    Dragon 6 Performance
    Topic posted September 1, 2016 by Jon B., tagged Troubleshooting 
    1773 Views, 28 Comments
    Dragon 6 Performance

    It takes 47 seconds for Dragon 6 to launch the edit vocabulary window. It comes up right away, but a beach ball spins for the remaining 46.5 seconds.

    Rather than being negative, let me pose the following question: shouldn't Nuance be beta-testing new releases with users so these bugs get squashed before a general release?

    Dragon for Mac 5


    • Kevin Briggs

      Here! Here!

      I purchased the upgrade to version 6 this morning and have been using it for several hours today. While the accuracy is excellent, I'm greatly disappointed with the number of bugs! I really wonder how much beta testing occurred or whether (more probably) the beta tester feedback was actually implemented.

      Version 6 crashed within the first 5 minutes of use, for instance.

      I use Dragon Dictate in Microsoft Word (current version is 15.25) 99% of the time and I'm always hoping that the makers of Dictate will finally clear up the numerous issues associated with using it within Word. Unfortunately, Nuance never seems to address such issues.

      Foremost among these is the fact that Dictate sometimes loses its place in the midst of dictation, i.e. the cursor will lose its position and insert itself either couple of characters behind its original location or an entire line ahead, and all of this out of the blue.

      Additionally, the Correction dialog box remains a mess. With respect to such correction, Dictate continues to be unable to remember anything more than about a paragraph of what you have dictated. In other words, if you attempt to correct a word within that same paragraph, Dictate functions normally – specifically, it presents you with 5 or more options in the dialog box. But if you want to correct a word or phrase that is 3-4 paragraphs ago, when you attempt to utilize the Correction dialog box it only presents you with 1 correction option – the exact same word or phrase you are attempting to correct. It's like it has completely lost its memory. It is absolutely maddening!

      I utilize NaturallySpeaking to do the vast majority of my business dictation simply because I have never been able to rely on Dictate for my business needs. (I either virtualize NaturallySpeaking within VMware's Fusion or I use a Windows-based machine here in the office.) Every time Nuance releases a new version of Dictate I get my hopes up that they will have finally produced a business-worthy and dependable application like NaturallySpeaking. I am disappointed each and every time.

      Version 6 simply carries on this profound disappointment.

      • Steven Bernstein

        I also purchased the upgrade, dictated an entire outline on the "pad" of a feature film and it then crashed. It won't let me use it with word directly. A day's work lost and I can't find the file. Is there no auto-save function?

        I love voice recognition, but this product is indeed very "buggy."  I am hoping customer service has improved. 



    • Kevin Briggs

      I’ve been using Dictate for a couple of additional hours earlier today and I can say without any hesitation whatsoever that this is the buggiest version of Dictate ever!

      I mean what is up with Vocabulary Editor? I simply added one new word (including training that new word) and Vocabulary Editor causes the entire app to freeze for about ten minutes. The little colored beach ball icon was spinning and spinning for what seemed like forever. I simply went on to another application and began conducting other work. About 10 minutes later Dictate has finally recovered and you are able to use the app again.

      This is really pathetic.

      I have been using voice recognition for 25 years, all the way back to when the voice recognition applications were something other than NaturallySpeaking, Power Secretary for the Mac and something else for PCs (I can’t remember offhand). The point being, I can never remember a more buggy release of a voice recognition app than Dictate 6.0.

      While I am certainly not in the know, it is my strong opinion that Nuance schedules annual releases of NaturallySpeaking and Dictate, of course, and wherever the coders are when the date rolls around — whether the application is buggy or not, whether they have been able to fully address issues or not, etc. — they simply release the products on those dates and then play cleanup for the remainder of the year if necessary. (In this regard, NaturallySpeaking is light years ahead of Dictate and usually doesn’t require much cleanup. I also purchased the latest update of NaturallySpeaking yesterday and once again it is head and shoulders above Dictate.)

      I certainly hope that the department of Nuance that handles the development of Dictate can get their act together soon.

    • Wayne Connor

      I too am so disappointed with this product  and agree with the post above. Dragon has such a loyal base of users,  why can't Nuance show some respect for its customers by either having some kind of a beta test program to get rid of some of the bugs before they do a general release,  or do some software testing to make sure they get rid of these bugs before they sell the software.

       I'm not sure whether to feel sorry for the staff and management at Nuance,  or to be angry at them.  I used to have a product that I paid good money for that worked.  Over the years I have been upgrading the product in the hope that they will release a version that is stable and without bugs. 

      The worst thing in the whole situation is that if a customer has paid for a version,  for example,  version 5,  Nuance should really keep supporting version 5 and fixing version 5 until it is bug free.  Instead, they release a $475  upgrade to version 6,  which has more bugs than version 5.  

      I wonder if Nuance has given up  trying to create a good product for Macintosh? Maybe they think  they can't compete with Siri so they are just throwing minimal resources at Dragon for Macintosh?  It would be nice to have some feedback from Nuance on these problems.





    • Marius Raabe

      Well, since Dragon for Mac 6 has not been published in German, I'm not really in a good position to comment on its performance. But reading the posts here makes me want to reiterate my standard recommendation as an experienced user of previous versions:

      Many (not all) problems can be worked around by dictating into TextEdit, correcting paragraph by paragraph and then transferring the results to your desired application (like Word, Outlook, Mail) using copy and paste. The latter process can be handily automatized by user-generated voice commands. I even managed to assign an AppleScript to a button of my SpeechMike (which is a bit tricky).

      If Dragon quits on you, you will not lose any of your dictation because TextEdit is stable.

      Needless to say, I share everyone's frustration with Nuance's failure to live up to its claims regarding dictation into Word and other applications. Also, it goes without saying that the Windows version of Dragon is superior regarding stability and integration of target applications. On the other hand, everybody around here as his or her reasons to use OSX. So, we will have to make do with the performance of Dragon for Mac. Adhering to the above recommendation, I can be reasonably productive dictating on my Macs (which I use at home and on the road while sticking to a Windows machine at work).

      • Mark Vanderslice



        Thanks for the advice about using TextEdit.  Dragon is lightening fast dictating into it compared to using Dragon with Pages which is slightly faster than I can type but sooooo slow in comparison.  So much for the improved version.

    • Mary Crawford

      Carryover problems from  Dragon Dictate 5.0 for Mac:

      It still routinely crashes for no apparent reason.

      It still loses its place during corrections and randomly inserts letters and numbers and spaces.

      It still becomes dyslexic randomly and will  scramble  the first  word of dictation without notice.

       It still will delete half of your Facebook post if you need to make a correction at any point or if you use the New Line or New Paragraph command.

       Problems new to Dragon Dictate 6.0:

       EVERYTHING TAKES FOREVER! Even something as simple as turning your mic on and off takes forever and a day. Did they not beta test  this with real people who have real jobs to do? In theory, it might've been a good idea to save the files every time you turn the mic on and off, but for those of us who work in the real world, we turn on and off our microphones hundreds of times a day.   Bad idea!

      Now instead of just  messing up and quitting, the 6.0 version just stops working and gives you a spinning beach ball. There is no force it quit functioning and no  work around. In order to get out of this  endless loop, you have to close every program you are currently working on and completely shut the computer down and start over. Now, if Dragon only had an issue once or twice a day, it might not be a problem, but when it's four or five times an hour, it's completely disruptive to a workday.


       In case you think I'm kidding, I am an author with severe cerebral palsy, that means I am a power user of voice activation software. I routinely dictate 5 to 7000 words a day. I am also a long-term Dragon user, I have used Dragon products since before they had numbers. I have been at this game long enough to resent having to pay to be a beta tester which is essentially what you've done the last two releases. I have repeatedly on this board and others volunteered to test your product in the real world, but no one has taken me up on the offer.  Come on, get it together guys. There are those of us for whom this is not just a toy, it's the way we cope with life.

      • Zach Broham

        Hi Mary, I have had a lot of the problems you mention both before I upgraded and now that I have six. And, as you mentioned, six is even worse. It is such a shame that nuance treats paying customers like this. As far as the workaround on the freeze, I have also had to shut down my computer. I learned a different way that is faster: if you open up activity monitor on your Mac, you can force quit Dragon this way and you do not have to actually shutdown your computer. Good luck!

        • River Malcolm

          Hey Zach - BIG thank you for the work around via activity monitor. That will save considerable time. Of course I wish DD would integrate their program with the Mac platform so that one could quit and forcequit the program through "normal" channels, but oh well. I too use Mac for a variety of reasons and depend heavily on DD. So this workaround helps. Also the advice not to upgrade. I have enough problems with 5 - I do not want more. Also whoever first made the textedit suggestion - thank you so much. it changed my life. Big smile.


    • asdub

      DD for Mac 6 is crashing every few minutes when working with Word 2016 for Mac. When it works. accuracy seems excellent - but it would help if it actually didn't crash - come on Nuance - get this together - otherwise it's the same conversation again and again- getting a little tiresome for all of us loyal consumers who have spent a lot of time and money investing ion this 'great' product!

    • Mark Vanderslice

      It's unbelievable the amount and variety of bugs that I've encountered with Version 6.0 similar to the other posts as well as having dialog boxes appear that are blank and  can't be closed without shutting down the program and restarting.  A moment ago I had transcription appear as Chinese or Kanji text. 

      I also dictate into Pages and find that Dragon 6.0 continues to be very slow and the transcription greatly lacks the dictation.

      I strongly recommend that you do not download this version until these bugs are corrected.  I'm also very disappointed that Nuance would put out such an unstable version.  I will be contacting customer service and asking for a refund and see how I can get my old version 5 back.  What a waste of $99.00 and four (4) hours of my time.

      I seem to be getting the same issues, bugs, quirks and crashes that have been posted already.  In addition, I've had

      Since my earlier post and attempts to Dictate with Dragon 6.0,  I’ve had episodes after crashes were the cursor jumps around in multiple locations on my document inserting fragments of the text I just dictated.  This *** resulted in having to go back to try and find all the gibberish and fragments that just got inserted.  

      I’ll call it quits for today/tonight and see what happens when I call for Tech Support tomorrow.  

      Another thing that is bothersome are the prices that Nuance seems to be charging customers.  It looks like there are prices all over the board from $300 down to $90.  i paid $99.00 for an upgrade from Version 5.

      I’ve been a long-term user of Dragon on the Mac and other than Version 1.0, this is been by far the worst release I've seen as far as bugs and erratic behavior in a program version that's virtually useless.  Actually worse than useless since I was doing very great with version 5.01.  So much for being a Alpha or Beta Tester and having to pay for it as well.

    • Wayne Connor

      Is it possible to turn off the integration with Apple pages so that Dragon just treats Apple like any other software and pastes the completed phrases in as a whole?  With this integration it seems to paste everything in letter by letter and it is soooooo slow!  It also causes Apple pages to crash a lot.


    • Achim

      I'm back to typing on my steno machine (with the free app Plover). Though I'm not too fast yet (100 wpm max.), it's still faster than correcting the random characters Dragon6 often inserts when I try to correct anything. And I can use Plover anywhere I like, even typing keyboard shortcuts and navigating with it, so I don't have to use the qwerty keyboard in between (I also use Keyboard Maestro to be able to trigger any macro/Applescript/Spotlight etc. by steno strokes).

      Seems I have to get up to speed with steno and wait for speech recognition to catch up in a few years hopefully (or rather, the app implementing the already rather good speech recognition to be reliable and stable).


      • Marius Raabe

        With all due respect, that seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If you cannot come to terms with Dragon for Mac, why don't you try Dragon for Windows (using a Windows bootcamp partition or a virtual machine)? Works reliably and stable.

        • Achim

          Your proposal is completely unreasonable.

          I bought Dragon for Mac, which is so buggy right now as to be unusable. Why should I spent another penny on a Windows version, not to speak of paying for Windows and e.g. Scrivener for Win on top? Spend time to learn the quirks of a different OS? Sacrifice part of my HD for Bootcamp?

          The problems apparently affect many "early adopters" of DPI Mac. I expect nothing less than a quick hotfix (at least for the non-existent Command window for a start). For an app in DPI's price category, I think that's not too much to ask for.

          • Marius Raabe


            Your first post could be interpreted that you were of the opinion that speech recognition applications in general would need some more years to me ready for prime time. My sole point was that there already is a highly reliable and stable application, albeit for another operating system and - sadly - not for OSX. Also, I would not bet on Dragon for Mac ever being as stable and functional as Dragon for Windows. AFAIK, this is partly due to the restrictions Apple imposes on third-party applications regarding accessibility for security reasons. Therefore, Dragon will always have a hard time to "know" the text on display in Word and other target applications. Of course, this is absolutely no excuse for the grossly exaggerated marketing claims of Nuance, let alone all the other bugs you speak of.

            In this light, everybody has to decide for himself or herself what is "completely unreasonable". My reasoning is that I strongly prefer to be productive using speech recognition and to keep my office running smoothly (and do not care much about hard disk space or licensing costs). Dragon for Mac (v5) is OK for home use and occasional weekend work (when adhering to my recommendation regarding TextEdit), but day-to-day professional text production needs stronger tools.


            • Achim

              Luckily I'm not dependent on speech recognition. At work my main computer is also an iMac – and I doubt my colleagues would welcome if I babbled to it all the time. So when I have to write a lot, I also use steno there (using a little 3D-printed machine built around an Arduino).

              If I had a business that absolutely depends on Dragon, I probably would have switched to Win years ago (or rather find a new job where I can work on a Mac ...).

              The accessibility restrictions are not applying to Dragon, as it must be given full access by the user in the corresponding system preference (which is also true for Plover to be able to send keystrokes to any app and to delete the last strokes). Apps given those rights can virtually do anything on that machine – Keyboard Maestro being a good example.

          • Jesse

            Achim, See my thread at the top level of this forum on how to fix the Show Commands window. Apparently one or more of the Command files in ~Library/Application Support/Dragon/Commands gets corrupted and wi;; cause the Show Commands function to break. Deleting either those files or the whole folder, which gets resurrected after introducing and calibrating your Mic again will fix the problem.

    • Andrew Meit

      Omg. Clearly corp really does not care about testing and rewarding those who do the hard work of testing. About 15 yrs ago I talked with the head tester of an older version of Nuance; she told me not to look for feature pairity, feature completeness or full mac support to ever come from them. I see she was right all along. I guess my 3 hrs with the lead developers last year was a complete waste. What good is improved UI when the guts don't work. ***, am not paying for an upgrade now. I will not be burned twice; have to wait many months for fixes. I struggle to save up to pay for the upgrades being on SSI/SNAP. 

    • asdub

      Dear all,

      Despite all of our protestations here on this forum, Nuance is very slow to respond, if at all. Might it be an idea if we could draft a "petition" which we can all sign to, which make our issues and views clear. We can put this petition here, on Facebook and also post to Nuance HQ (if any of our US users could do this).

      I am sure that many of you behave exactly as I do: we love the idea that the Mac version of this product will someday provide the efficiency we all need, so we keep investing in updates in the hope that this might eventually happen. For some reason which at this stage is beyond my understanding, this simply is not happening in the Mac version, whereas, a sister product exists for Windows. Unfortunately, especially because Nuance is, frankly, a failure in responding to our views on this forum, our faith in the product is not met with any adequate response, and this leads to the frustration we are all feeling. We feel a crescendo of excitement on the eve of downloading a new version of this product, only then to be disappointed that many of the issues which existed in the previous version simply have not been sorted out. We then keep asking the same questions, only to be met by the same silence. This is simply not acceptable, bad business practice, and ethically poor from a consumer perspective (I am being polite!).

      Your ideas would be welcome. At least, we can protest in the 'best' way possible.



      • Sanford Lewis

        I agree. I also feel like I was tricked into upgrading to the 6.0 version with the discount. If I had thought it was $99 to be a beta tester I would not have done it, no way. SHAME on nuance. 

    • Wayne Connor

      I wonder if Nuance have given up on the Mac side of things. Maybe they think it is inevitable that Apple will take them over with SIRI so they are supporting their PC product and just porting it across to Mac to make a side income but not putting a lot of resources into it. Who knows. Time will tell. Or maybe Apple have hired all Nuances best engineers? 

      The Dragon articles on my Apple site (http://macintoshhowto.com) are some of my most popular articles, have a total of 41,282 hits on just the dragon articles. My early reviews were positive but the last 2 sadly are not so positive, and I have noticed a similar trend form other reviewers.  Hopefully Nuance will take this feedback on board.

      I think the best thing to do is take your version 6 back for a refund. Version 5 is very usable. Or if you are in the USA you could try to ask them for a free upgrade to version 6. If version 5 was never bug free there could be a case for a free upgrade to a version that will continue to be supported. 

      And Nuance, if you are reading this you need to realise that you have a very loyal user base who really would love to support and help you and they want for this to be a good product. Good communication would go a long way to helping clear things up. And if you can't afford to do your own in-house software testing for the Mac product, some kind of beta testing before public release would be a good idea. 



    • Steven Folberg

       A few days ago, I got so frustrated with version 6 that I sent Tim Cook at Apple an email about the sorry state of speech recognition on the Mac in general and with Dragon Dictate in particular. I know that sometimes he actually answers customers' emails, and the word on the street is that even if he doesn't, his people do read all of them. I told him, in essence, how bad things are with Nuance and the Mac platform at the moment and told him that someone who actually cares about OS X needs to license this technology from Nuance and develop a first-rate version of this program. Although it is true (I mentioned) that there is some built-in speech-to-text functionality in OS X itself, it's certainly not adequate for serious document composition. Who knows, maybe somebody with some influence will see that email. I am also toying with the idea of asking for a refund for Version 6. However, it seems to me that the Version 6 installer got rid of Version 5, so I don't know how I would go about dropping back to that. Any ideas?

      • JIM FERRI

        As a writer and editor I am heavily dependent on Dragon to transcribe my recordings that I make while traveling. I had high hopes for V. 6 after all of the problems with V.5. I have the exact same problems that all of us making comments here seem to share. The major issue is that Nuance has wiped V. 5 off my Mac so I can't move ahead with V. 6 or go back to 5 (despite the issues there at least I was able to transcribe).  This is obviously a case of false advertising by Nuance in that it promises one thing and then doesn't deliver on the product promised.

        Does anyone know of any way to transcribe MP3 and MP4 tapes on a Mac?

    • Ray C

      Are there any happy users of version 6??

      I have been using version 4 for some time now and been reasonably happy with it. I have been considering moving up to version 6, but the complaints I have found here are pretty disturbing. I wonder whether anyone actually is happy with version 6, and if not, whether they had had success in reverting to earlier versions. That is, if one installs version 6 is that destructive of necessary files in earlier versions?

      Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • David Allen

      I have to add my voice to this moan about v6.

      The software put out is of inferior quality and Nuance should be using proper beta testers rather than expecting the end users to be mugs and pay for the privilege. I have experienced crashes with the new version. The Commands window does not show usually. When editing Dragon will go back to some other words in the text rather than the one it was told to select. Still getting that weird behaviour when odd characters are put at the end of a dictation. Instead of being an upgrade it has been a down grade.

      On the good side - Good to see the correction window sticking around for longer than it did in the v5. V6 can work fast which is great when it is not misbehaving. I have seen evidence of the machine learning. I made a correction to some text and later was offered the correction rather than the word it thought I said in the first time around. So it was learning from my editing of dictation.

      I am so looking forward to the update on the 26th of Sept and have my fingers crossed a good job will have been done!