What is the best free speech to text software for Windows?

Mango the Fruitarian September 13, 2010
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Update (July 2018): Please refer to our full article on free speech to text software The Best (Free) Speech-to-Text Software for Windows The Best (Free) Speech-to-Text Software for Windows Looking for the best free Windows speech to text software? We compared Dragon Naturally Speaking with free alternatives from Google and Microsoft. Read More .

I’m writing lots, and frequently getting arm ache. Are there any free good speech to text software programs available to download? I just want to up notepad and start talking, and have my voice translated into text and typed into notepad.

  1. Otas binato ekhosuehi
    May 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

    What is the best stt software then?

  2. Lovejony1987
    April 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm


  3. Wintterose
    April 9, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Windows 7 has speech recognition which is good..

  4. Justin Lock
    April 1, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Great Question. I am looking for the same thing but I don't have windows 7 or vista. Or any money.

  5. guest
    February 24, 2012 at 6:50 am

    just found this i hope it work as well as they say, [Broken Link Removed]

  6. Guest
    February 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I'm no big Windoze fan but the speech to text in Windows is every bit as good aS Dragon as I use them both. In ANY speech to text you have to be aware of mic positioning and extraeous noise. Work on those two things and the text will take care of itself.

  7. esther
    January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    i found the speach recognition software on my computer, but i need the speech to text and now i can only find text to speech! someone can help?

  8. Arslan
    December 30, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Dragon naturally speaking software is the best one.

  9. Stephie
    December 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I'm a special ed teacher who needs a Speech to text software (hopefully free) for 12 students with great ideas but few or no writing skills (K-1).

  10. FT
    November 27, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I haven't read where anyone has mentioned Talk It Type It yet. It is very economical. I bought the basic software about 6 years ago. I paid aprox 20.00 for it. Much cheaper than Dragon. TITI does have higher priced editions but I only needed the basic. I had to train it to recognize my voice, but you will have to do that with any of them. Google them to ck them out. I haven't checked recently to see if the co. is still in business. I say that because I haven't heard any ads about the software like they had a few years back. It could be worth checking them out? I like mine.

  11. Childofauthority
    November 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Just started using the Windows Speech Recognition and it seems to work well, but needs a lot of patience in training the computer to recognise your voice. Wanted a free option to start with and didn't know I had this on my computer all this while... Anyone know how I can access the dictionary so as to add a few words? Or does it work with the standard windows dictionary, so I edit my words there. Still getting used to it...thanks to all who recommended this!

    • Ryan Dube
      November 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      Of that I'm not certain, but it may be a great question to ask on MUO Answers...

      • Tina
        November 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

        Fortunately, this is MakeUseOf Answers. :)

        What Ryan means though is, please ask a new question! The above is many weeks old and it will take a while to get an answer. If you post a new question, however, you will receive an answer within hours.

  12. Mark Drake
    October 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Beware Dragon, works fine but when you upgrade from say XP to Vista or Vista to 7, the version of Dragon no longer works, and they want you to buy it again.

    If you have a reasonably fast computer running Windows 7, the speech recognition which comes with windows works pretty well.

  13. Ashish Ojha
    September 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

    The latest stable version of Google Chrome 11 has been released sporting the new flat icon with improved security and with the speech-to-text support through HTML speech input API. The first official Google service to make use of this service is Google Translate.

    Once after downloading and installing Chrome 11 you can head over to Google Translate
    page to check out Speech-to-text translation. Right now Google supports
    only English to other languages. If activated you will see a microphone
    icon turn blue when you hover over it and the Speak Now speech bubble
    appear. When you have finished speaking and Chrome 11 speech input API
    has successfully converted voice to text, Google Translate service steps in and translates language. Hit listen button to heart the translated word.

    • Robert
      October 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

      I'm in Australia and they didn't have the icon you described. Maybe this feature is only enabled in particular countries? Just a thought.

      • Bill
        October 18, 2011 at 7:51 am

        Make sure that you have the source language set to English.

        • Anonymous
          November 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

          Replying to Bill in reply to Robert
          Aussies have to be careful to recognize that Strine is not English, which is not spoken in Aussie except by English-Speaking visitors -- and that they tune to International (IE: American) English. <]:^)-< 

        • Anon
          May 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

          and you, mr. or ms. anonymous, should be careful as well, since strine is as "english" as "american english", both a dirivative of the TRUE original British english, which when you come to think about it is closer to strine than it is american english.

    • G.O.
      May 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Thanks, it works...

  14. Jane
    September 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    hi, can You help me? I need from my phone iPhone from voice recorder translate it to the text in word. It is somehow possible? And it will be perfect if is for free. Thank Ypou so much. I am not talent for technology so I do not know how to do it.

  15. Jacksonseymore
    September 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    What about any speech to text for Windows XP?

    • Tina
      September 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Marylou above recommended Dragon Naturally Speaking. Did you try that one, yet?

      • Jacksonseymore
        September 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm

        It's a bit pricey and I haven't tried it yet

        • Rkleinerman
          November 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

          Try using a bit torrent site with peerblock installed and running.

  16. ben
    August 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    stop going on about dragon

  17. Browe1205
    August 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    does not work very well on windows 7 home premium thats what i have and it didnt get one word right

  18. Guest
    August 7, 2011 at 5:21 am

     that is for windows 7

  19. Guest
    August 7, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Dictating textWhen you speak into the microphone, Windows Speech Recognition converts your spoken words into text that appears on your screen.To dictate textOpen Speech Recognition by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, and then clicking Windows Speech Recognition. Say "start listening" or click the Microphone button to start the listening mode.Open the program you want to use or select the text box you want to dictate text into.Say the text that you want dictate.

  20. Anonymous
    June 30, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Might try [Broken Link Removed].  There is a zip file installer available at [Broken Link Removed].  The trial is fully functional, and I tried this on Windows 7.  It seemed to act as a front end for MS Speech Recognition, but I am not sure.  Worth a shot, though.

  21. John Tiessen
    June 19, 2011 at 12:23 am

     free good speech to text software programs available to download   http://www.tazti.com/

    • Harry Montgomery
      June 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks for this info although, the term, "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is".  I checked out the website in your comment & found that it is free, but for only 15 days.  After that, it's $29.95. which is a good price but, I'm afraid the term, "you get what you pay for" may apply. 

      • Kint Verbal
        April 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

        So Harry, you went on to check some free software, it wasn't free, and now you're complaining that it's too cheap.
        Did I sum it up correctly?

  22. Andy
    May 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I use the Microsoft inbuilt version and it works fine. The trick is to slowly train the program to understand your voice and practice until it does. Accuracy for me is now about 85 to 95%.  Its no good expecting speech to text software to work out of the box, although dragon is faster than the others to do that as I have used both. I will upgrade to Dragon 11 later but for now I am using Microsofts version and I write articles from it, so it does work.


  23. Kauaiconch89
    May 12, 2011 at 6:51 am

    People just don't seem to understand the English language anymore do they???
    HUGE difference between "text to speech" and "speech to text" ... But if you're reading carefully and not just jumping in because you think you know what you're talking about, it's pretty easy to catch...

  24. Softlogik
    September 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Did u guys just use google to find this website : hope it will help u ppl ;)
    from : softlogik

    • It_seems_to_me
      December 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      you did not read carefully.
      they are looking for speech to text NOT text to speech.
      BIG difference.

  25. Cephas2bn
    September 26, 2010 at 11:07 am

    i,m in a fix guys. i dont have a card yet and cant buy any?
    isnt there any freeware?

  26. Tempersfugue
    September 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I have just switched on Windows Seven speech recognition and am trying it out for the first time. With a bit of juggling it seems to be going quite reasonably, but I can see that there is a pretty steep learning curve, especially as I have a quite pronounced lisp (and wasn't that fun to have to spell out).

    Still for a first try it's not going too badly and I can see me having some fun playing with this to see if I can get anywhere near my not very impressive typing speed. One interesting thing that I have noticed in my short acquaintance with this program is that less common words seem to be recognized easier, a not unsurprising result all things considered.
    One thing, I am using the microphone built into my web cam, perhaps with a better quality microphone there would be fewer errors, although I'm not sure if a better microphone would be more susceptible to ambient sound. A secondary issue, and one that might not bother others, is I like to have music playing in the background whilst on my computer, either from my sound system or the computer itself, and that would have to go if I were to use speech recognition as more than an occasional thing.

    • Marylou Dobson
      September 30, 2010 at 5:42 am

      I use a MacMice Microphone with Vista and it's great. I also use it with my favorite MacBook Pro and one of the newer versions of MacSpeech. The mike is a goosenecked usb item that works well up to 2 feet from my mouth. I can use headphones if I don't want music to interfere as ambient sound. Works with PC or Mac. I've been trying and using speech programs for years. The Vista one trains in about 7 minutes. What has to be done though is corrections, otherwise if it practices mistakes, it gets better at them. My son also uses Dragon Naturally Speaking on his XP and just likes it better every time he uses it. Mike is plug and play, look here: [Broken Link Removed]

  27. Phil Shapiro
    September 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I use Google Voice, a free service, when I want speech to text. I use it with my Android cell phone and call my own phone number to leave a message. Google does a good job of transcribing my voice message to text and emailing me the text to my Gmail account.

    I'm pretty sure Google Voice works with any phone. You don't need to own an Android phone to use it. The service is now out of beta and is open for anyone to use.

    Hope this helps.

  28. Wade Hatler
    September 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    The built in speech recognition works reasonably well IF you have the right mic and sound card. Wrong mic or sound card and you won't get good results no matter what software you use.

    Dragon is better than the built in software, particularly Dragon 10 & 11. I use it all the time. I blogged about it here: [Broken Link Removed]

    Wade Hatler

  29. Osama Javaid
    September 17, 2010 at 8:05 am

    if you have broadband, use [Broken Link Removed], just copy/paste your text and hit the play button. (it was mentioned in makeuseof directory)

    • Mango Wodzak
      September 19, 2010 at 12:16 am

      the question is about free "speech to text" software.. not "text to speech".. that's a whole different question.. but a useful piece of software nevertheless..

    • Lisa431
      March 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      SPEECH TO TEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      SPEECH TO TEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT TEXT TO SPEECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jonathan Pederson Is
        May 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm

         yo y u wearin a rag, n wat color is dat... looks lik dark brown, i wanna say blacc... u folk?

        • T~
          September 5, 2011 at 10:47 pm

          Irrelevant, Jonathan P.

  30. Anonymous
    September 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Massey Speech Project
    [Broken Links Removed]

    possible it can do what you want, mostly freewares will not be good and sharewares like viavoice and dragon are little expensive

  31. Mango Wodzak
    September 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    It also looks like Dragon is for 32 bit computers.. mine's 64bit..

    If I ever get a copy, i will be sure to post here and give my verdict, but still think the price is too steep..

    • Abargainwarehouse
      February 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      this topic is best FREE SPEECH TO TEXT dragon is not free and all the other crap is not speech to text like what theyre looking for not just for commands but to write with

  32. Ryan Dube
    September 15, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Mango - I'm in the same boat as you, I've been searching for not only a good speech to text program, but also decent API to use in some of my programming. But it appears that speech technology is one of those things that's a bit too advanced to get for free. I'm leaning toward Dragon as well, especially now that a couple people here say that it performs well. My own fear was buying it and then seeing that it doesn't perform any better than the free ones!

    If you do buy a copy, let us know how you like it!

    • Ron
      April 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Tried Dragon and it did not work well at all

  33. Anthonyis2000
    September 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Dragon is great! Here is ver10 and $ 59.00 @ [Broken Link Removed]
    It is the last version but performed very well.
    Hope it helps.

  34. Mango Wodzak
    September 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    @Eduardo I just found the inbuilt voice recognition software in windows 7, and tested it out. it is very poor quality, and even with a microphone, it's unable to get sentences right, so I'm afraid I'll have to pass on that one.

    @ha14 I don't have microsoft office installed.. i use notepad++ or openoffice..

    @Aibek, dragon looks ok, but far too expensive, I was hoping for something completely free.. have you had any experience using dragon?

    • Aibek
      September 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      I tried for a few days about 5 years ago. Back then I was mainly looking for a program that would let me use my PC using voice commands. Dragon did fairly well but required user to train it first. Because I wanted something quick I uninstalled it:-)

  35. Aibek
    September 14, 2010 at 11:04 am

    I heard lots of positive feedback about Dragon Naturally Speaking, http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm

    Unfortunately it's a bit pricey.

  36. Anonymous
    September 14, 2010 at 6:39 am
  37. Eduardo Rivas
    September 14, 2010 at 3:10 am

    If you are using Windows Vista or 7, you may have access to the built in voice recognition program. Look for it in the Star menu. Note: I think you have to be running Home Premium or superior to use this feature, though I'm not completely sure.

    • Lisa431
      March 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      isnt this just for voice commands to mover around on your computer????we are looking for somethiing that takes your vocals and types them into text!!!!!!!!!

      • Anne_l
        November 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

        Windows 7 speech recognition does both - controls the computer, and takes dictation.  Like most speech to text programs there is some learning to be done on your and the computer's part.  If you want punctuation you'll need to say that (period/stop, comma, etc.)  If you have a decent microphone then you are all set.

        • Guymuster
          March 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

          I guess almost all Vistas, Windows 7 and higher specification XPs have speech recognition. In Vista, go to control panel, then Ease of Access, Follow, Speech recognition and you are set.... The tutorial is easy and the best adive is do not get a cheap microphone.

      • Crazymelsa
        January 30, 2012 at 2:56 am

        more punctuation does not the answer change -_-

    • nanda
      June 19, 2011 at 1:00 am

      dear Eduardo, lot of merit to you.
       I was looking for voice recognition software without knowing it is with me installed in computer.
      thank you


    • Chester
      August 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Btw y has no one noticed that there is no such thing as Windows superior

      • hi
        September 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm

        read better, he meant windows home premium or better!

        • Cymrych03
          December 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm

          Ha, that was funny.

      • dudley33
        January 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm

        I think he just meant home premium or better

      • Levenirv
        January 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

        there is actually windows superior. its just not a "legal" copy of windows 7, the product has been modified to suit the user and the pc in usability and response times. my supervisor was talking about it in work when we were discussing upgrading the OS's in the office computers. 

    • Dick Coad
      September 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Hi, have experience using the Microsoft Speech to Text software built into Office XP/2002. First computer was Compaq AP200, PII400, 512MB PC100 SDRAM. Headset with boom mike turned out to be the problem. Changed it to Logitech USB set. Ran nicely on USB 1.1 at its rate. Worked amazingly better on the new OptiPlex 745 with its Pentium D dual core and 2 GB of specified RAM - 533 MHz. End of buzz and fuzz, beginning of virtually perfect translation of speech to text paragraph after paragraph. Customer agreed to invest her time and effort in training with her 19" LCD monitor.
      Good luck, dc

      • Tina
        September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Dick!

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