Windows Dictation

What built-in option exists for voice dictation?

Windows 10 allows you to set up voice dictation in Control Panel. To activate speech-to-text dictation in Windows 10, press the Windows Logo key plus H (Windows key-H). Speech Recognition allows you to control your computer by voice and also dictate text into documents and emails. It's free.

How can I set it up?

1. Before you set up voice recognition, make sure you have a microphone set up.

  • Select the Start button, then select Settings > Time & Language > Speech.

  • Under Microphone, select the Get started button.

2. Teach Windows 10 to recognize your voice. Here's how to set this up:

  • In the search box on the taskbar, type Windows Speech Recognition, and then select Windows Speech Recognition in the list of results.

  • If you don't see a dialog box that says "Welcome to Speech Recognition Voice Training," then in the search box on the taskbar, type Control Panel, and select Control Panel in the list of results. Then select Ease of Access > Speech Recognition > Train your computer to better understand you.

  • Follow the instructions to set up speech recognition.

What are the detailed steps and dialog screens?

You will see the above screen in the Set up Speech Recognition’ app. The app guides you through the steps to set up your microphone and Speech Recognition preferences. Click ‘Next’.

Select the type of microphone from the list (Headset Microphone, Desktop Microphone, Other) then click ‘Next’.

On the next screen, read recommendations for microphone placement, then click ‘Next’.

Read aloud the sample text. When your device recognizes you have read the full sentence you will be able to click ‘Next’ to proceed.

If the computer didn’t hear you clearly you will be prompted to reposition your microphone and repeat the previous step. If the computer did hear you clearly, your microphone is now setup and you can continue setting up Speech Recognition. Click ‘Next’.

The next step is to allow your device to review your documents and emails so that it can better understand you when you speak. Click the option you would prefer: ‘Enable document review’ or ‘Disable document review’.

Next, choose an activation mode. You can choose to either:

  • Use manual activation mode - When you say “Stop Listening” you will need to manually turn Speech Recognition back on, by pressing the ‘Windows Logo key’ + ‘H’ or by clicking the microphone icon on the taskbar.

  • Use voice activation mode – When you say “Stop Listening” Speech Recognition goes to sleep and can be re-activated simply by saying “Start Listening”.

  • Consider printing the ‘Speech Reference Card’ – this is a list of all the commands you can use to control your computer with your voice and dictate text. Clicking the ‘View Reference Sheet’ will open up Microsoft’s web help page listing all these commands. Print or bookmark that web page.

  • Back in the Speech Recognition setup app, press ‘Next’.

  • Now choose whether to turn on Speech Recognition automatically whenever you start your device, then click ‘Next’.

  • That’s the full configuration setup, Speech Recognition is now ready to go.

  • The last setup screen gives you the option to start a tutorial for using Speech Recognition.

For improved results, train your computer to recognize your speech:

  • The computer will ask you to read a short excerpt of text to learn how you pronounce different words. By taking the time to let the computer know how you speak, you will get better results.

  1. Open Speech Recognition by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Speech Recognition.

  2. Click 'Train your computer to better understand you.'

  3. Follow the instructions on the screen.

Microsoft help center resources:

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