Speech To Text For Mac


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If you long for a secretary who takes dictation, your days of waiting are over. Follow the first set of steps to set up the dictation part of the Dictation & Speech preferences, and then read on to learn how your Mac can read text to you or alert you when something occurs, such as when you try to quit an application without saving a document.

1Choose Command→System Preferences.

Click the Dictation & Speech icon.

2On the Dictation tab, select the On radio button.

This activates Dictation.

3Select the Use Enhanced Dictation check box.

Enhanced Dictation lets you dictate even when you don’t have an Internet connection, as shown.

The dictation dictionary for the default language, U.S. English, must be downloaded. The first time you turn on Enhanced Dictation, a dialog asks you to confirm the download of this dictation dictionary.

4(Optional) Open the Language pop-up menu and click Customize to add more languages.

Select the check box for any language(s) you wish to dictate in.

Click OK. Your Mac downloads dictation dictionaries for the selected language(s).

5(Optional) Open the Shortcut pop-up menu to choose a key command for starting dictation.

Select Off to activate dictation with apps’ Edit menus, or select Customize to specify a key command that isn’t in the list.

When you’re in an app that you use to create written text, such as a word processor or an e-mail app, use your dictation shortcut or choose Edit→Start Dictation. The mini-window shown appears, and you can begin speaking.


If you activated more than one language, use the arrows next to the language to switch to another.

© Shutterstock It only takes a few clicks to enable Word's speech-to-text mode. Shutterstock
  • You can use speech-to-text on Microsoft Word through the 'Dictate' feature.
  • With Microsoft Word's 'Dictate' feature, you can write using a microphone and your own voice.
  • When you use Dictate, you can say 'new line' to create a new paragraph and add punctuation simply by saying the punctuation aloud.
  • If you're not satisfied with Word's built-in speech-to-text feature, you can use a third-party program like Dragon Home.

While typing is certainly the most common way to create and edit documents in Microsoft Word, you're not limited to using a keyboard.

Word supports speech-to-text, which lets you dictate your writing using voice recognition.

Speech-to-text in Word is convenient and surprisingly accurate, and can help anyone who has issues typing with a typical keyboard.

You can use speech-to-text in Microsoft Word in the same way on both Mac and PC.

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How to use speech-to-text on Word using Dictate

Make sure you have a microphone connected to your computer. This can be built-in, like on a laptop, or a separate mic that you plug into the USB or audio jack.

It doesn't matter which type you use, though the best kind of mic to use is a headset, as it won't need to compete with as much background noise as a built-in microphone.

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1. In Microsoft Word, make sure you're in the 'Home' tab at the top of the screen, and then click 'Dictate.'

© Dave Johnson/Business Insider Click 'Dictate' to start Word's speech-to-text feature. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

2. You should hear a beep, and the dictate button will change to include a red recording light. It's now listening for your dictation.

© Dave Johnson/Business Insider You know Word is listening when the Dictate button has a red light. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. Speak clearly, and Word should transcribe everything you say in the current document. Speak punctuation aloud as you go. You can also say 'New line,' which has the same effect as pressing the Enter or Return key on the keyboard.

4. When you're done dictating, click 'Dictate' a second time or turn it off using your voice by saying, 'Turn the dictate feature off.'

You can still type with the keyboard while Dictate is on, but if you click outside of Word or switch to another program, Dictate will turn itself off.

Want to change languages? You can click the downward arrow on the Dictate button to choose which of nine or so languages you want to speak. You might also see additional 'Preview Languages,' which are still in beta and may have lower accuracy.

© Dave Johnson/Business Insider Open the Dictate button's drop-down menu to see your language choices. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Speech To Text

Speech-to-text alternatives

You're not limited to using the Dictate feature built into Word. While not as popular as they once were, there are several commercial speech-to-text apps available which you can use with Word.

The most popular of these, Dragon Home, performs the same kind of voice recognition as Word's Dictate, but it also lets you control Word, format text, and make edits to your text using your voice. It works with nearly any program, not just Word.

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