You can type your documents the old-fashioned way in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, but why not dictate the text instead? Whether you have a disability, health issue, or are looking to save time, Microsoft’s Dictate Tool can help you get the job done.
Based on a Microsoft Garage project developed to test dictation in Office apps, Dictate has now been implemented in Microsoft Word for Office 365, PowerPoint for Office 365, Free Word for the web, Free OneNote for the web, and the free OneNote app. for Windows 10. You can access the built-in tool via an icon in the ribbon of the program you are using.
Dictate in Word for Office 365
If you have a subscription for Office 365, launch Microsoft Word and open a document. Place your cursor where you want to start dictating. Click the Dictate icon on the Home ribbon. The first time that you do this, Word may ask for permission to use your microphone. Grant permission and you can start talking.
Dictate specific words, punctuation marks and actions, such as “new line” and “new paragraph”. You may want to dictate a few sentences or a single paragraph at a time and then stop so you can review your text for errors. To stop dictating, tap the Dictate icon again.
After activating the tool, click on the Settings icon in the small Dictate window at the bottom of the screen. Here you can turn on automatic punctuation so that your dictation automatically includes periods, commas and other marks without you having to speak them. You can also turn the profanity filter on and off. When this filter is enabled, all profane words appear as a series of asterisks.
You can also dictate text in other languages. Click the Settings icon in the Dictate window. Go to the Languages spoken command and choose the language you want to use.
Dictate in PowerPoint
Launch PowerPoint for Office 365 and open a new or existing presentation. Click the Dictate icon on the ribbon and dictate your text. When you are finished, click the icon again to stop dictation.
Dictate in Word for the web
If you use Office on the web, go to the website and sign in with your Microsoft account. On the main Office screen, click the Word icon. Open a document and click the Dictate icon on the Home ribbon and dictate your text. When you’re done, click the icon again to turn off dictation. To see other languages available for dictation, click the down arrow next to the Dictate icon and choose the language you want to use.
Dictate in OneNote
You can dictate text in two different versions of OneNote. Go to Office on the web and choose OneNote or use the OneNote Windows 10 app. In both versions, open a OneNote document and click the Dictate button on the Home ribbon, then start dictating. Click again to stop. Click the down arrow to view other dictation languages.
Dictate on your mobile device
Your iPhone, iPad and Android devices offer built-in dictation features accessible from the keyboard. These tools support Microsoft Office applications and other text-based programs.
To dictate text in an Office document, tap in any area to display the keyboard and select the microphone icon. You can then dictate to your mobile device. Touch any area of the screen to stop dictation.
Windows speech recognition
The Microsoft Office Dictate tool does not work with Excel or earlier versions of Office, and Dictate does not allow you to easily correct errors, add words to a dictionary, or manage settings. One option that can overcome these limitations is the Windows speech recognition tool built right into Windows 10.
The tool is compatible with any Windows program, including all versions of Office, such as Office 365, Office 2019 and earlier versions. Open Word, Excel, PowerPoint or any other program, hold down the Win key and press H to open a dictation toolbar at the top of the screen. You can then start dictating.
You can dictate punctuation and specific actions to move around the screen. For example, say “tab” to move to the next cell in the column or “new row” to move to the next cell in the row. Or say things like “Undo this” to erase the last word you dictated. Microsoft provides a comprehensive list of phrases and actions that you can dictate with Windows speech recognition.
If you open Control Panel in Windows 10 and click Speech Recognition, you can set up a microphone, train speech recognition, or take a voice tutorial.
Third party programs
If you don’t want to use any of the Microsoft solutions, there are many third-party voice dictation programs available that work with Office, other apps, and Windows as a whole. Some of these products come at a steep price, but they also offer more power and flexibility than what you’ll find in Microsoft’s built-in tools.
For example, Nuance’s Dragon program costs $ 200 for the home edition and $ 500 for the professional edition. Meanwhile, Braina offers a free Lite version and a Pro version that runs at $ 49 per year or $ 169 for lifetime use.