Microsoft Words Dictation Tool, is it worth the hype?


Have you given Microsoft Word’s Dictation tool a try?

Dictate and transcribe in Microsoft Word

Some people can type fast. Some people can touch type. Some people (or superhumans?) can think about what they are going to write and type it out without ever even looking at the keyboard. Crazy, right!?

For the rest of us though, one way we can quickly transfer our thoughts into a digital document is by dictating and transcribing. You will have no doubt seen lawyers and medical professionals with their Dictaphones recording notes to be sent to a typist for transcription, but did you know you can do this in Microsoft Word?

Word has two features that allow Speech to Text to occur directly into a document:

1. Dictate

To use the Dictate function, simply click the Dictate button from the ribbon in Microsoft Word and start talking. This will use your computer microphone to record your voice and convert your speech to text in the document as you say it. This is great for quickly getting your thoughts and ideas onto ‘paper,’ but what about the formatting side of things?

Here is a quick reference of some of the most useful speech shortcuts you can use while dictating into Microsoft Word:

Full stop .
Comma ,
Question Mark ?
Exclamation Mark !
New Line Starts a new line
New Paragraph Starts a new paragraph
Delete Deletes the last word or punctuation mark you typed

The full dictation reference can be found on the Microsoft Support Site here.

2. Transcribe

Another great feature that can be used to convert voice or speech to text is the Transcribe function. The Transcribe function is only available in the web version of Microsoft Word 365, and it only includes a limited number of transcription minutes per month. It can both record audio for transcription within the application, or, have audio files uploaded for transcription.

To access the transcribe feature, go to and open the Word app online. Select the drop-down arrow next to Dictate in the Ribbon at the top and click transcribe. Once transcribed, it will give you the option to add the text it has transcribed to the document.

One of its key advantages is its ability to differentiate between speakers. If you have two speakers in an audio recording, it will automatically split the speakers into transcription into sections so they can be labelled and differentiated in the document.

Audio recordings and uploads are saved automatically to OneDrive for retrieval or linking to the document. When using the Transcribe feature, the document formatting will occur automatically, so budget some time to clean up the format of the document once the transcription is complete.

Disclaimer: Microsoft Word’s Dictation tool does not work as well as dedicated dictation and transcription workflow solutions, particularly for the legal and medical sectors where the language and terminologies used do not form part of the standard Word language dictionaries. For more information on legal and medical transcription, check out cloud-based dictation and transcription workflow here.

For more information or assistance with Microsoft 365 solutions for law firms and legal practices, get in touch with the ServiceScaler team. | (02) 9146 6339 |

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