How to Activate and Setup Windows Speech Recognition for Dictation on PC


Dictating in programs like Microsoft Office on your PC is available thanks to a free feature called Windows Speech Recognition.

Streamline and optimize accuracy as you activate or setup this option by following these quick steps.

1.  Find Windows Speech Recognition

When you search for Speech Recognition on your computer, you may see a desktop app by the name as well as a system heading.

The desktop app is a wizard that takes you through setup. This is useful; however, if you want to customize the experience, select the option that is not a desktop app.

Alternatively, you can select Start - All Programs - Accessories - Ease of Access - Speech Recognition.

2.  Use this setting to allow Speech Recognition to work in more programs

In older versions of Windows, some programs might not automatically accept text dictation. If you want to dictate text into those programs, you can use Windows Speech Recognition to turn on dictation in those programs. But keep in mind, dictation still may not work in every program or accessory.

While in the Speech Recognition system screen, select Show Speech Options - Options - Enable dictation everywhere.

After that, you have just a few more steps to improve accuracy.
On newer versions of Windows, look for additional options under Advanced Options, including Enable Voice Activation (for even more voice commands).

3.  Train Windows Speech Recognition to better recognize your voice

Windows Speech Recognition includes a tool that helps the software better recognize your voice, with all its inflections, pacing, and tonality, for example.

This is definitely worth doing, because when it comes to dictation, you want the resulting text to be as accurate as possible.

When this option pops up, I suggest going through it. If you want to initiate this feature, select Start Tutorial when prompted. Or, to initiate this session, go to Take the Speech Tutorial.

After that, you can launch this from the same Ease of Access center already mentioned: Train Your Computer to Better Understand You.

Tip: Select Advanced Options to create different profiles for different computer users.
One important thing to understand is that Windows speech recognition is only available in a limited number of languages. At the time of this writing, those included English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

4.  Properly connect your microphone

You can choose which microphone you would like to use in order to improve accuracy by selecting Setup Microphone.

For example, external mics may be able to offer a better dictation experience, especially since you can opt for something that gives you mobility such as a wireless headset.
This would potentially allow you to move around, away from your desk.

5.  Open a program and try your first dictation

Once you set up Speech Recognition, you may see a small control bar that allows you to turn it on and off, depending on your version of Windows.

Alternatively, you can Start Speech Recognition from the Ease of Access screen mentioned above.
Note: If you don't want to do this every time you use your computer, go to Advanced Options in the Ease of Access screen and select Run Speech Recognition at Startup.

Open a program such as Microsoft Word and click into the screen. Then, simply start talking.
Remember that you need to turn Speech Recognition off on the small floating toolbar or by going back to the Ease of Access screen, or mayhem may ensue as you unintentionally command your computer. 

6.  Teach yourself key voice commands

As you activate Speech Recognition, you may be prompted to Print or Open the Speech Reference Card. This is a helpful list of commands.
If you would like another resource, check out this link.

7.  Be patient as you learn dictation

Everyone learns to dictate at a different speed, but most can assimilate this skill after dedicated time and patience. Even if you only try it an hour a day, you should be able to see improvement within a few sessions.
Think of all the time and typing you are learning to save!

Ready for more productivity tools and ideas? Check out these Office Software Basics, Office Software for Windows, and Office Software for Mobile devices. You may also be interested in Note Software, which allows you to capture audio which can then be converted to text.

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Tech Magazine: How to Activate and Setup Windows Speech Recognition for Dictation on PC
How to Activate and Setup Windows Speech Recognition for Dictation on PC
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