How to: Convert Voice into Text on Windows

Keyboards – both virtual and physical – are everywhere. If you want to type something on a computer, you need to use a keyboard. If you want to type something on a phone/tablet, you need to use a keyboard. However, using a keyboard can be quite strenuous and is just not as feasible and simple as using your voice instead. Yes, that’s right – with all the advancements in the world of speech-to-text conversion, people can now use their voice to dictate text to both their computers and their phones.

Typing lengthy emails, authoring blog posts and creating documents has become easier than ever before as you can now simply use your voice to dictate whatever you want to type to your computer, tablet or phone. In addition, to top it all off, the world of speech-to-text conversion has become so advanced that you now have a multitude of choices when it comes to the method you use to turn your voice into actual words on your computer, tablet or phone. If you’ve been wondering how to convert voice into text on your computer, tablet or phone, the following are some of the best ways you can do so:

Use your computer’s built-in speech-to-text utility

Both Windows computers and Macs come with their own built-in speech-to-text utility. On Windows, the built-in voice-to-text conversion program – Speech Recognition – was first included in Windows 7 and has since been a part of every subsequent version of the Windows Operating System. OS X’s onboard speech-to-text utility, aptly dubbed Dictation, on the other hand, has been around since well before even OS X Yosemite. However, Enhanced Dictation, a feature of the utility that allows for continuous dictation, quicker speech-to-text conversion, the use of dictation commands and the ability to dictate even when you aren’t connected to the internet, was only introduced with OS X Mavericks and is only available in OS X Mavericks or later.

To convert voice into text on a computer using its built-in voice-to-text conversion utility, you need to:

On Windows: Using Speech Recognition

How to enable Speech Recognition:

Open the Control Panel.

Click on Ease of Access.

Click on Speech Recognition.

Click on Start Speech Recognition.

On the Welcome to Speech Recognition screen, read through the text and click on Next.

On the screen that follows, select the type of microphone that you are using and click on Next.

Read through the following screen and click on Next.

On the next screen, read the sample sentence out loud and click on Next.

Proceed through the rest of the Speech Recognition setup wizard, configuring Speech Recognition to your preferences.

Once you go through the setup wizard, the Speech Recognition control panel should appear on a small portion of your screen.

Speech Recognition

Once you have set Speech Recognition up, you will be able to train your computer to better understand you and look at a reference card containing Speech Recognition commands (and more) in Control Panel > Ease of Access > Speech Recognition.

How to use Speech Recognition:

Navigate to a program, application or field that you can dictate text into.

To get Speech Recognition to start listening to you, say “start listening” or click on the Microphone button in the Speech Recognition control panel.

Speak whatever you want converted into text, and Speech Recognition will transcribe it onto your screen.

To get Speech Recognition to stop listening to you, say “stop listening” or click on the Microphone button in the Speech Recognition control panel.

Pro Tip: Not only can Speech Recognition be used to convert voice into text, it can also be used to control your computer – from clicking on objects on the screen using your voice to even launching programs and applications. To learn more about the many ways in which Speech Recognition can be used, navigate to Control Panel > Ease of Access > Speech Recognition and click on Take Speech Tutorial.

Use a third-party text dictation program

There exist third-party programs designed specifically to allow users of computers and mobile devices to have their voice converted into text for them, and chief among these programs are the many variations of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-to-text program. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a truly immaculate speech-to-text conversion program that is second to none and has an amazing voice-to-text engine. However, with only slightly superior speech-to-text conversion accuracy as compared to its built-in counterparts and mildly impressive added features such as the ability to edit converted text with your words to boast, Dragon NaturallySpeaking may just be a tad overly expensive at $74.99 for the Home version and $300.00 for the Professional (Individual) version for computers.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to: Convert Voice into Text on Windows

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