How to Use Microsoft Office by Talking Instead of Typing

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Set up an external microphone if your computer does not have an internal one.
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Windows 8 features several accessibility features designed to make your computer easy to use. With speech recognition, you control applications using your voice. Setting up Microsoft Office 2013 to work with speech recognition is a two-stage process. First, if your computer does not have a built-in microphone, set one up. After your microphone is connected, activate speech recognition and familiarize it with your voice.

Set Up Your Microphone

Step 1

Connect a microphone to your computer if it does not have an internal microphone. Plug the microphone into the microphone or audio input port on your computer or sound card. Consult your computer's documentation for more information.

Step 2

Type "Windows-Q" on your keyboard to launch the Search prompt. Type "Set up a microphone" in the search field and press "Enter."

Step 3

Click "Set up a microphone" in the search results and follow the prompts to configure your microphone for use. Configuring the microphone properly is essential. Office needs to be able to hear you well to interpret your verbal commands.

Start Using Speech Recognition

Step 1

Type "Windows-Q," enter "Speech Recognition" into the Search prompt and then click "Speech Recognition" to launch the Speech Recognition screen. Click "Train your computer to better understand you" and follow the prompts to familiarize your computer with your voice. Speak clearly and at your normal volume.

Step 2

Load the Speech Recognition screen again and say "Start listening" into your microphone. Issuing this verbal command while on the Speech Recognition screen initiates the voice-activated controls on your computer.

Step 3

Launch the Microsoft Office application you want to use and then say "What can I say?" into your microphone to see a list of commands available for the selected Office application. What you can do using voice commands varies depending on the Office application you use. In Word, for example, you can click your mouse in the body of a document and dictate text. You can also edit existing text using verbal commands such as "Select," "Correct" and "Delete."


Microsoft recommends using a headset microphone because it picks up less background noise. Excessive background noise can affect how well Office hears and interprets your voice commands.

Turn Speech Recognition off at any time by saying "Stop listening" into your microphone.

Add new words to the speech dictionary by saying "open speech dictionary" while you're on the Speech Recognition screen. Say "add new word" and then follow the prompts to add the word.