Talon Wiki

Getting Started


The official installation and getting started instructions are available at talonvoice.com/docs. We strongly recommend you follow the instructions there; this page contains additional advice only. The basic installation flow is as follows:

  1. Install Talon.
  2. Choose a speech recognition engine.
  3. Install a configuration set, to make some commands available.
  4. Try some basic commands
  5. Optionally, join the Talon Voice Slack for help, tips, and connecting with other Talon users.

Install Talon

Talon has two mostly compatible current versions: public and beta. Both versions have support for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

  • Public Version (free): Follow Getting Started instructions in the Talon documentation.
  • Beta Version (requires Patreon support): The beta version has earlier access to new features and higher priority support. It is required for access to some speech engines. After becoming a beta tier Patreon, join the Talon Voice Slack and request access to the #beta channel from @aegis, the developer of Talon. Download links can be found in the #beta channel’s pinned messages.

Notes on Linux

Eye tracking

When first running run.sh, Talon does some setup work related to permissions for the eye tracking device. You need to replug the eye tracking device and restart Talon (or of course reboot).


If you use gnome, you need to install AppIndicator and KStatusNotifierItem Support in order to be able to see Talon’s tray icon - which is the only way of configuring it without speech/code.


You might encounter the following error:


In which case it is necessary to switch to Xorg. (Your distro might support this through a cog wheel on the login screen.)

Configure a Speech Recognition Engine

Talon uses a speech recognition engine that translates voice audio to text. There are multiple options for speech engines, and you will need to choose one. Starting out: unless you already have Dragon, wav2letter (w2l conformer) is recommended.

Engine OS Description Installation Price
w2l conformer Win/Mac/Linux Best option for new users. Excellent accuracy and speed for both commands and dictation. Even lower latency for Talon beta users due to ongoing performance optimisations. Talon Docs Free
w2l gen2 Win/Mac/Linux Speech engine used prior to conformer. Decent command accuracy. Dictation accuracy is lacking. Talon Docs Free
Dragon Win Good accuracy for both commands and dictation. Has quirks which can’t be fixed by us. Professional version is recommended over home version (home version doesn’t have command mode). Buy and Install Dragon Professional $300-$500

Note: The Professional version of Dragon for Windows is recommended (but not strictly required) because it can be run in Command Mode. Some users have been able to find less expensive copies of Dragon by either waiting for a sale or looking on eBay for older versions.

Dictation Engines for Additional Language Support

As of March 2021, w2l only supports English. If you need to dictate text in another language, the Talon beta supports the following options:

webspeech Win/Mac/Linux Excellent accuracy, but added latency. Uses your browser as a voice engine; requires an internet connection. Supports many non-English languages. See pinned messages in #beta on Slack Needs Talon Beta
vosk Win/Mac/Linux Supported languages: https://alphacephei.com/vosk/. See Github Project Needs Talon Beta

Note that you cannot use webspeech or vosk standalone; they don’t handle commands well, only dictation, so you need a command-mode speech recognition engine to use with them.

Note: The Mac Voice Control engine is technically supported for dictation in beta, but it’s not recommended over conformer.

Install a Talon Configuration Set

Talon does not come with voice commands out of the box - you must install some configuration scripts. To start out, we strongly recommend that you use the knausj_talon repository. The whole wiki assumes this repository is used, if not otherwise noted.

On Linux/Mac:

mkdir -p ~/.talon/user
cd ~/.talon/user
git clone https://github.com/knausj85/knausj_talon.git knausj_talon

On Windows:

md "%APPDATA%\Talon\user"
cd "%APPDATA%\Talon\user"
git clone https://github.com/knausj85/knausj_talon.git knausj_talon

If you don’t have git available, and do not want to install it, download the zip archive of knausj_talon and extract it to the correct folder.

Basic Usage

The examples below are just a very small selection of common commands for working with apps, tabs, media, mouse, etc that should help you be productive with Talon right away. These are based on the knaus_talon repository (see Configuration Setup). These commands may vary depending on your individual setup.

Command history

command history
Toggles the command history display, which shows the last few commands as Talon understood them; if you’re not sure what Talon is doing, or if it understood you correctly, this is how to check it.

Show available comands

knausj_talon has an integrated help. It can show you a list of all defined commands, or just all commands that are available now.

help alphabet
show the spelling alphabet for pressing individual keys
help context
show all defined commands
help active
show all currently available commands
help next, help previous
go to the next or previous page of help items if there are a lot
help close
hide any open help window again

Switch between modes

Talon has three basic modes by default: command, dictation, and sleep.

In command mode, your speech will be interpreted as commands by default. In dictation mode, your speech will be transcribed as plain text by default (although with some commands, like “comma” etc. for punctuation), similar to traditional speech recognition systems. In sleep mode, Talon will do nothing until it hears a commands that wakes it up.

There are currently no visual cues about the current mode. You can tell which mode you’re in by running commands and seeing if they are transcribed literally.

dictation mode
switch to dictation mode
command mode
switch to command mode
talon sleep
go to sleep, stop processing commands
talon wake
wake up and return to previous mode

Open and switch between windows in apps such as Chrome

window new
window next
window last
window close

Working with applications

focus "app name"     (say "focus chrome" for example, to switch active window to chrome)
running list         (see all active applications)
running hide         (close the list of active applications)

If you are on Ubuntu or another Gnome-based Linux distribution, focus might not work consistently across different workspaces, popping up a notification rather than actually switching focus. This extension may help.

Working with tabs

tab (open | new)
tab last
tab next
tab close
tab (reopen|restore)
go tab <number>
go tab final

Working with media

play next
play previous
(play | pause)

Working with the Tobii eye tracker

control mouse (say "control mouse" to toggle on/off Tobii moving the mouse)
run calibration (say "run calibration" to start Tobii calibration)

Working with text

copy that
cut that
paste that
undo that
redo that

Working with the mouse and scrolling

dubclick (to double left click)
righty (to right click)
(page | scroll) up
(page | scroll) [down]
wheel down
wheel tiny [down]
wheel downer
wheel up
wheel tiny up
wheel upper
wheel gaze (for scrolling down) (this seems like it would use the Tobii eye tracker but it does not)
wheel stop
wheel left
wheel tiny left
wheel right
wheel tiny right
curse yes (shows cursor)
curse no (hides cursor)

Next Steps

Once the basics somewhat work for you, you’ll likely want to improve your experience using Talon: