Dictation in Word and Outlook for Windows

While I prefer to write emails and documents using my keyboard, there are some people who prefer (or need) to use voice dictation to get “words on paper.” Fortunately, there’s a Dictate feature in Word and Outlook for Windows that makes that easy. Here’s how it works…

To start dictation in Word, click on Home > Dictate:

When the Listening panel appears, you can start talking into your microphone. The words you dictate will start to appear in your document. If you need help understanding the dictation feature, click on the question mark icon in the Listening panel. The Help panel will appear in the right-side of the document:

By clicking on the Gear icon in the Listening panel, you can turn on the Auto punctuation and Profanity filter features. The Auto punctuation feature will automatically add things like periods and commas, and the Profanity filter will use asterisks to remove any profanity:

If you want to get really fancy, check out the What can I say? section in Help. That gives you a list of words that will do various things such as adding other punctuation marks, starting new lines, bolding and deleting words, and more… all without touching your keyboard:

And as I mentioned, you can do the same thing in an Outlook for Windows email:

Now for the caveat… I tried doing this with my Jabra headset, thinking the mic would pick up my words. Unfortunately, nothing happened. I had to go into the Microsoft setup feature in Windows:

Once there, I selected the microphone setup option to use the mic on my webcam instead of my Jabra headset. I also found that I had to have a pretty quiet environment for the dictation feature to work well, which meant I had to turn off my air conditioner… and given the current weather here in Minneapolis, *that* was not a desirable constraint. 🙂

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