Use a screen reader to dictate a document in Word

Decorative icon. Screen reader content

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Microsoft Support home.

Use Word with your keyboard and a screen reader to dictate content for a document. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

You'll learn how to use dictation to quickly create drafts, outlines, and take notes. All you need is a headset and reliable internet connection.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • By default, dictation is set to your document language in Office. We are actively working to improve these languages and add more locales and languages. For the list of supported languages, go to the "Spoken languages supported" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  • The dictation feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

  • This service does not store your audio data or transcribed text. What you say will be sent to Microsoft and used only to provide you with text results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office.

In this topic

Dictate a document

Use your voice and dictate your document content to quickly draft an outline of a document or take notes, for example. You can also dictate punctuation marks, symbols, mathematical and currency signs, and emojis. For more information on what you can say, refer to the "What can I say" section in Dictate your documents in Word. You can keep using your keyboard as usual while you dictate.

  1. Connect your headset to your computer, and make sure you're connected to the internet.

  2. While editing a document in Word, press Alt+H, D or Alt+Back quote (`).

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To dictate in the default language, just start dictating.

    • To change the dictation language, press F6 until you hear "Dictation toolbar," press the Tab key until you hear "Dictation settings," and press Enter. Press the Up arrow key until you hear "Spoken language," and then press the Right arrow key. Press the Down or Up arrow key until you find the language you want, and press Enter. Press the Tab key until you hear "Start dictation," and press Enter. When you hear an audio cue, you can start dictating the content of your document.

      Note: If you select one of the preview languages, the punctuation support might be limited and have lower accuracy.

  4. If you want to insert and dictate a comment, press Alt+N, L. The Comments pane opens, and the focus is on the text field for a new comment. You can now dictate your comment. To save the comment, press Ctrl+Enter. To move back to the document body, press F6 until you hear the document name, followed by "Editing."

  5. To stop dictating, press F6 until you hear "Dictation toolbar," press the Tab key until you hear "Stop dictation," and then press Enter.

Use auto punctuation 

You can use auto punctuation to add punctuation to your dictation. With auto punctuation, you don't have to speak the punctuation marks such as “period” or “comma.” Punctuation is determined by the pauses in dictation, so try to speak naturally and fluidly for the best results.

  1. To display the dictation toolbar, press Alt+H, D or Alt+Back quote (`).

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Dictation toolbar," press the Tab key until you hear "Dictation settings," and press Enter.

  3. You hear: "Auto punctuation, menu item, unchecked." To start using auto punctuation, press Enter. To exit the settings menu, press Esc.

  4. To start dictating with auto punctuation, press the Tab key until you hear "Start dictation," and press Enter. When you hear an audio cue, you can start dictating the content of your document.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Use a screen reader to add, read, and delete comments in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to dictate content for a document.

You'll learn how to use dictation to quickly create drafts, outlines, and take notes. All you need is a headset and reliable internet connection.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in the Print Layout View. VoiceOver might not work reliably in other view modes.

Dictate a document

Use your voice and dictate your document content to quickly draft an outline of a document or take notes, for example. You can also dictate punctuation marks, symbols, mathematical and currency signs, and emojis. For more information on what you can say, refer to the "What can I say" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  1. Connect your headset to your computer, and make sure you're connected to the internet.

  2. While editing a document in Word, press Command+F6 until you hear the name of the tab you're on, for example, "Home, selected, tab." If the Home tab is not currently selected, press the Left arrow key until you hear "Home, tab," and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Dictate."

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To dictate in the default language, press Spacebar.

    • To change the dictation language, press Control+Option+Shift+M to open the Dictate menu, then use the Up and Down arrow keys until you find the language you want, and press Return. Then repeat the previous steps to start dictation.

      Note: If you select one of the preview languages, the punctuation support might be limited and have lower accuracy.

  5. Once you hear an audio cue, you can start dictating the content of your document. You can keep using your keyboard as usual while you dictate.

  6. To stop dictating, press Command+F6 until you hear the name of the tab you're on, for example, "Home". If the Home tab is not currently selected, press the Left arrow key until you hear "Home, tab," and press Control+Option+Spacebar. Then press the Tab key until you hear "Dictate," and press Spacebar. You hear an audio cue when the dictation has stopped.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Use a screen reader to add, read, and delete comments in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to dictate content for a document. You'll learn how to use dictation to quickly create drafts, outlines, and take notes. All you need is a headset and reliable internet connection.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • By default, dictation is set to your document language in Office. We are actively working to improve these languages and add more locales and languages. For the list of supported languages, go to the "Spoken languages supported" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  • The dictation feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

  • This service does not store your audio data or transcribed text. What you say will be sent to Microsoft and used only to provide you with text results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office.

In this topic

Dictate a document

Use your voice and dictate your document content to quickly draft an outline of a document or take notes, for example. You can also dictate punctuation marks, symbols, mathematical and currency signs, and emojis. For more information on what you can say, refer to the "What can I say" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  1. Connect your headset to your phone, and make sure you're connected to the internet.

  2. In your Word document, navigate to the document body, and double-tap the screen. With the on-screen keyboard active at the bottom of the screen, swipe right until you hear "Switch to dictate keyboard," and double-tap the screen.

  3. You hear: "Microphone listening." Start dictating the document content. If you want to change the default dictation language, refer to Change the dictation language for detailed instructions.

  4. To stop dictating, swipe left or right until you hear "Microphone listening," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Microphone paused."

Change the dictation language

  1. While editing a document in Word with the on-screen keyboard active at the bottom of the screen, swipe right until you hear "Switch to dictate keyboard," and double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "Open settings," and then double-tap the screen. The Dictation settings menu opens.

  3. You hear "Spoken language," followed by the currently selected language. Double-tap the screen.

  4. The language menu opens. Swipe right until you find the language you want, and then double-tap the screen.

    Note: If you select one of the preview languages, the punctuation support might be limited and have lower accuracy.

  5. To exit the language menu, swipe left until you hear "Back, button," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Spoken language." Swipe left until you hear "Close settings," and double-tap the screen.

  6. The focus returns to the document editing view. You hear: "Microphone paused." To start dictating your document using the selected language, double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word 

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to dictate content for a document. You'll learn how to use dictation to quickly create drafts, outlines, and take notes. All you need is a headset and reliable internet connection.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • By default, dictation is set to your document language in Office. We are actively working to improve these languages and add more locales and languages. For the list of supported languages, go to the "Spoken languages supported" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  • The dictation feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

  • This service does not store your audio data or transcribed text. What you say will be sent to Microsoft and used only to provide you with text results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office.

In this topic

Dictate a document

Use your voice and dictate your document content to quickly draft an outline of a document or take notes, for example. You can also dictate punctuation marks, symbols, mathematical and currency signs, and emojis. For more information on what you can say, refer to the "What can I say" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

  1. Connect your headset to your phone, and make sure you're connected to the internet.

  2. While editing a document in Word with the on-screen keyboard active at the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Switch to dictate keyboard," and double-tap the screen.

  3. You hear: "Microphone listening." Start dictating the document content. If you want to change the default dictation language, refer to Change the dictation language for detailed instructions.

  4. To stop dictating, swipe down-then-left. The focus returns to the document body, and TalkBack starts to read the document content.

Change the dictation language

  1. While editing a document in Word with the on-screen keyboard active at the bottom of the screen, swipe left until you hear "Switch to dictate keyboard," and double-tap the screen.

  2. You hear: "Microphone listening." Swipe down-then-up, swipe left until you hear "Greater than, Open settings," and then double-tap the screen. The Dictation settings menu opens.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Dictation language, menu," and double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you find the language you want, and then double-tap the screen.

    Note: If you select one of the preview languages, the punctuation support might be limited and have lower accuracy.

  5. Swipe left until you hear "Go back," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "Dictation settings." Swipe left until you hear "Go back," and double-tap the screen.

  6. Swipe right until you hear "Microphone paused," and double-tap the screen. Once you hear "Microphone listening," you can start dictating your document.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to dictate content for a document. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

You'll learn how to use dictation to quickly create drafts, outlines, and take notes. All you need is a headset and reliable internet connection.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office for the web. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • The dictation feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

  • With Narrator and JAWS, use the full screen mode. To toggle the full screen on and off, press F11. With NVDA, you can use the regular screen mode. 

  • When you use Word for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word for the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word for the web.

Dictate a document

Use your voice and dictate your document content to quickly draft an outline of a document or take notes, for example. You can also dictate punctuation marks, symbols, mathematical and currency signs, and emojis. For more information on what you can say, refer to the "What can I say" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

By default, dictation is set to your document language in Office. We are actively working to improve these languages and add more locales and languages. For the list of supported languages, go to the "Spoken languages supported" section in Dictate your documents in Word.

Note: To change the dictation language, use the full desktop version of Word.

  1. Connect your headset to your computer, and make sure you're connected to the internet.

  2. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key, H, and then D. The Dictate menu opens.

  3. Press D. You hear an audio cue when you can start dictating the content of your document. You can keep using your keyboard as usual while you dictate.

  4. To stop dictating, press Alt+Windows logo key, H, D, and D. You hear an audio cue when the dictation has stopped.

Note: This service does not store your audio data or transcribed text. What you say will be sent to Microsoft and used only to provide you with text results. For more information about experiences that analyze your content, see Connected Experiences in Office

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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