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Dictate is a Microsoft speech recognition tool in Office 365. It's available if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription through Glow or your organisation or a personal account. Dictate requires an internet connection.

This video shows Dictate in the Word 365 app on the desktop:

This video shows how it works in Word Online:

With Dictate you can dictate in many languages, insert symbols and edit and format text.

System requirements

  • Windows 10/11 and Office 365 subscription.
  • Requires an internet connection.

Dictate in Word 365

On the Microsoft Word toolbar go to Home and click on the Dictate button. Click the Cog and check it's set to the language you want.

screen shot of the Dictate settings

To begin with, we suggest turning off auto-punctuation as it adds commas or full stops when you pause, which can be unhelpful.

Click the microphone button or press ALT+` on the keyboard to start dictating.

screen shot of Dictate toolbar


You can choose auto-punctuation in the Settings, or dictate punctuation manually. Say:

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

Other common commands are:

  • New Line: inserts a new line.
  • Delete: Removes the last word you dictated.
  • Pause Dictation: pauses the dictation.
You can download a Quick Guide on Microsoft Dictate with a full list of commands.

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 Immersive Reader or the built in Word Speak button, free general purpose text readers such as ATbarMiniReader, or Natural Reader, or commercial products such as Read and Write Gold or ClaroRead.


We suggest you buy a headset microphone with a USB plug such as the Andrea NC 181 USB (mono) or Andrea EDU-255 USB (stereo) which we think give better results than headsets with jack plugs.

A good headset microphone is essential for speech recognition.