How to Effortlessly Type With Your Voice Using Microsoft Dictate

Saikat Basu 05-07-2017

Everyone wants to speak now — or rather, use speech-to-text with artificial intelligence to save the labor of typing. So is it a surprise that Microsoft now has a potentially innovative attempt at speech-to-text, born from its own private tests and development?


Microsoft Dictate is an experimental new app from Microsoft Garage that brings voice dictation to Windows versions of Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint. You only need to download the light 2 MB add-in for the Ribbon to get started.

Go Hands-Free in Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint

Microsoft Dictate started its life from a hackathon project. I guess the guys at Redmond wanted to save some time in emails, long text documents, and quickfire PowerPoint demonstrations. After all, it’s not always fun to depend on the keyboard for saying things like “Deploy infrastructure to improve cognitive load on the virtual machines.”

Install this handy program and it goes to work from its own tab in the Ribbon.

  1. Reveal the Dictation tab on the Ribbon. Click on the Mic icon to start the voice to text speech recognition.
  2. The dictation software picks up your speech patterns and translates that into text on the page. You can also see the real-time feedback in the field.
  3. Quickly shift to the language options if you want to spell out something in a different language. Dictate supports more than 20 languages for dictation and can handle real-time translation of 60 languages.
  4. Nine specific voice commands help you create new lines, delete, add punctuation and more to format the text.
  5. Toggle between manual punctuation and automatic punctuation for better control.
  6. Microsoft Dictate is supported on Windows 8.1 or later, Office 2013 or later, using .NET Framework 4.5.0 or later.

Take an Experimental Shot at Productivity

Microsoft Dictate uses the same infrastructure that runs the successful Cortana. The cutting-edge speech recognition and artificial intelligence built on Microsoft Cognitive Services includes the Bing Speech API and Microsoft Translator.

The fledgling effort will only get better with time, assuming Microsoft keeps on with the project. For now, more advanced speech-to-text software need not tremble at its “intelligence” — it’s still a Garage project for the foreseeable future.


Want to try something similar outside of Microsoft Office? Check out voice typing in Google Docs How Voice Typing Is the New Best Feature of Google Docs Voice recognition has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Earlier this week, Google finally introduced voice typing into Google Docs. But is it any good? Let's find out! Read More .

Is Dictate among the Microsoft Services you didn’t know about till now? Have you ever used voice typing to write an entire document?

Image Credit: Gajus via Shutterstock

Related topics: Microsoft, Microsoft Cortana, Speech Recognition, Speech to Text, Voice Commands.

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  1. Salkis
    July 7, 2017 at 2:24 am

    We can use PC with google chrome with voice to text extensions. There are quiet a few. I use that to enter text into whatsapp web, telegram web, dictate in gmail etc. only some text entry boxes will not work.

    Also google office doc voice activate shortcut : Ctrl+shift+S