Microsoft Word-97 is no longer supported as of Dragon NaturallySpeaking Release 9. If using Release 9 or 10, you may use the Dictation Box (e.g. "show dictation box" command) to enter text into Word-97.
For earlier releases, if Word97 does not have the "SR-1" or "SR-2" corrections or later, performance when dictating into MS-Word97 will be abysmally slow compared to dictating into the NaturallySpeaking window.
Most persons have no clue about whether they have the above corrections from Microsoft. To find out, open Word97. Then go to "Help", then "About Microsoft Word". You will get a window that shows the exact version you have installed. The first line will say:
If you have "SR-1" or "SR-2" versions, then your system has an appropriate version of Word97. If not, you must obtain the SR-2 corrections from Microsoft -- free or a nominal shipping charge. It can be downloaded but is a major download -- around 20MB. Ideally, install this prior to installing NaturallySpeaking.
Word97 writers assumed that while waiting between keystrokes the software could be doing special checks. With NaturallySpeaking, the "keystrokes" come faster than they imagined. So, it often helps to turn off some of these options, particularly if you are not running on a quad-processor Xeon-500 processor.
Spell-check is the first to go -- think about it -- what good does it do you with NaturallySpeaking? You find this option under "Tools" then "Options". While there, turn off animation and grammar check -- you can run grammar check when your document is complete.
Next, go to the "Format" menu and disable the items under "Auto Format As You Type". If you know you rely on some of the options, keep them -- sometimes speeding NaturallySpeaking up by deleting an option doesn't pay. Remember, your goal is to finish producing documents, not to run NaturallySpeaking as fast as possible.
Next, disable "Findfast" unless you know you use it -- not one in 100 of you reading this have a clue to what it does. This is often in your system startup menu. Go to "Start" then "Settings" then "Task Bar and Start Menu" then "Start Menu Programs" then "Advanced". Then you'll need to expand the "Programs" and find the "StartUp" group and expand it. Then look at the right-hand side of the display, and if you see "Findfast" (or more precisely, a shortcut to Findfast), position your mouse over it, do a right-button-click, then select the option to delete the shortcut.