How to Voice dictate on your computer?

Voice writing emerged with the introduction of the Steno mask in the 1940s, and half a century later, the technology only seems to be growing and not even close to stopping. Substantial evolution in the field of voice recognition and digital recording has helped us device voice-recognition systems and devices that truly help in making our lives easier by handling all our note-taking duties and woes. Here, we’ll outline the technologies related to voice writing and explore how to voice type on your desktop computer with ease.

Why Dictate?

With studies proving just how harmful typing can be to your health, the time has never been better to automate the transcription facilities in your computer and dictate out your notes. Repetitive Strain Injury affects millions of people each year and is a direct result of typing out things for hours at a stretch. Whether for health reasons or to save time and effort, switching to voice-recognition systems seems to be the general trend of this day and age. Whichever operating system you use, you can find several applications on the internet that will help you dictate your notes. In this article, we’ll focus on Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs.

Windows Microsoft Word

If you’re using Microsoft Word on a Windows system, then you have several options to choose from for voice transcription. The integrated voice-recognition system will work on MS Word and maybe people’s first choice.  

To launch:

  1. Type – windows speech recognition- into taskbar’s search box.
  2. Click on the app as it appears.
  3. When you open it for the first time, you will have to initialise your voice so that it can recognise it later on.
  4. The step-by-step wizard will help you feed your voice into the system.

Over time, it will learn to recognise your voice, and you can help it get better by training it by:

  • Right-click on Speech Recognition console
  • Go to Configuration
  • Click on Improve Speech Recognition.

After completing the setup, launch the service from the taskbar as mentioned above. Speech Recognition helps you control the launching of programs, enables searching and even choose what to close. Allow for automatic launch by right-clicking on the app, going to Options, and clicking on Run at Startup. To use the utility, go over to the document you are editing on Word and click on the microphone button to start talking. Click again to turn off voice functionality.

Other Options

  • Microsoft also recently launched a plug-in or extension called Dictate. Download it, and relaunch Word to find it on the ribbon menu. To operate, open the tab and click on the Start button. But you might want to just stick to the in-built system because studies have shown that Dictate is not as accurate as the integrated system that Word uses by default.
  • A third-party program which can help you dictate notes is Dragon for PC. It has an extremely high level of voice-recognition accuracy due to years of rigorous development and correction and also is compatible with most Windows applications such as Office and Word. While a home version costs $75, the premium option which enables Bluetooth headphone connectivity will cost you about $175.

macOS Microsoft Word

macOS also includes an integrated voice system that works with Microsoft Word and even the Apple Pages word editor tool. To set up:

  1. Click on Apple menu
  2. Choose System Preferences
  3. Click on Keyboard and Dictation
  4. Turn dictation on
  5. Tick the Enhanced Dictation option
  6. Now open up a text document and choose Start Dictation from either the Edit menu or access it using the shortcut button, which is by default double tap on the function key.
  7. To change the shortcut button, go to the Dictation pane of the System Preferences tab.
  8. Dictate what you want to type to use the functionality.
  9. To add punctuation, say the character name.
  10. When you are finished, either click Done or press the Function key.

Other Options

A third-party alternative would again be the Dragon software which is priced at  $300 for the macOS. While the software is quite advanced as it uses deep and machine learning algorithms to process the recognition, this might be too expensive for most people, and hence, the best option would be to stick to the integrated system as it is quite effective. But the Dragon software comes with its own set of advantages such as providing you with the option of transcribing audio files and even customising your vocabulary.

Google Docs

As Docs is web-based, you don’t need to install new software. To set-up a dictation system:

  1. Open a Google Docs document
  2. Go to the Tools menu
  3. Choose Voice typing or press Ctrl+Shift+S (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+S (Mac)
  4. Click on the microphone button that appears
  5. Start dictating after you grant your browser the required permission

Google’s system is quite accurate and also has a predictive correction facility that underlines phrases it is unsure of as it takes down your notes. You also have the option to right-click on words to see synonyms and other words that might suit better the sentence in question. It also allows you to insert punctuation by saying it out loud.

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