Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create new documents, edit them, and collaborate on them with others in real-time. It’s free to use and packed with plenty of valuable features.

google docs voice typing
IMAGE: Terrillo Walls (Unsplash)

Among these features is voice typing. As its name suggests, this feature allows you to input text into documents using your voice. So if you’re feeling lazy and don’t feel like typing, you can simply dictate the text, and Google Docs will write it to the document.

Here’s a guide detailing how to use Google Docs voice typing feature to dictate text.

Step-by-step Guide to Use Google Docs Voice Typing

Google Docs’ voice typing feature works only with Google Chrome, so make sure you have its latest version installed on your computer. After this, follow the instructions in the sections below to use voice dictation in Docs:

Step 1. Activate Google Docs Voice Typing

First up, you need to activate voice typing inside Docs. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Visit Google Docs in the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Open a new document or an existing one and click on Tools > Voice typing.
    activating google docs voice typing feature
  3. A window with a microphone icon will appear over your document. Tap on the microphone icon in this window when you’re ready to start dictating text.
    dictating text using google docs voice typing
  4. If this is your first time using voice dictation in Docs on Chrome, you’ll be asked to grant Chrome permission to access your microphone. Click on the Allow button in the permission prompt to grant access.
  5. By default, Google Docs uses your system language as the default language for dictation. But if you want, you can change the document languages by tapping on the dropdown menu beside the existing language and selecting your preferred language from the menu.
    changing voice typing language preference

Step 2. Dictate Text in Docs

After you’ve activated voice typing, you can now start dictating text in Docs. To do this, click the microphone button in the voice typing window, and then start dictating your text using clear pronunciations and at a normal pace.

As you do so, Docs will transcribe your speech into written text in the document in real-time. This allows you to see if your dictated text is transcribed correctly, so if Docs is unable to follow up with your speech correctly, you can alter your pace or pronunciations.

google docs voice typing transcription

Although text dictated this way is fine, not adding punctuations to your sentences can make them hard to read and understand. Not to mention, it can change the meaning of sentences at times.

To prevent this from happening, Docs’ voice typing includes punctuation support, enabling you to speak out punctuation names and add them to your sentences. So if you’d like to, say, write a sentence with an exclamation mark, you simply need to say “exclamation mark” where you want it in the sentence.

List of supported punctuations in Google Docs Voice Typing:

  • Period
  • Comma
  • Exclamation mark
  • Question mark
  • New line
  • New paragraph

Similar to punctuations, Google Docs also lets you use voice commands to perform certain formatting operations in your documents. Here’s a list of a few of the many voice commands you can use with Google Docs voice typing:

  • Text Selection: Select [word, phrase, line, list item, next paragraph, all, etc.] [More formatting options]
  • Document Formatting: Bold, Italicize, Strikethrough, apply heading [1-6], apply subtitle, highlight, background color [color name], and text color [color name], increase font size, align center, etc. [More formatting options]
  • Document Editing: Cut, copy, paste, delete [word, phrase], copy link, delete link, insert bookmark, etc. [More editing options]
  • Document Navigation: Go to [paragraph, line, row, table] [More navigation options]

Related: How to Compare Documents on Google Docs

Step 3. Stop the Dictation

Lastly, when you’ve finished dictating text, say “stop listening” to stop the dictation. Alternatively, you can tap on the microphone icon in the voice typing window to end voice typing.

If at any point, you start experiencing trouble dictating text in Docs or want to learn more about voice typing, click the question mark icon in the voice typing window, and it will bring up Google’s official help page for voice typing.

More Than Average Voice Recognition

When Google released the voice dictation feature in Docs, many users were skeptical if it was any good or just another piece of voice recognition utility. However, Docs’ voice typing actually proved to be quite useful and pretty accurate over the years, which has, in turn, made it very usable.

So now, every time you don’t feel like typing, you can use Google Docs voice typing to write letters, notes, or any other similar kinds of documents quickly. Of course, writing long-form content is still tricky and can prove to be time-consuming. And therefore, sticking to manual text entry is a better option for such needs.

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