Taking it to the Next Level

(Please Note: We use the standard M*Modal keyboard shortcuts throughout this blog post. However, your company may have set up customized keyboard shortcuts. Please contact your account manager to obtain the list of keyboard shortcuts utilized by your company.)

Over the last few months, we have provided you with a lot of information, concepts, shortcuts, and tips.  You have read through the articles, practiced the exercises, and really know your shortcuts inside and out.  Now you feel you’re ready to take it to the next level!  That is where using the audio shortcuts comes into play.  It is best to start using these shortcuts when you feel completely comfortable in your editing environment and using the navigational/editing keyboard shortcuts.  When you have gotten to that point, controlling your audio with the audio keyboard shortcuts can really help boost your productivity.

Using the audio keyboard shortcuts  allows you to modify the rate of playback quickly, efficiently, and seamlessly.  Since the feature works with keyboard shortcuts, you can easily increase the rate of playback for easier sections, decrease playback for more difficult sections, and return playback to normal at any time—with your hands never having to leave the keyboard!  This feature is very useful for dictators who may speed up when dictating certain sections, such as Physical Examination or Review of Systems, and for those who may slow down when dictating sections like Impression and Plan or History of Present Illness.

Modifying playback can help make you even more efficient and productive.  Using the keyboard shortcuts to change the rate of playback throughout an edited or transcribed job can help you optimize your efficiency level, resulting in an increase in lines per hour and completed jobs.  

Sometimes reaching an optimal level is not as clean cut as always slowing down or always speeding up.  We need to react to the changes in the dictator’s speaking style and adjust playback accordingly.  This can be a difficult level of efficiency to achieve with all dictators.  It is recommended to start with speeding up better dictators or better drafts, and then work your way towards modifying playback speed in all of your jobs. 


Ctrl + T  will speed up the audio or think of it as Turbo!

Ctrl + R will resume the audio to its original or Regular speed

Ctrl + E will slow down the audio to make it Easier to keep up 

Since editing requires more reading than typing, and we can read faster than we can type, we are more inclined to increase the rate of playback when editing.  You may find, however, that you need to do fewer edits in some parts of a draft; whereas in other parts, you will need to concentrate more.  In those parts of the draft where you need to do more editing, try slowing down playback.  You can then return playback to normal, or even speed it up, once that section is completed. 

In cases where dictators speak very quickly, slowing down playback can help ensure we catch all necessary edits and keep us from becoming frustrated.  Slow down poor or sloppy dictators and speed up better dictators. 

Some speakers are well suited to speeding-up.  These dictators are often those who speak slowly normally, dictate in a clean manner, and are consistent in their style.  It is always best to speed up dictations by this type of speaker.  Also , remember to speed up certain sections, especially those that often contain little or no misrecognitions.

Each time you press CTRL+T, the dictation speeds up a certain percentage.  In order to see a real gain in productivity using this feature, it is best to press CTRL+T at least 3-5 times.  Use your best judgment to speed up the dictation further.  

Some speakers are well suited to slowing down.  These dictators are often those who speak fast normally, dictate in a sloppy manner, and are inconsistent in their style.  It can be best to slow down dictations by this type of speaker.  The slowing-down feature should be used in order to allow you to make edits during playback.  It can be difficult to do this when a dictator speaks too quickly.  Slowing the audio down can aid this method of editing.  


  • If you increase playback then use CTRL+E to slow down playback, you will not slow down playback from its normal rate.  Instead, you will slow down the dictation from the increased rate.  In order to slow down playback from the original playback speed, first use CTRL+R to return to normal, then CTRL+E to slow down.
  • If you have increased playback and you feel you just can’t keep up,  use CTRL+R to return to normal speed at any time!
  • Only increase playback speed with dictators you are familiar with.  Changing the playback speed of dictators you are not familiar with may lead you to missing words or edits and result in frustration.
  • You can modify playback speed, or return it to normal, at any time when editing or transcribing.
  • Don’t transcribe or edit beyond your own comfort level – use your best judgment to increase/decrease playback as efficiently as you can!  Be sure you are very comfortable using all of the navigational and editing shortcuts we have discussed.  Start by increasing your best dictators and work forward from there.

Efficiently modifying your audio speed is going to take time to learn and master so be patient with yourself!  It will also be a continual learning process as you start with new dictators and learn the best approach that will work with each of them and their dictation style. 

Since we have provided you with so much information over the last few months—-Let’s Talk!  We welcome questions and comments and will do our best to provide you with the tools that help you do your best!


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