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Dictate

Dictate is a Microsoft speech recognition feature available for recent versions of Office and to Office 365 subscribers.

It is available for Word for Office 365, Word Online, PowerPoint for Office 365, OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote Online.

Dictate works with the language you have set up as your editing language in Office. If you download the add-on Dictate  for Word for Office 365  you can use up to 20 languages for dictation and it can do a real time translation into 60 languages. This means that you can speak in English but have the text appear in another language. Or, speak in say French, and set the translation to 'English' and have the text appear in English words. It's cool!

System requirements

  • Preferred: Windows 10 and Office 2016.
  • Minimum: Windows 8.1 and Office 2013.
  • Requires an internet connection.
 

Learning to use the installed add-on Dictate

Click on the 'Dictation' tab on the Microsoft Word toolbar.

Click on Dictation tab then on 'Start'. The words that you speak appear in the Response box and then will appear on the screen (in the Word document, email or PowerPoint slide).

Languages

Dictate supports Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English (Australia, Canada, India, UK, US), Finnish, French (Canada, France), German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Mexico, Spain) and Swedish for dictation.

Choose your spoken language preference in the From dropdown menu and choose the language you want the text to appear in from the To dropdown menu.

Punctuation

Punctuation is added automatically unless you select the 'Manual Punctuation' button before starting the dictation. You can dictate the following punctuation commands:

  • Full stop or period: Types period character (.)
  • Question mark: Types (?)
  • Open Quote: Types (")
  • Close Quote: Types (")
  • Colon: Types (:)
  • Stop Dictation: Terminates the dictation session.

Punctuation commands are only available for English.

Other commands that can be used are:

  • New Line: Takes cursor to a new line.
  • Delete: Removes the last line you dictated.
  • Stop Dictation: Terminates the dictation session.
 

Reading back what you have dictated

Proof-reading your dictated text is essential, so you really do need to have a text reader on your computer. There are many options available, such as WordTalk or the built in Word Speak button, free general purpose text readers such as MiniReader, Orato or Natural Reader, or commercial products such as Read and Write Gold or ClaroRead. Take a look at Craig's video on how to read back dictated text with Orato and Balabolka.

Microphones

We suggest you buy a mic with a USB plug such as the Andrea NC 181 USB which we think is more reliable than headsets with jack plugs. There are many other mics that you can use - see the Dragon Approved Mics for microphones that have been tested for use with Dragon - these will be good for Windows as well. 

A good headset microphone is essential for speech recognition.