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How to dictate a document in Word

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The Dictate function available in Microsoft Word allows you to use speech-to-text functions to create content using your microphone.  This function provides a quick and easy way to put your thoughts into words and capture ideas efficiently. It is great if I am wanting to freely create content without the need to type it out.

Dictation is also a great tool for use in the classroom to allow students to get their thoughts out and into words which can then be built into full sentences.

Dictation allows you to incorporate punctuation by saying the type of punctuation you want to use. This includes phrases such as “full stop”, “new line”, “delete” and much more. You can even include some formatting options such as “bold”, “italics”, “strikethrough”, “align” and more. Want to start a bullet or numbered list? No problems, use terms such as “start list” or “start numbered list” and you are set to go.

Create a document using the dictate feature

Beginning to use the dictate function in Word is very simple. The feature is available via the Home tab and will immediately begin listening for you to commence speaking so that dictation begins.

  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Create a new blank document if needed
  3. From the Home tab click the Dictate button
Click the dictate button on the Home tab.
  1. The dictate feature is now active and listening for you to begin speaking
The dictation feature is now listening.
  1. Begin talking so that the dictation will commence. You will see your speech converted to text in the document.
You will see your speech converted to text.

Pause Dictation

As you are speaking, you can easily pause the dictation function if you need to think about what you want to say next, or maybe you need to speak to someone or answer a phone call.

  1. From the dictation window, click the microphone icon
Click the microphone icon to pause dictation.
  1. You will see the status change from Listening to Tap the microphone to resume
  2. If you wish to begin dictation again, click the microphone icon again.

Another great option instead of having to use your mouse and click the microphone, is to say “pause dictation“. You cannot start dictation back up using voice as it is not listening to you when not in use, but you can pause the dictation.

Editing text whilst dictating

Although dictation is awesome, it can sometimes make a mistake with the voice to text recognition, or maybe you say a sentence in a particular way and then decide it doesn’t sound right. You can activately edit the text as you dictate using a few easy commands.

  1. Click the microphone to begin dictation.
  2. Say a sentence but deliberately put in an incorrect word.
  3. Say “delete” after you say the incorrect word.
  4. Word will delete the last word.
  5. Again say a sentence with a dozen or so words.
  6. Now say “delete last 5 words“.
  7. Word will delete the last 5 words you said.
  8. Have a bit of a play with some of the editing options below.
undodeletedelete that *delete last {# words}
insert spacebackspacebackspace {1-100}

Using Punctuation

The dictation feature allows you to include punctuation by simply saying which type of punctuation you want to be included. Phrases such as “full stop”, “comma”, “new line” etc will all be recognised by the dictation and included in your document.

  1. Click the microphone to begin dictation
  2. Say a sentence and say “full stop” at the end of the sentence.
  3. Dictation will automatically add the full stop for you.
  4. Repeat the process and use “comma” as your next option.
  5. How about add a question mark at the end of a question, say “question mark“.
  6. Have a play with some of the punctuation options below.
PhraseResponsePhraseResponse
full stop.comma,
question mark?exclamation mark!
new linenew lineapostrophe
colon:semicolon;
open quotes / close quotes” “hyphen
ellipsisopen/close parentheses( )

Include Formatting

The dictation function lets you including formatting as you speak. No need to go back and add in bold formatting or create a bullet or numbered list. You can do this as you speak and save time later.

  1. Click the microphone to begin dictation
  2. Say the following sentence “All participants should arrive by 9am“, then say “bold participants“.
  3. The word “participants” should now be made bold.
  4. Let’s try italics, begin dictation and say “Using dictation is fun.”, then say “italics dictation“.
  5. The word “dictation” should now be in italics font.
bolditalicsunderlinestrikethrough
superscriptsubscriptindentdecrease indent
clear all formattingalign (left, centre, right)start liststart numbered list

Dictation Settings

There are some options you can edit within the Dictation settings to adjust how dictation works. This includes punctation, a profanity filter and the ability to change the language you are speaking.

  1. Make sure dictation is active
  2. From the dictation window, click the Settings icon
Click the settings button within the dictation window.
  1. You can choose to enable Auto punctutation, turn on or off the Profanity filter or choose a different spoken language from the options available.

I hope this has helped you to explore the world of dictation in Microsoft Word. You can actually find the dictate function in many of the Microsoft Office programs including Microsoft Outlook and PowerPoint. Be sure to leave any comments or questions below.

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