How to Make Microsoft Word Type for You While You Read

By Andrew Tennyson

The Speech Recognition feature in Windows 8 enables you to control certain applications by dictating text into your computer’s microphone. Microsoft Word 2013 is one such application. Once you’ve enabled Speech Recognition you can dictate text into Word and perform most of its formatting and document-manipulation functions simply by issuing voice commands.

Step 1

Connect your external microphone to the line-in or audio input jack on your computer if your computer does not have an internal microphone.

Step 2

Press "Windows-Q” and type "Set up a microphone” in the Search field. Click "Set up a microphone" on the list of search results and proceed through the prompts to configure and test your microphone. Taking a moment to configure your microphone helps to ensure Word hears your voice clearly.

Step 3

Press "Windows-Q" again, type "Speech Recognition" in the Search field and click "Speech Recognition" on the search results to open the Speech Recognition prompt. Click "Train your computer to better understand you" and proceed through the prompts to help your computer understand your voice. Because everyone speaks a little differently, this step helps your computer to understand your distinctive voice and rhythms of speech.

Step 4

Open Microsoft Word and say “start listening” into your computer’s microphone to initiate speech recognition. Begin dictating your text and Word will write it out in your document.

Step 5

Say “What can I say” into your microphone at any point to have Word load a selection of voice commands it recognizes. For example, in Word you create a new paragraph by saying “new paragraph.” You relocate the cursor back to the start of the current sentence by saying “go to start of sentence.”

Step 6

Say “stop listening” at any point to turn speech recognition off.

Tips & Warnings

  • To add new words to the speech dictionary, launch the Speech Recognition prompt and say "open speech dictionary.” Say "add new word" and follow the prompts to add words.
  • If you find that Word only lets you dictate one or two sentences at a time in a little text box, you need to disable the Dictation Scratchpad. To do this, click the “Microphone” button on the speech bar and select “Options.” Remove the check mark from the “Enable Dictation Scratchpad” check box.
  • If you have a choice between using a built-in microphone and an external microphone, Microsoft recommends using an external one with a headset. Because headset microphones are situated close to your mouth, they pick up less background noise, which makes voice recognition easier for Microsoft Word because it doesn’t have to try and separate your voice from other sounds.