Speech to Text

Use Speech to Text for Assisted Writing

Speech to Text can help you get your thoughts down more accurately and more quickly.  You are basically dictating what you want written down. Speech to Text has improved a lot in the last several years.

Tips for Using Speech to Text

  • Speak clearly, taking care to never mumble or talk too quickly. Articulating your words is important.
  • Between each word take a small pause to give each word its own turn, but try to speak naturally (don’t speak robotically).
  • You will have to ‘say’ your punctuation while you are getting your thoughts down, or editing after will be challenging.
  • As with any writing, editing your work is important.

Speech to Text Options

Which Speech to Text tool you choose will depend on your needs, work situation, affordability, and level of professionalism needed.
Here are some of the Speech to Text options available:

Dragon Professional and Dragon Home

Dragon Professional is a top-of-the-line Speech to Text developed by Nuance.
This link will take you to the website to see the different options available:  Nuance Website

  • Dragon Professional is a paid program available for Windows OS.
  • This program saves a profile of your speech and vocabulary.
  • During a short training session, you can set up your profile and every time that you use the program your profile is updated.
  • Dragon can be used on your Windows computer without an active internet connection.
  • Dragon can be used hands-free; the program allows speech to move the cursor and open other programs on your computer.
  • You can also speak into a voice recorder and Dragon will transcribe the file once it is connected to your computer.
  • This program can be used in conjunction with Dragon Anywhere for portability.
  • Professional Use: If you are in a professional setting or writing professionally at home, use Dragon Professional. There are versions made specifically for Health Care, Law enforcement, etc. loaded with vocabulary common to that industry.
  • Dragon Professional is formerly known as Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Dragon Home is sufficient for home use.

Dragon Anywhere

Dragon Anywhere is an app available for tablets and smartphones, which you pay a subscription for.
This website includes videos (scroll to the bottom) to see Dragon Anywhere in action: Dragon Anywhere 

  • Just as the name suggests, Dragon Anywhere can be used anywhere. Think of it as more portable, but with many of the same features of the full program.
  • Dragon Anywhere saves a user profile, so recognition improves with use (just like Dragon Professional or Dragon Home).
  • The app also learns the vocabulary that you use and has a feature that allows you to add vocabulary specific to you in the app.
  • You can use Dragon Anywhere on any mobile device (Tablet or Smartphones)
  • Sync your dictation to Evernote or Dropbox
  • Share your document to a Microsoft Word Document, Google Drive, or other apps on your device or add it directly to an email.

Dragon Anywhere Subscriptions:

  • Dragon Anywhere is available by subscription and can be found in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
  • It is not available on the Chrome Web Store so it cannot be used on a Chromebook.
  • Nuance offers a free trial for a week.
  • An annual subscription will save you the cost of two months.

Google Voice Typing

Go here to learn about more Google Voice Typing: Google Voice Typing

  • Google Voice Typing is free.
  • You must have an active internet connection to use Google Voice Typing
  • It does not save a user profile.
  • Available on Chromebooks and the Chrome Browser on all other devices.
  • NOTE that dictation is only available in the Chrome browser.  For example, if you are using Google in another browser such as Safari or Microsoft Edge you will not find Google Voice Typing under the Tools tab.
  • Voice Typing is located under the Tools tab in a Google Doc or Google Slides.
  • In Google Slides, voice typing is only available in the speaker notes section.  To get around this; in Slides you can dictate into the speaker notes section, then cut and paste into the slide and change your formatting ie: font size, etc.

Did you know? If you have Dragon Professional installed on your computer, you can use Dragon Professional with Google Docs. First, install the extension available in the Chrome Web Store.

Office 365 Dictation

Office 365 is free with your Office 365 subscription.

  • To use Dictation you will need an active internet connection.
  • Dictation is available in OneNote, Outlook, and PowerPoint (both slides and speaker notes)

Go to these sites to learn how to activate and use dictation for these devices:

Mac OS built-in Speech to Text

To activate the Speech to Text feature in your Mac OS:

  • Go to System Preferences, Accessibility, and choose Voice Control to turn it on.
  • A microphone will appear on your screen and can be moved around the screen to where it is most convenient.
  • The commands on the microphone are Sleep and Wake up.
  • Voice Control will work on almost anything that is on your Mac such as Pages, Keynote, Safari, Word for Mac, etc.

To learn more go to: Mac Built-in Speech to Text

(Note that Dragon Dictate for Mac was discontinued several years ago)

iPad built-in Speech to Text

To learn about dictation on your  iPad, go to:
More About Dictation

To activate this Speech to Text on an iPad:

  • Go to Settings, General, Keyboard (It is not under Accessibility as you might expect).
  • Scroll almost to the bottom and toggle on Enable Dictation.
  • Once this is done a microphone will appear on the bottom left of your keyboard which can be used in any application that uses a keyboard.  Turn on Dictation

Smartphones built-in Speech to Text

Most IOS and Android Smartphones have built-in Speech to Text, often known as dictation tools, Many do not need to be turned on. However, if they are not automatically enabled then look in Settings for an Accessibility section.
Assistive Technology Built-in to Mobile Devices