Use a screen reader to record and transcribe audio 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 for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to record audio and transcribe the recording into text. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

You’ll learn how to transcribe an audio file that you’ve recorded directly in Word for the web or from an uploaded audio file. You‘ll also learn how to change the transcription language, edit sections in the transcription, and save the full transcript as a Word document or insert snippets of it into your document.

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.

  • Transcribing is available for Microsoft 365 business accounts. 

  • Transcribing only works on the new Microsoft Edge and Chrome. 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. 

  • Transcribing is one of the Office Intelligent Services. Your audio files will be sent to Microsoft and used only to provide you with this service. When the transcription is done, your audio and transcription results are not stored by our service. For more information, refer to Connected Experiences in Office

  • 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.

In this topic

Record audio with transcription

You can record directly in Word for the web while taking notes in the document editing area and then transcribe the recording. The speech in the audio file is converted to a text transcript with each speaker individually separated. Word transcribes in the background as you record, and the transcript is displayed after you save and transcribe the recording. You can also change the transcription language.

Tips: 

  • For the best audio quality, make sure you use the correct microphone input on your device. If you want to record and transcribe a virtual call, don't use your headset. That way, the recording can pick up the sound coming out of your device.

  • You can only store one transcript per document. If you start a new transcript, the current one will be deleted. To create a new transcript, start a new document.

If you’re prompted to allow Office to use your microphone, press the Tab key until you hear “Allow,” and press Enter. 

The recordings will be stored in the Transcribed Files folder on OneDrive.

  1. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens. Leave the pane open while recording. The focus is on the Start recording button.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To start recording audio using the default language settings, press Enter.

    • To change the language, press the Tab key until you hear the currently selected language, for example, "English, United States, selected," and press Spacebar. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the language you want, and then press Enter. To start the recording, press Shift+Tab until you hear "Start recording," and press Enter.

  3. The recording starts. You can now dictate the content. To pause the recording, press the Tab key until you hear “Pause recording,” and press Enter. To resume the recording, press the Tab key until you hear "Resume recording," and press Enter.

  4. To stop the recording, save the audio file, and start the transcription, press the Tab key until you hear “Save and transcribe now,” and press Enter. The transcription can take a while depending on your internet speed. Keep the Transcribe pane open while the transcription is ongoing.

  5. If you don’t want to edit the transcription right away, you can close the Transcribe pane. Press the Tab key until you hear “Close button,” and press Enter. To learn how to edit transcriptions, refer to Edit the transcription.

Your transcript is associated with the document it’s attached to until you remove it. If you close and reopen the pane or close and reopen the document, the transcript remains saved with the document.

Upload an audio file for transcription

If you’ve recorded an audio file in another app and saved it to your computer, you can use Word for the web to upload the file and create a transcription.

  1. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens.

  2. Press Shift+Tab until you hear “Upload audio,” and press Enter.

  3. The Windows Open dialog box opens. Browse to the audio file you want to transcribe, and press Enter. The transcription starts automatically. Keep the Transcribe pane open while the transcription is ongoing.

Locate the saved audio file

The audio files that you record in Word for the web are saved to the Transcribed Files folder on OneDrive. If you upload an audio file and transcribe it in Word for the web, the audio file and transcription are saved to OneDrive too. You can find the file in the same folder in both the OneDrive desktop app and OneDrive for the web.

Play back the audio

  1. In Word for the web, while editing a document with audio and transcription attached to it, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens.

  2. To start the playback of the whole recording, press the Tab key until you hear “Play” and press Enter. The Play button turns into a Pause button. To pause and then resume the playback, press Enter.

Edit the transcription

You can edit the speaker labels and the content of a transcription section.

Edit the speaker label

The transcription service identifies and separates different speakers and labels them automatically as "Speaker 1," "Speaker 2," etc. You can edit the speaker label and change all occurrences of it to the speaker’s name, for example.

  1. In Word for the web, while editing a document with audio and transcription attached to it, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens. The transcription of the audio file is fetched and displayed in the pane. 

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear the transcript section with default speaker label you want to edit, for example, "Two seconds, Speaker 1," followed by the transcript content.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear ”Edit transcript section,” and press Enter. The focus moves to the section content text box.

  4. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Speaker name, Edit," followed by the current speaker label, for example, "Speaker 1." Delete the current label and type the new speaker label, for example, the speaker's name.

  5. To change all occurrences of the old label to the new one, press the Tab until you hear “Change all," followed by the old label name and "Check box, unchecked.” Press Spacebar to select the check box.

  6. Once you're done, press the Tab key until you hear “Confirm,” and press Enter.

Edit the transcription content

If you spot any issues in the transcription, you can edit the transcription sections one by one.

  1. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens. The transcription of the audio file is fetched and displayed in the pane.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear a section where you want to edit the transcription.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear ”Edit transcript section,” and press Enter. The focus moves to the section content text box. You can now edit the section.

  4. Once you're done editing the transcription section, press the Tab key until you hear “Confirm,” and press Enter. Your changes are saved automatically.

Add the transcript to the document

Transcribe doesn't automatically add the audio to the document, but you can add the entire transcript or specific sections of it to your document.

  1. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens. The transcription of the audio file is fetched and displayed in the pane.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add a specific transcript section, press the Tab key until you hear the section you want. Press the Tab key repeatedly until you hear “Add section to document,” and press Enter.

    • To add the entire transcript to the document, press the Tab key until you hear “Add all to document,” and press Enter.

Rename an audio file

  1. Open OneDrive, navigate to the Transcribed Files folder, and open it.

  2. Find your recording in the folder, and press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  3. To rename the file, press the Down arrow key until you hear “Rename,” press Enter, type the new name, and press Enter.

  4. To check the updated name in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S to open the Transcribe pane. Press the Tab key until you hear the file name.

 If the Transcribe pane was already open, close and reopen it to display the new name.

Share the recording and transcript

Share the transcript as part of the document with a link to the audio

Add the entire transcript to your document as text as instructed in Add the transcript to the document, and then share the Word document as usual. The transcript appears as regular text, and there will be a hyperlink to the audio file in the document. For detailed instructions on how to share your Word file, refer to Use a screen reader to share a document in Word.

Share the transcript and audio in the Transcribe pane

If you don’t want to insert the entire transcript to your document, you can share the Word document as usual. The recipients can open the Transcribe pane to interact with the transcript. By default, the playback of the audio file is not available in the Transcribe pane for anyone that you share the document with. If you want the recipients to listen to the playback in the Transcribe pane, you can change the audio file permissions.

  1. Open OneDrive, navigate to the Transcribed Files folder, and open it.

  2. Find your recording in the folder, and press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Share, button,” and press Enter.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear “Enter a name or email address,” and type the name or email address of the person you want to share the audio with.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear “Send,” and press Enter.

  6. Share the Word document as usual. For detailed instructions on how to share your Word file, refer to Use a screen reader to share a document in Word.

The person that you shared both the Word document and audio file with can open the document and the Transcribe pane and interact with both the transcript and the audio file.

Replace a recording and transcript in a document

As you can only store one transcript per document, creating a new audio and transcript will effectively remove the current one from the document. However, the recordings saved in OneDrive will not be deleted when you start a new recording and transcript. Also, any transcript sections you've added to your document will remain intact. 

  1. While editing a document in Word for the web, press Alt+Windows logo key+H, D, T, and then S. The Transcribe pane opens. The transcription of the audio file is fetched and displayed in the pane.

  2. Press the Tab key until you hear “New transcription,” and press Enter.

  3. In the confirmation dialog box, press the Tab key until you reach the OK button, and press Enter.

  4. To start recording a new audio file, press Enter.

Delete a recording from OneDrive

  1. Open OneDrive, navigate to the Transcribed Files folder, and open it.

  2. Find your recording in the folder, and press Shift+F10 to open the context menu.

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear “Delete, button,” and press Enter.

  4. You're prompted to confirm the deletion. Press Shift+Tab until you hear "Delete" or "Yes," and then press Enter. The deleted recording is moved to the OneDrive Recycle bin. If necessary, you can restore the file from the Recycle bin within 30 days.

See also

Use a screen reader to dictate a document in Word

Use a screen reader to share a document in Word

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with 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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