Provided that the device you are working on has a microphone, you can use Word’s built in dictation tool to convert speech to text, right before your eyes, meaning that if you have your hands full, typing at speed is an issue, or you prefer to dictate your thoughts, you can.

Microsoft has recently released a feature within the Voice area, called Transcribe which allows you to upload recordings for the dictation engine to transcribe. For example, you can record a meeting, upload the audio and have it transcribed.

The Transcribe option can also be used in live meetings by using the “Start Recording” option.

Both these features sit on the Home ribbon and can be used by clicking the Dictate button.


If you are wanting to start a dictation, you can click the Dictate icon. This will start listening to your voice and transcribe your spoken words in to text in Word.

When you start recording, the Dictate bar appears on the screen and you can turn the transcribing off/on using the microphone icon.  Once you have turned the Dictate feature on, this bar will stay on your screen until you close it using the X or you close Word.

This popup also enables you to access your settings with the tog icon. In Settings, you can change the language, microphone and whether you would like to auto-punctuate.

Not only can you dictate the content of your document, you can also add in punctuation, special characters and speak commands.

Punctuation and special characters

You can add punctuation: just say the punctuation you would like to add to the sentence i.e. “There was a lovely comma brown cow full stop” will be typed There was a lovely, brown cow. All the usual punction works such as:

  • . – full stop
  • , – comma
  • ? – question mark
  • ! – exclamation mark
  • [ ] – open square brackets / close square brackets

If you would like to add a new paragraph in, you can say “new line” or “new paragraph”.

Special characters can also be added in using the commands such as:

  • * – asterisk
  • \ / back slash / forward slash
  • _ – underscore
  • © – copyright sign
Speak commands

These are commands that can be used in your document to help with editing text, formatting text, creating lists and more. Here are some useful commands that I use:

  • Backspace – this will backspace one character.
  • Backspace 10 – this will backspace 10 characters, you can backspace up to 100 characters.
  • Delete Word – this will delete the last word of the text.
  • Delete last/previous paragraph – this will delete the last or previous paragraph depending on where your cursor is.
  • Align centre/left/right – this will align the paragraph where your cursor is in the centre/left/right of the document.
  • Bold last word – this will bold the last word dictated.

To create a list using the dictate feature start the list off by saying “create bullet list” or “create numbered list” depending on the type of list you want. This will start a list for you, to add in more items use the command “new line”. When your list is complete and you would like to return to normal paragraphs say “exit list”.

Finally, you can control your dictation by using dictation commands such as:

  • Pause dictation – this will stop listening to you and keep the dictation bar open.
  • Exit dictation – this will stop listening to you and close the dictation bar.
  • Add comment – this will add a comment to the last word where your cursor is.

For a full list of what can be dictated please visit Microsoft’s Support page – Dictate your documents in word.


To use the Transcribe feature use the dropdown menu on the Dictate button and select Transcribe.

This will open the Transcribe pane, where you can create a new recording or upload a recorded meeting. To transcribe a meeting select the Start recording button, this will now listen and record your meeting.   Please note that you may have to let everyone know in the meeting that they are being recorded.  If you would like to pause the recording, use the microphone icon and then press it again to resume. Once the meeting is over select the Save and transcribe now button.

When you save and transcribe, Word will add the recording as well as the text to the pane. Each new person speaking will have a new entry in the pane including the time stamp.  This helps to find individual entries in the recording more easily.

You can also review text and add the speaker’s names for further ease of reading. To edit, use the pencil to the right of the entry.  Tip : do this before clicking ‘Add to document’ at the bottom.

To add the transcription to the document you use the Add to document button at the bottom of the Transcribe pane. You can change the layout of the transcription by using the different options available such as just having the text or including the speakers and the timestamps.

Beccy Scobell

Beccy Scobell

07471 897833

This article was written by Beccy Scobell. If you would like to discuss your firm’s upskilling needs, please do not hesitate to contact Baskerville Drummond on 

The only thing that doesn’t change in IT, is the fact that IT is forever changing. 

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