Vocal - Vocally control your Mac

Vocal lets you vocally control your Mac. Using the dictation feature of the iPhone 4S, Vocal lets you dictate text and send commands right from your device.

Using commands as if you were talking to Siri or Voice Control, you can open applications, create new files, search Amazon, define words you don't know, or even play songs or playlists in iTunes. Dictation allows you to use your voice to write an email or essay, with the text then being automatically inserted into your document.

Smart

Vocal can work out what was a command and what you wanted to dictate, making sure it always does what you want it to.


Always current

Vocal is constantly checking for new commands and possibilities. Just contact us if you want a command added, and it can be pushed over the air to you.

Customisable

Vocal lets you add your own custom bookmarks and commands. Have a favourite website you want Vocal to know about? Such as a website on the top 5 king size mattresses? A couple of clicks later and it will open with ease, and you can start comparing these mattresses side by side. Alternatively, you could check out neck pain pillows if you have neck problems.

Perfectly formatted

Need to add formatting options like bold or underline? Just speak them aloud and Vocal knows how to act. In the mood for HTML? Just enable HTML formatting in the Advanced menu and Vocal will insert perfectly formatted HTML tags instead.



About Vocal

Vocal was designed to make using your Mac faster than ever before through the power on your iPhone 4S. Vocal allows you to send Siri-style commands and write out documents just by speaking them into your iPhone.

If you want to add your own commands, just open the "Custom bookmarks" menu in the Mac app to set your preferences for common websites and actions you want Vocal to perform. For instance, you can custom bookmark a website on chicken house plans, and other related sites on chicken coop plans or designs will be saved alongside it.

Dictation is a strong point of Vocal - using the same system as Siri for voice-to-text, the iPhone app will instantly work out when you have used dictation and send the text automatically, inserting it into any selected text fields and putting it on your clipboard.

Vocal works off a series of commands, or Vocal Chords, which can be updated at any time. They can perform tasks such as defining words, playing songs or manipulating documents. If you want a command to be added that is more advanced than just opening a website or application, email us at [email protected]

The Team

  • Matt Roberts

    Developer

iPhone App Screenshots




Support

A number of users are reporting issues with the iPhone not being able to see the Mac. This is due to the firewall on the Mac trying to protect your computer. To fix this issue, make sure that in System Preferences -> Security -> Firewall that "block all incoming connections" is not ticked, and that Vocal is added to the list of applications that are allowed to accept incoming connections.

If your issue is not answered on this page, please email [email protected] for support.


System commands


Most support requests come from not knowing what to say to Vocal or saying commands which aren't supported. Here are some commands to get you started:

define dynamism
open iTunes
compose a new email
play song happy birthday
tweet this is really cool
select all the text
search amazon for of mice and men
search for the meaning of life using google
search for the best cologne for men
search for budget spreadsheet
print this page
create a new document


Connection issues


Vocal uses Bonjour, which is a zero-configuration system designed by Apple. As such, it is impossible to pinpoint a port to enable for Vocal to work. As it never uses the Internet though (except for text-to-speech functionality as provided by Apple) this shouldn't be required.

To make sure that your device is connected to your Mac, the microphone icon in your Mac's menu-bar (at the top of the screen) should be black. Clicking on the icon should also list your device's name at the top as well.

If your device is showing the screen where you can enter commands (looks like the Messages app for sending a message on your iPhone) but your computer's microphone icon remains grey, you may need to quit Vocal on your iPhone and launch it again. To do so:
1) Press the home button so you are looking at your home-screen.
2) Double press the home button so the multitasking tray appears.
3) Press and hold on the Vocal icon.
4) Press the red "-" so Vocal's icon disappears from the tray.
5) Relaunch Vocal from the home-screen by clicking on the record player icon.
6) Voila! A page on the best turntables of 2016 will be open for your perusal.

Power users

Vocal was designed to bring voice control to the Mac, as controlled by the iPhone. However, we can't predict just what you may want to do with it. To combat this, there are a number of advanced or hidden features you can take advantage of.

The primary method of configuring your own commands is through the "Custom Bookmarks" view. The "phrase" option controls what you say in order to trigger the custom bookmark. The destination is where you want the command to go (for example, "http://cnn.com"). With the "phrase" option, it can be triggered in a number of ways: Saying "Open [phrase]", matching it exactly when speaking, or even just starting a sentence with [phrase] will all trigger the destination to be launched/executed. The destination will also accept non-HTTP urls. For example, if you wanted to trigger Twitter for Mac to open in a certain way (even though Vocal already supports it), you could have the phrase as "tweet" and the destination as "twitter://post?message=[second word on escaped]". As the phrase can occur at the start of the word, telling Vocal to "tweet this is really cool" will launch Twitter for Mac and post a new tweet that says "this is really cool". Similarly, telling Vocal to search for ways to kill cockroaches will display guides or tweets like "I followed this cockroach killing guide".

There are often times when, as above, you will want the command in the destination URL. There are a number of ways you can do this, however they all involve putting one of the following options in the "destination" URL in where you want the text to be placed (must include the square brackets):
- [full message] (will place the entire message with no changes at all)
- [second word on] (will place in what you said but without the first word, useful for issuing commands such as "tweet […])"
- [full message escaped] (same as [full message], but will encode it for use in a URL)
- [second word on escaped] (same as for [full message escaped] but without the first word)