Microsoft rolls out voice dictation to Office Insiders in the Fast ring

Microsoft is giving Office Insiders a chance to test out the latest accessibility feature to hit the productivity suite: voice dictation. Insiders on the Fast ring will now be able to use speech recognition built into Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook to write documents, populate slides, compose emails, and take notes.

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Getting started with dictation is fairly straightforward (opens in new tab). Within whichever Office app you're using, a new Dictate button will appear on the Home tab. If you have a microphone connected to your PC, you can simply click the Dictate button to begin, and the icon will turn red to indicate you can start speaking. As you speak, the text will appear in your document, email, slide, or page.

Word Dictate

According to Microsoft, the feature works best if you speak conversationally; the app will pick up on pauses and insert punctuation automatically. If you need to add specific punctuation, you can do so by saying its name. So, for example, you can add a question mark simply by saying "question mark."

Last year, Microsoft Garage launched a dictation add-in for Office which essentially did the same thing. However, baking it directly into Office is likely to make the feature much more accessible to everyone.

If you're an Office 365 subscriber on the Insider Fast ring, you can check out voice dictation now. Be aware that, at least for now, the feature only works for the English language in the U.S. You also must be connected to the internet to use dictation.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

6 Comments
  • I wonder if it can do constant dictation.
  • I wonder if you can say "new line" or other commands.
  • I don't understand how this is available, and how OneNote can tag recorded audio for words, but transcription from recordings isn't available. Isn't the technology behind it the same?
  • Dictation for Word, Outlook etc has been available for quite some time (dictate.azurewebsites.net/).  I installed it following a similar article on here, so what's so different about this?
  • That wasn't an officially supported feature of Office.  That was created by Microsoft employees as side projects and could have been dropped and it stop working at any time.  Now the dictate feature is an officially adopted and supported feature of Office by the Office team.
  • ...and now that it is official, they slammed the US-only tag on it 🤣 The Danish dictation was at least 50% there, now it is not there at all. I find it beyond ridiculous, that not even insiders on the fast ring can test a buggy voice dictation service 😅