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Google Voice Typing

Google Voice Typing is a free dictation tool for Google Docs and Google Slides, Google's online word processor and presentation apps. To use it, you must be connected to the internet with the Google Chrome Browser on Windows, MacOS or Chromebook devices. Voice Typing is also available on Google Android devices.


Set up your microphone

Your computer may have a built-in microphone, but you usually get better results with an external microphone. We recommend using a good USB microphone, such as the Andrea NC 181VM microphone (£29.95 from Iansyst). Plug in your microphone and check that it is set up and working:

  • Windows 7:
    1. At the desktop press the Windows Key + U, or Click the Start button >  Control Panel > Ease of Access > Speech Recognition.
    2. Go through the process to check the correct microphone is selected and that it is working.
  • Windows 10
    1. Click the Start button >  Control Panel > Ease of Access. Type Speech into Find a Setting, choose Speech Recognition and then Set up Microphone.
    2. Go through the process to check the correct microphone is selected and that it is working.
  • MacOS
    1. Click on the Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, then select System Preferences, followed by Sound.
    2. Click on Input and make sure that the correct microphone is selected - make sure that the Input level indicator moves significantly when you speak.
  • Chromebook
    1. Go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Privacy > Content Settings and check that the microphone can be accessed.
    2. In our tests, we just plugged in the USB microphone and it was automatically recognised and was ready for use.

Getting Started with Google Voice Typing

  1. Go to Google Docs and log in or create a Google account.
  2. Start a new document or create one from one of the ready-made templates.
  1. Go to Tools and select Voice Typing, or press Ctrl+Shift+S.
  1. When the microphone button appears, click the language button and select your language and accent (e.g. English (UK)).
  2. Click the microphone button and start dictating.

Dictating with Google Voice Typing

Switch on the microphone, dictate your text, and when you are finished, switch it off.

You may notice a slight delay before Voice Typing types your dictation - this is because the recognition is taking place over the internet on a remote Google computer.

If you make a mistake while dictating, or if Voice Typing doesn't accurately recognise what you say, you can move your cursor to the mistake and fix it without turning off the microphone. You can say for example "Undo" to undo the last command, or select the unwanted text and say "Delete".

Words which may not be recognised correctly are underlined in grey: right click to see possible alternatives.

You can dictate punctuation:

  • Full stop;
  • Comma;
  • Exclamation mark;
  • Question mark;
  • New line;
  • New paragraph.

When dictating punctuation, try not to pause before speaking the punctuation as this may lead to Voice Typing turning your punctuation into words, e.g. "This is a sentence." could end up written as "This is a sentence full stop".

You can use your voice to:

  • select text (e.g. "Select [word or phrase]"; "Select line; Select Paragraph")
  • edit (e.g. "copy", "paste")
  • format (e.g. "Bold", "underline", "highlight", "Font size 24"; "Create bulleted List");
  • navigate your document (e.g. "Move to start of document"; "Go to end of paragraph");
  • turn Voice typing off ("Stop listening").

For a full list of commands and features, go to

A Voice Typing Cheat Sheet is also available from GEG Scotland

We recently came across an excellent guide to Using the Voice Typing Feature in Google Docs, written by Hanoch McCarty (Email He has kindly given us permission to make it freely available from our web site.