foot pedal : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary
A foot pedal is invaluable for doing transcriptions of audio or video recordings by letting your hands do nothing
but the transcription typing. In contrast, mouse controlled software takes your hands off the keyboard. Using the
keyboard to control the audio may confuse the editor program you are typing into. You use software such as
Transcription Buddy to monitor the foot pedal
and play the audio in a number of possible formats for you, and stop, start, rewind and fast forward it for you.
It is amazing how fast transcription goes with the foot pedal.
- left foot pedal: tap to leap back.
- middle foot pedal: press and hold to play, release to stop.
- right pedal: tap to leap forward
Installation is as snap. You just plug the foot pedal into a free USB (Universal Serial Bus) port.
What to Look For In A Foot Pedal
You want it so sit still in one place under your desk. It is hard to find with your feet and you don’t
want it sliding about. Ideally you would glue it down in some way. I have not figured out how to glue a
footpedal to a carpet in a way that does not damage the carpet. Feet would probably help it dig into a
You are going to be pounding this thing with your feet. It had better stand up.
You want it big so it is easy to find the correct pedal. Feet, especially covered in socks and/or shoes
don’t have much tactile feedback. Look at the design of piano or organ pedals. That is the ideal size
You want to pick a vendor with a history of providing drivers to keep old models going. Otherwise you may be
stuck with perfectly functioning hardware and no software to drive it. Ideally you should not need a CD (Compact Disk) of
any kind to install the footpedal.
Make sure you get an unit with a USB port designed or use with a PC (Personal Computer) (or Mac). Many are specialty units
designed to work only with various dedicated dictation machines.
Care and Feeding
My first introduction to foot pedals was not successful. The separate small light foot pedals for the Kinesis
keyboard would not stay put. I could not find them. I am having much more success with the much heavier Olympus
unit for transcription.
- You first need to install a low level foot pedal driver, then you install the application software such as
- After a while your foot pedal will become flaky. It will fail to notice your taps sometimes. The problem is
dust and carpet fluff clogging its insides. Open it up and clean it out with a blast of compressed air. Clean
any contacts, including those in the footpad cable, with DeoxIT Red.
- The cord is easy to catch with your feet. You want to cover it in some way. If you have a cheap carpet
acting as a carpet protector, you could consider cutting a hole in it to keep the cord out of harm’s way
and as a side effect anchor the foot pedal. There are all sorts of cable organisers, basically flattened
tubes, intended for the purpose.