How to use voice typing in Google Docs to dictate your text

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How to use voice typing in Google Docs to dictate your text
The Google Docs voice typing feature turns your spoken words into written text. Alistair Berg/Getty Images
  • To use voice typing in Google Docs, turn on voice typing, click the microphone icon, then start speaking.
  • This accessibility feature is only available on Google Docs and Slides and must be used with a Chrome browser.
  • A working microphone is also necessary to use voice typing.
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Voice typing is a helpful accessibility tool that's available on Google Docs and in Google Slides speaker notes. It's a feature that's only available in Chrome browsers, and some aspects (like voice commands for editing, formatting, and punctuation) are only available in certain languages.

Here's how to use voice typing in Google Docs.

Note: If you're on a mobile device, you can type on the Google Docs app using your voice, however this isn't the Google voice typing tool (it's just a native feature built into your phone's keyboard).

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How to use voice typing in Google Docs

1. Open a Google Doc in Google Chrome.

2. On the toolbar, click Tools, then Voice typing.

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How to use voice typing in Google Docs to dictate your text
You can also use the keyboard shortcut "command + shift + S" to open voice typing. Abigail Abesamis Demarest

3. When you're ready to start voice typing, click the microphone icon in the left margin.

How to use voice typing in Google Docs to dictate your text
Click the microphone icon to turn the voice typing tool on and off. Abigail Abesamis Demarest

Quick tip: If it's your first time using voice typing, you may need to grant Google Docs permission to use your microphone. A working, connected microphone is essential to using this feature.

4. Speak clearly, using a typical volume and pace (not too loud or soft, and not too fast or slow).

Quick tip: To add punctuation, say the name of that particular punctuation mark to add it to the Doc. To add a period at the end of a sentence, for example, say "period." You can also say phrases like "new line" and "new paragraph" to format your document via voice typing.

5. When you're finished, click the microphone icon again.

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How to use voice commands

There are a variety of voice commands that you can use to edit and format your document when voice typing. Here are a few basic ones to know.

  • To select text: Say phrases like "select [word or phrase]," "select all," or "select line."
  • To format text: Say phrases like "bold," "italicize," or "underline." There are also commands for font size ("decrease font size," "increase font size"), alignment ("align center," "align justified," "align left," "align right"), and more.
  • To edit your document: Say phrases like "copy," "cut," "paste," "insert header," or "insert page break."

Quick tip: Voice commands in Google Docs are only available in English.

How to edit voice typing in Google Docs

If you need to correct a mistake while voice typing, move your cursor to where the mistake is located and add in any text you may have forgotten by speaking. You can also highlight any mistakes and speak to type over them.

If there are any words or phrases underlined in gray that are incorrect, right-click to see a list of suggestions from Google Docs.

How to use voice typing in Google Docs to dictate your text
Google Docs will highlight any words or phrases it's unsure of. Abigail Abesamis Demarest

Say "delete" to delete the word right before the cursor.

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Troubleshooting tips

  • Move to a quieter room. you get an error message from Google Docs that says "We're having trouble hearing you," try moving to a quieter room, plugging in an external microphone, or adjusting the input volume on your microphone.
  • Double-check your microphone. If your microphone isn't working, check to make sure that it isn't broken, move to a quieter room, check the microphone settings on your computer's system preferences, check to make sure that it's plugged in and not being used by another application, or restart your computer.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. If voice commands aren't working, try speaking more slowly and clearly. You can also try pausing for a moment before and after speaking a command.
How to make Google Docs read your documents out loud to you, using a Google Chrome extension How to use and turn off VoiceOver on an iPhone, and disable the audio descriptions and gestures associated with the accessibility feature How to track changes and add comments in Google Docs using Suggesting mode How to edit Google Docs offline on your computer or smartphone
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