Writing Setup

How I Setup Dragon to Dictate in Emacs

Saving my hands one spoken word at a time

Kristle Chester
2 min readOct 8, 2021

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Author provided image showing her dictating in Emacs.

Making Emacs and Dragon Professional 15 play nicely together requires five minutes and a copy of Window Detective — a freely available open-source program.

This method enables a dumb Dragon without full Select-and-Say capability. I created custom Dragon commands that use Emacs’ built-in editing capabilities instead. This works for me, but I’ve also spent the last 20 years living in Emacs. Your mileage may vary.

Setup Dragon to Work with Emacs

Open Window Detective and Emacs side-by-side.

Click the “Pick window” button in Window Detective and drag it over to Emacs.

Right-click on the selected item in Window Detective and click properties. Write down the window name from the selected item on the left side and the window class name from the Window Class tab in the properties.

Locate the nsapps.ini file associated with your Dragon installation. Right-click on the file and select open as administrator.

Scroll to the bottom and enter the following:

[WindowName]
App Support GUID={dd100104-6205-11cf-ae61-0000e8a28647}
[WindowName\Enable Class Names]
WindowClassName=-1

Edit the values to match your installation. Here’s mine.

[Emacs]
App Support GUID={dd100104-6205-11cf-ae61-0000e8a28647}
[Emacs\Enable Class Names]
Emacs=-1

Per this post from Nuance, do not change the GUID.

Save your nsapps.ini file and restart Dragon.

That’s it.

Happy dictating!

I’m a dedicated member of the Church of Emacs and the Cult of Dragon Professional. (Not really, but the looks I get when I tell people I prefer Emacs over their shiny new writing program suggest they think I’ve lost my mind.) Over the last fourteen years, my workflow has evolved to protect my joints and largely succeeded. Because I don’t type. I speak.

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Kristle Chester

Freelancer. Data geek. Gardener. Baker. Spaniel lover. Georgian. MA International Commerce and Policy.