Typing with your voice — dictating text — has become an extremely common form of communication. Even better, you don’t even need a stenographer. (now I’m dating myself)
I recently watched a friend mutter something quietly into his iPhone while answering an email. Speaking his own responses became very accurate and much easier than reaching for glasses and fumbling for a virtual keyboard, he explained.
Thanks to the latest features on mobile phones and websites, you can dictate your messages or documents. Whether you don’t have extra spare time to type, are on the go and need a quick reply to a text, or find dictation helpful for personal reasons, check out helpful ways to use speech-to-text functionality on different devices below.
Also, if you’re using dictation with any technology right now, we have an important warning.
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Dictation and conversational text on your device
You can use this feature in most apps that allow you to type, including Messages, Email, Safari, Docs, Pages, Notes, and even dating apps to name a few. Before you start dictating on any of your devices, be sure to follow this helpful tip to type the most accurate message possible.
How to use specific commands to include punctuation and formatting.
In the recent iOS 16 update, the iPhone now supports automatic punctuation if you have a newer model with the A12 Bionic chip onboard. Even though I have the latest model, I find myself dictating the old fashioned way because the new automatic punctuation option doesn’t always seem to work.
Here’s a proven way to add punctuation on the iPhone.
If you want to end your sentences with a period, exclamation point, or question mark, you’ll want to include that in your dictation. For example, if you wanted to type the following in your message:
I’m very good. Are you OK?
You will dictate:
“I’m fine period how are you question mark”
Sometimes you can also add formatting, including saying “new line” or “new paragraph”. I’ll give some additional command examples later, depending on the device at hand.
How to dictate on iPhone
Leaving aside the not-so-exciting auto-punctuation feature on newer iPhones, here’s what actually works. If you have an Apple iPhone or iPad, your on-screen keyboard will give you the option to dictate or “talk to text” with a simple tap. For iPhone 6s or later or iPad, you can even use this feature without internet.
Here’s how to use voice typing on your iPhone or iPad:
Whenever you open the app and type something, this keyboard will appear:
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Dictate Message – Skip the button with a sound wave next to the text box. This will allow you to record your real voice in Messages.
Instead, click microphone button in the lower right corner of the keyboard
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As soon as you tap the microphone button, you can start dictating your message. You’ll see the text appear momentarily as you speak, and it will usually correct itself as you continue speaking.
To change the language you speak, press and hold the microphone button and click another language (if you have it set up in your keyboard).To add a new language keyboard, hold down the microphone and click Dictation Settingstap keyboard, then click Add new keyboard…
Additional iPhone commands for talking to text:
- “quote mark” and “end quote mark” are for when you want the text to appear between the quote marks
- “new paragraph”
- “new team”
- “Cap” capitalizes the next word
- “Caps on” and “Caps off” capitalize the first letter of each word
- “Smiley” will insert a smiley face
- “Frowny” will insert a frowning face
- “Winky” will insert a winking face
- As with other dictation, always include punctuation such as periods, exclamation points, commas, question marks, etc.
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How to call the shots on your Android
Just like an iPhone, your Android phone or tablet keyboard will provide the option to dictate rather than type in most applications where it can.If your phone doesn’t have this feature, another option is to download and install Gboard app from google store And you’ll have more typing capabilities (including the ability to swipe text, one of my top five Android tricks). You can learn more about other Android tricks by entering the URL CyberGuy.com and searching for the word “Android”.
Here’s how to use voice typing on your Android phone or tablet:
Whenever you open an app and start typing, the keyboard usually appears in the upper right corner of the keyboard:
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When the words “Speak Now” appear, start dictating what you want to type. Your words will be converted to text and displayed while you continue to message.
Additional Android commands for talking to text:
- Period “period”
- “Enter” line feed
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How to dictate on your computer or any device
If you want to create a document and dictate that document to any device, including Mac, PC, iPhone and Android, we recommend you try Google Docs.
Google Docs is free with Gmail or a Google account. If you don’t use Gmail, you can use any email address to create a Google account (this will give you access not only to Google Docs, but also to other Google programs and Youtube).
Follow the steps below to dictate using Google Docs.
How to Dictate Text with Google Chrome Using Google Docs
1. Before using Google Docs on the Chrome browser, make sure your device’s microphone is turned on.
On a Mac, you need to visit System Preferences On a PC, you will access the control panel. The first time you use this feature, you may need to make sure your computer has given Google Chrome permission to access your microphone. Follow the on-screen pop-up to allow use of your microphone in the app.
2. open Google Docs In your Chrome browser, open the document you’re working on or create a new blank document.
3. Click tool options along the top, then click Voice input.
4. A popup with a microphone button will appear above your document. Click it to use your voice to dictate.
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5. When the microphone turns red, you can say whatever you want converted to text.
6. If you make a mistake, you can use your cursor to fix it without disabling the microphone. Then move the cursor back to where you want to continue the conversation text.
Extra commands to talk to text on Google Docs on Chrome:
Google Docs has by far the longest list of commands you can use to edit text while speaking. These commands are only available if you are using English.
- “Select Paragraph” selects the entire paragraph
- “Select_____” can select a word, multiple words, phrases, lists, lines, etc.
- “Italic” or “Italic” adds italics to the selected text
- “Bold” adds boldness to the selected text
- Strikethrough, Underline, Subscript, and Superscript are some other formatting options
- “Titlecase” or “lowercase” to change your text case options
- “text color” “highlight” “highlight [color],, “Remove highlight” is some of your color options
- “increase font size” or “decrease font size” or even say the number font size you want between 6-400
- Format your paragraphs with commands like “Increase Indent”, “Double Space” or “Center”, “Left” and “Right” to indent paragraphs
- Use Create Bulleted List or Create Numbered List to create a list, then use Insert Bullet or Insert Number to update the list
How to dictate Google Docs on other devices
If you’re using Google Docs on an Internet browser other than Google Chrome on your computer, you need to turn on your computer’s dictation feature.
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1. open System Preferences
2. Click keyboard
3. Click dictation Label
4. Next to Dictation: Press exist
5. Use the default shortcut settings or choose your own
6. Now when you type anywhere else, you can use this shortcut key
On the computer
You can use it if you have Windows 10 or later.
1. When you are typing, press Windows logo key + H Open Dictation Toolbar
2. This will automatically start your dictation, please speak as usual
3. Say “Stop Dictation” to disable the feature
1. Press Windows logo key + h on the hardware keyboard.press Microphone key Next to the space bar on touch keyboards
2. Click microphone button Stop, or say “Stop listening” or “Stop dictating” to turn off dictation. You can also pause dictation by saying “Pause voice typing” or “Pause dictation.”
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on iPhone or Android
You can dictate in Google Docs like any other application by following the same steps as iPhone and Android. In the Google Docs app, use the built-in microphone on your keyboard to dictate as you like.
One major caveat with dictation-to-text
If you use these features, the first warning we can give you is Review your texts before sending any messages. Whether you dictate text messages, emails or lists – take a look at your texts before sending them or using them anywhere! We’ve all gotten a lot of text messages with incorrect information.
The most common errors with Dictation are related to autocorrect. While speech-to-text technology is very accurate, mistakes do happen. Autocorrect has been known to mishear words and replace them with humorous or sometimes inappropriate words. Checking the dictated text is always the safest way to make sure the information is correct.
Have you ever used speech-to-text on any of your devices, only to have it turn into a misunderstood train accident? Keep it clean and leave a comment below. 🙂
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