Dictapad for iPad Review

Recently a friend asked if I was aware of an app for iPad for transcribing recorded interviews. He advised that the files could be MP3 or .wav files. For the younger crowd we used to have dictaphone machines. There was a foot pedal that let you stop the tap, back up and restart the tap. A check in Google shows that, in fact, dictaphone machines of a newer version are still available. However, that would not come anywhere close to meeting my friend’s needs. Everything for iPad my friend had tried didn’t have these capabilities. I began searching the iTunes apps. I read through several and settled on Dictapad as the best tool for the task at hand.


 Dictapad by Panchromatic, LLC

There are several ways in which to get the files to be transcribed into the app. My suggestion was to use Dropbox. This is the response I received once my friend had downloaded on to the iPad and loaded the files in the Dropbox file.

We got it set up with DropBox and it works like a charm. She transcribes and it goes right back into my folder. Sweet!

I love it when software performs as advertised. I love it even more when there is a real solution to a rather simple challenge without a lot of jumping through hoops. One of my goals for my iPad has been to find useful tools for my business needs as well as those of my clients. After thinking about this for a bit I have been thinking about recording best practices committee meetings. When a number of people are brainstorming and resolving issues, no matter how good I am at taking notes, something is always missed.

I have done some of this in the past, but found it difficult and frustrating to listen to them and capture the data. Now I have a solution. Funny how it takes someone else asking the question to get you to seek out an answer to one of your own challenges.

What app have you found for iPad or Android that you have found to be a useful tool for your business? Please share with us.

  • How did you get the file from Dropbox into Dictapad? Based on your review, I bought this app and love it—it’s very nicely designed and is really the only contender in its class. However, I contacted the developer about setting up Dropbox and haven’t heard anything in reply.

    • There is a great youtube that shows you how to do this.http://youtu.be/BjkFVd2PcvA 
      I should have put it in the original post, but didn’t. sorry. You actually go to your dropbox app on your iPad/iPhone, select the document. Once it is loaded the arrow in the upper right hand corner of the document should be active where you can choose which app you want to open the document with.

      Happy dictating transcription.

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  • Dave

    Quick update, from the friend who made the original query: This worked fine for a couple of transcriptions, and then it got glitchy. The “Open in Dictapad” option was greyed out (unclickable) in Dropbox. I checked the Dropbox forums and other online resources and came up empty. I emailed both Dropbox and Dictapad. Within an hour or two ‏@josecastillo from Dictapad responded with a possible solution, which did not work for us. He dug deeper, and found that a Dropbox update was causing the problem. He shared another solution, which worked like a charm. A day or two later, Dropbox responded and said since I was not a Pro user, I might or might not get a response… sometime. Two thumbs up to Joey, the guy who developed Dictapad and was not too busy to respond!

    • Dave, could you share the solution the developer provided? I haven’t used the app in a while, but I will probably encounter this same issue. I love it when a developer dives in and helps with the issue. They are few and far between.

      Also, could you advise what you think is the best recording device. I need to record some individuals and also small groups.



      • Dave

        He first said we needed to wait until the file had fully loaded. We did, but that did not resolve the problem. We let him know that, and he responded:

        “In the past, the button didn’t gray out at all; in the latest update,
        the button appears to stay grayed out even after a file has streamed in
        fully. I found a Dropbox forum post discussing the issue.

        “To get around it, please try these steps:
        1. Star the file you want to open in Dictapad.
        2. Go to the “Favorites” tab and wait for it to download fully there.

        3. Touch the file in the list of favorites. The “Open In…” button should be enabled.

        “I’m hoping that this resolves the issue.”

        His hope was met!

        I don’t have a recommendation for the “best” recording device; my experience is limited to the one I use, which is the Sony ICD-PX312. I used an earlier model Sony digital recorder, and was thrilled with that as well. However, Sony chose not to support that one for Windows 7 users. (Grrrr.) So I bit the bullet. Sony offers a downloadable software product, Sound Organizer, which I believe is free. It has the features I need to review, slow down, speed up, edit, combine, etc. my recordings, which are nearly always telephone interviews.

        Remember, I’m a PC guy. YMMV as an Apple user.

        • Dave, thanks for the information. I will check out these options. BTW I’m actually bi-sexual as I have both PC & Mac options on same laptop. Usually the Mac gets better MPG.