How to Get Your Dragon to Behave in Scrivener

Happy Monday to all the Story Empire readers. It’s so good to be back with all of you once again to share a few helpful (hopefully) thoughts. Today I wanted to share a few tweaks so that you can use Dragon Naturally Speaking with Scrivener. Let’s jump right in and get to it.

Dictation with Dragon & Scrivener

Nuance created Dragon NaturallySpeaking

For those who may have missed my last few posts, I will include a few links back to those so that you can get more detailed information about Dragon. I’ve been using Dragon now for a couple of months which has allowed me to make significant progress in two novel projects. In fact, I am working on both projects at the same time as I write this post. That’s the power of Dragon; I can dictate while I’m in the car and edit the other book at nigh. I am making significant progress on the current rough draft which I should finish this week. Meanwhile, at night, I’m working to polish the rough draft of the other book. I am using Dragon to do some editing, even in Scrivener, which I will get into further down the post.

As a Scrivener user, it is important to me that I use Dragon in relation to my favorite writing software so that I can get the most out of both. This dual usage allows me to make rather eye-opening progress every day. The first detail to understand is that if you are either dictating directly into a document or transcribing into Scrivener from an MP3 file, you need to be aware a couple of ways to approach this setup.

Because there is a default setting turned on in Dragon, you will find that a dictation box will open when you’re using Dragon with Scrivener. The reason for this is that the setting is for software with which Dragon has no integration. This does not mean that Dragon cannot be used directly with Scrivener, but you must change a setting to do so. However, you can use Dragon either way and easily dictate into your Scrivener projects and documents.

With the default setting, either when dictating or transcribing from a file, a dictation box will open up. This isn’t a big deal, other than the dictation box may work more slowly than dictating directly into Scrivener. The dictation box can work very well and is easy to use. It simply opens, if the default setting is turned on, when you start dictating or transcribing into Scrivener. Once you are done with dictation, you simply click a button to transfer the text into the document which you already clicked into to begin your session.

However, for most of us who are Scrivener users, we’d like to use the software directly. Fortunately, there is a way to do just that. Here are the instructions:

  1. Go to the Dragon menu so that it expands and you will see a list of command buttons which you can click.

2. Next, click on Tools to get the drop-down menu from which you will then click on Options.
3. Once you have the Options box open, you will click on the Miscellaneous tab.
4. Near the bottom of the window you will click to un-check the box for “Use the Dictation Box for unsupported applications.”

Once you have turned off the setting, you will be able to click into your documents so that you have a cursor, and then begin to dictate or transcribe directly into your project. Dictating directly into Scrivener can be faster than using the dictation box so you might want to give it a try. However, be aware that since Scrivener is not a supported software in Dragon, then you may find that it occasionally may do something incorrect as it interprets your words.

If you find that you are having problems using Dragon and Scrivener together because the commands interrupt your dictation, you may need to turn off commands. Additionally, if you are transcribing this may become a problem. The quick way around this is to hover on the Dragon toolbar to expand it. Where you see “now listening for…” on the right side, click the drop-down menu and set Dragon to “dictation” rather than “dictation and commands.”

Re-Writing with Dragon and Scrivener

Moving on to my current usage of Dragon with editing, I am mainly working with a rough draft that I want to polish for proposals. This means I don’t have to do any heavy editing for major structural changes at the moment. I just need a cleaner copy. I can approach this with some of my own techniques for working through these fairly quickly. However, I have chosen to use Dragon to test creating a rewrite out of the entire book. In this instance, I use Dragon with Scrivener.

To accomplish this re-write, I compile the entire manuscript into an EPUB file. Then I load the EPUB file onto a e-book reader so that I can read the text aloud. Then, I simply turn on Dragon and click into a new document for the chapter on which I am working, and then begin dictating again. My intention here is to correct mistakes while I’m reading from my rough draft so that what I have is cleaner. Additionally, I may add some details which were left out were leave out unnecessary words and phrases. In this way I can progress rather quickly with a pretty clean version.

Of course, I’m just testing this method to see how accurate it can be, but I have found that more I use Dragon more more consistent it becomes. Since Scrivener is not a supported software, there are a few things that I have to do manually in the software such as center a heading and those sorts of things. Since I am testing this polishing method, I will report back on how well it goes, but so far it seems to be rather clean. My main goal is getting further along in the projects by maximizing my time. The finished project will require more intensive work without Dragon at a later time.

So those are a few ways you can use Dragon in conjunction with Scrivener for your writing projects. If you have other experiences with dictation that you would like to share or questions to ask, please leave them in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Again, I list out some resources for Dragon that you may find helpful, including my previous posts.


The Writing Guide to Training Your Dragon by Scott Baker (read this before purchasing  since the early chapters cover buying decisions).

5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox (a good, general book to increase your words per hour that includes some tips about dictation).

Quick Cheats For Writing With Dragon by Scott Baker

My digital recorder.

My microphone.

Clearing a Logjam

The Benefits of Dictation

YouTube video tutorial from Literature and Latte

One last thing, no one at Story Empire makes anything from these links – no affiliate links are involved in this post. Likewise, we do not support the software – contact the software companies if you have problems.

P.H. Solomon


50 thoughts on “How to Get Your Dragon to Behave in Scrivener

  1. Pingback: Get the Most Out of Dictation With These Tips | Story Empire

  2. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links | Staci Troilo

  3. Thank you, PH, for this very useful post. If anyone at Story Empire has suggestions about the best way to prepare an ebook/kindle book, I would love to hear them. I am not happy with the current versions of my books but don’t know how to go about changing them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just got Dragon over the weekend. Remembering to speak the punctuation is awkward, but my learning curve is already improving. I can see this becoming a huge benefit to my writing time. Thanks for sharing your experiences with it.

    Liked by 3 people

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