Hands-Free Typing in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word Tips

As I was searching for a new topic for our Productivity Tips & Tricks, I came across this nifty tool called Dictate. Similar to voice to text on your mobile phone, this feature allows you (actually your fingers) to take a break from typing. What’s not to love about that?

First thing, Dictate is only available in your online Microsoft Office 365 subscription.  So the desktop version of Word does not have it, you need to use the online version.  Not all applications have the Dictate button; however, it is in the ones you might use the most, Word and OneNote.

So, I tested it, and it worked pretty well. Like voice to text, it has its kinks. For instance, it will not add periods at the end of your sentences, unless you say “Period.” Also, to go to the next line, you have to say “New Line.” I found that it will not recognize certain words, such as webinar, instead I got “Web and R,” so, it’s always good to go back and read what you said to catch potential mistakes.

Let’s get started:

First, make sure you are signed on to Office 365, using Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Turn on your microphone and make sure that it works. If your microphone does not work, go to the Control Panel in Windows or System Preferences on a Mac and check and test the microphone settings are turned on.

Next, open up a New Word document. On the Home Ribbon go to menu option Dictate and click it.

Dictation in Office 365 Word


You may have to give your browser permission to use your mic if this is the first time using dictation. A red dot will appear on the button and a quick sound will let you know when dictation has begun.

Dictation in Office 365 Word

Once you start talking, text will appear on your screen. Speak clearly and conversationally. As stated above, to insert punctuation you must say the name of the punctuation mark you want to add. If you make a mistake while dictating, you must move your cursor to the location of the mistake and fix it with your keyboard. No need to turn off the mic.

Note: If you come to a long pause, approximately 20 seconds, dictate will automatically stop listening to you. In order to continue you will need to select Dictate again.

When finished talking, select Dictate to stop, or remain quiet and Dictate will stop typing. It’s that simple!

I hope you find this tip helpful.

If you have questions or need some assistance, visit our support page for more help.

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