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Use dictation to convert spoken words into text anywhere on your PC with Windows 10. Dictation uses speech recognition, which is built into Windows 10, so there's nothing you need to download and install to use it.

To start dictating, select a text field and press the Windows logo key  + H to open the dictation toolbar. Then say whatever’s on your mind.  To stop dictating at any time while you're dictating, say “Stop dictation.”

Use dictation to talk instead of type on your PC

Last Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Dictation commands

Use dictation commands to tell your PC what to do, like “delete that” or “select the previous word.”

The following table tells you what you can say. If a word or phrase is in bold, it's an example. Replace it with similar words to get the result you want.

To do this Say
Clear a selection Clear selection; unselect that
Delete the most recent dictation result or currently selected text Delete that; strike that
Delete a unit of text, such as the current word Delete word
Move the cursor to the first character after a specified word or phrase Go after that; move after word; go to the end of paragraph; move to the end of that
Move the cursor to the end of a unit of text Go after word; move after word; go to the end of that; move to the end of paragraph
Move the cursor backward by a unit of text Move back to the previous word; go up to the previous paragraph
Move the cursor to the first character before a specified word or phrase Go to the start of the word
Move the cursor to the start of a text unit Go before that; move to the start of that
Move the cursor forward to the next unit of text Move forward to the next word; go down to the next paragraph
Moves the cursor to the end of a text unit Move to the end of the word; go to the end of the paragraph
Enter one of the following keys: Tab, Enter, End, Home, Page up, Page down, Backspace, Delete Tap Enter; press Backspace
Select a specific word or phrase Select word
Select the most recent dictation result Select that
Select a unit of text Select the next three words; select the previous two paragraphs
Turn spelling mode on and off Start spelling; stop spelling

Dictating letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols

You can dictate most numbers and punctuation by saying the number or punctuation character. To dictate letters and symbols, say "start spelling." Then say the symbol or letter, or use the ICAO phonetic alphabet.

To dictate an uppercase letter, say “uppercase” before the letter. For example, “uppercase A” or “uppercase alpha.” When you’re done, say “stop spelling.”

Here are the punctuation characters and symbols you can dictate.

To insert this Say
@ at symbol; at sign
# Pound symbol; pound sign; number symbol; number sign; hash symbol; hash sign; hashtag symbol; hashtag sign; sharp symbol; sharp sign
$ Dollar symbol; dollar sign; dollars symbol; dollars sign
% Percent symbol; percent sign
^ Caret
& And symbol; and sign; ampersand symbol; ampersand sign
* Asterisk; times; star
( Open paren; left paren; open parenthesis; left paren
) Close paren; right paren; close parenthesis; right parenthesis
_ Underscore
- Hyphen; dash; minus sign
~ Tilde
\ Backslash; whack
/ Forward slash; divided by
, Comma
. Period; dot; decimal; point
; Semicolon
' Apostrophe; open single quote; begin single quote; close single quote; close single quote; end single quote
= Equal symbol; equal sign; equals symbol; equal sign
(space) Space
| Pipe
: Colon
? Question mark; question symbol
[ Open bracket; open square bracket; left bracket; left square bracket
] Close bracket; close square bracket; right bracket; right square bracket
{ Open curly brace; open curly bracket; left curly brace; left curly bracket
} Close curly brace; close curly bracket; right curly brace; right curly bracket
+ Plus symbol; plus sign
< Open angle bracket; open less than; left angle bracket; left less than
> Close angle bracket; close greater than; right angle bracket; right greater than
" Open quotes; begin quotes; close quotes; end quotes; open double quotes; begin double quotes; close double quotes; end double quotes

Privacy Note:

It should be noted that when speech to text is enabled, your microphone is susceptible to hacking and eavesdropping on your local environment.  This setting can be turned off by selecting the "Off" setting in the Speech Control of the Windows Settings.  A more permanent solution is unplugging the microphone if possible, though overkill.

Windows 10 Pro Speech Settings - Online Speech Recognition Set to On (dark theme)

Windows 10 Pro Speech Settings - Online Speech Recognition Set to Off (dark theme)

Last modified: March 2, 2020