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Whether out of necessity or convenience, you can give your keyboard a break and dictate a document in Microsoft Word. You can use the feature in the desktop app, Word for the web, and in the mobile app.

Note: You will need a Microsoft 365 subscription in order to dictate. If you’re using Microsoft Office, you may not have the dictation feature. 365 for the web, however, is free for anyone with a Microsoft account.

RELATED: Microsoft Office vs. Microsoft 365: Which One Should You Buy?

Dictate a Document on Your Desktop

With your computer’s internal microphone, or with a USB microphone in hand, you can dictate your document in Word on both Windows and Mac. Head to the Home tab and click “Dictate.”

When the microphone icon appears, you can drag to move it anywhere you like. Click the icon to begin dictating, click again to stop or pause. You can also say “Pause dictation” or “Stop dictation” and can click the icon to resume.

Dictate in Word on your desktop

To enable auto-punctuation, change the dialect, or filter sensitive language, click the gear icon to open the Settings.

Dictation settings in Word desktop

If you need help with what you can say for things like punctuation, symbols, making corrections, or controlling dictation, click the question mark icon near the microphone to open the Help sidebar.

Help with dictation in Word

To stop using dictation, click the “X” in the corner of the icon’s window to close it.

RELATED: How to Use Voice Dictation on Windows 10

Dictate a Document on the Web

The web version of Microsoft Word is free, as long as you have a Microsoft account. The dictation feature is currently available when using Edge, Firefox, Chrome, and Brave web browsers.

Visit Microsoft Word for the web, sign in, and open your document or create a new one. Go to the Home tab and click the Dictate icon. If it’s your first time using the feature, you’ll be prompted to allow access to your microphone.

Just like in the desktop application, you’ll see a small microphone icon at the bottom. You can move the icon by dragging it. Simply click the icon and begin speaking.

You can pause or stop by clicking the icon again or by saying, “Pause dictation” or “Stop dictation.” Then click the icon to continue when you’re ready.

Dictate in Word on the web

To adjust the language, microphone, or other options, click the gear icon near the microphone icon to open the Dictation Settings. Make your changes and click “OK” to save them.

Dictation settings in Word on the web

For help with what you can say or specific commands for controlling dictation, click the question mark icon to open the Help panel on the right.

Help with dictation in Word online

When you finish using dictation, click the “X” in the corner of the icon’s window to close it.

RELATED: How to See Which Apps Are Using Your Microphone on Windows 10

Dictate a Document on Your Mobile Device

If you use Word on your Android device, iPhone, or iPad, dictation can be handy, especially when you’re on-the-go. Open your document and tap the microphone icon.

RELATED: What's the Difference Between Microsoft Office's Desktop, Web, and Mobile Apps?

Begin speaking, tap the icon to pause or stop, or say “Pause dictation” or “Stop dictation” just like the desktop and web applications.

To change the settings, tap the gear icon. Make your adjustments and tap the X to save them and return to your document.

Dictation settings in Word mobile

For additional help with dictation on your mobile device, tap the question mark icon.

Help with dictation in Word mobile

To stop dictating and type instead, simply tap the keyboard icon.

Stop dictating in Word

If you enjoy using the dictation feature in Microsoft Word, be sure to check out how to transcribe audio in Word too.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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