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Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Did you know Microsoft Word has a voice transcription feature that lets you upload audio files? You can upload and transcribe unlimited minutes of audio—great for transcribing interviews, meeting minutes, or anything else. It works incredibly well, too. Here’s how to use it.

Word’s Transcribe feature is hidden because it’s not in the version of Microsoft Word you’re probably using. As of April 2023, transcription is only available in Microsoft Word for web—the version of Word you access in a web browser like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari. If you’re using Microsoft Word for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, or iPad, you won’t find the Transcribe feature anywhere in your Word application.

Note: To use Microsoft Word’s transcription feature, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription.

To access the Transcribe button in Microsoft Word, head to the Word Online website and sign in with a Microsoft account that’s subscribed to Microsoft 365. Create a new Word document or open an existing one.

Under the “Home” tab on the ribbon, click the down arrow to the right of the microphone-shaped “Dictate” button and click “Transcribe” in the menu.

The Transcribe panel will open. You can click the “Start Recording” button and have Word transcribe audio from your device’s microphone, or you can click “Upload Audio” and upload an audio recording in WAV, MP3, M4A, or MP3 format.

The recording can be from a device like your phone or an audio recorder—perhaps a recorded phone call?

Microsoft Word will automatically transcribe the file you upload on Microsoft’s servers. When it’s done, you can edit it and name speakers in the Transcribe sidebar. Finally, use the “Add to Document” feature to add your transcription to the open Word document and choose whether you want to include speaker names and timestamps.

Once you’ve got the transcription in your Word Online document, you can copy-paste it to whatever other application you want.

Of course, while Microsoft’s transcription feature does work very well in our experience and can often do a great job of picking up muffled audio, it’s not perfect. You may want to edit the transcription first if you’re going to publish it, for example.

Sony Mono Digital Voice Recorder

Sony's digital voice recorder promises up to 57 hours of battery life and has a USB connection so you can transfer your recordings to a computer.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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