Google Docs Voice Typing

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Last February, Google introduced voice recognition into Google Docs. You can dictate your documents without having to install any additional software or plug-ins, and it’s actually pretty good! I don’t normally use dictation software myself so I can’t compare Google Voice typing with Dragon or other dictation software, but I can focus on how to use Google Voice typing and share some useful tips.

Note: Google Voice Typing only works in Chrome browsers and on mobile devices

Getting Started

Your microphone needs to be on and working. I used the onboard microphone on my laptop but if you work in a noisy office or open area, your best option is to use a headset mic.
  1. Open a Google document 
  2. Click Tools and select Voice Typing
  3. Click the microphone when you are ready to dictate. If you are prompted to give Google permission to use your microphone, click Allow.
  4.  The microphone will change to red with a circle around it. Speak clearly at a normal pace and volume.  
  5. Click the microphone again when you are done.

How to handle mistakes

If you make a mistake while you are dictating, no worries. Just move your cursor to the mistake and fix it without turning off the microphone. After you fix your mistake, move your cursor back to where you want to continue.

Adding Punctuation

You can use the following phrases to add punctuation:
  • Period
  • Comma
  • Exclamation point
  • Question mark
  • New line
  • New paragraph

Getting Fancy with Formatting

You can use commands to edit and format your document. Using words like “Select last word”, “Bold” or “Insert table [5] rows by [3] columns”.

There are multiple commands for selecting text, formatting, editing, tables, and moving around the document. Here are a few of the common ones:

Selecting Text:
  • Select [word or phrase]
  • Select all
  • Select paragraph
  • Select word
  • Select next word
  • Select next [#] words
  • Deselect
Formatting:
  • Align center/left/right
  • Apply heading [1–6]
  • Apply normal text
  • Apply subtitle
  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Font size [6-400]
  • Decrease indent
  • Increase indent
  • Line spacing double
  • Create bulleted list
  • Create numbered list
  • Insert bullet
  • Insert number
  • Clear formatting
Editing:
  • Copy
  • Cut
  • Paste
  • Copy link
  • Delete
  • Insert table
  • Insert row
  • Insert column
To open a list of voice commands in your document, say:
  • Voice typing help
  • Voice commands list
  • See all voice commands

Google Voice Typing Example



I would love to hear what you think about Google Docs voice typing. If you already use Dragon or other dictation software, I'd like to know how Google voice typing compares! Post your comments or questions on the blog. 

7 comments:

  1. It does look good! Dragon crashed my system. I'm happy to hear there is this option. I think people should also feel free to dictate free form without the punctuation and then go back in and add it later. That way, if you are dictating thoughts and ideas (and telling stories) you can be more natural about it. And then revise, revise, revise. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Great tip about the punctuation. A few times it would type out the words "comma" or "exclamation mark" instead so I like the idea of adding them later. I'd like to hear your thoughts on how this compares to Dragon after you've used it awhile. At least this won't crash your computer. Thanks!

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  2. I have done similar with my iPhone where I have used the voice typing feature to record an idea in an email to myself while on the go and then I have it to review later or use in a document.
    Thanks for sharing more info on this feature!

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    1. Hi Tana! I also dictate notes into my phone but it's usually into Google Keep or a short email reply. Thanks for your feedback!

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  3. Thanks for the great directions. I just tried it and it works best with a good headset/mic. I see a few ways that I can use this in my work. Cool tool!

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    Replies
    1. I think a headset/mic is the way to go. When I use my onboard laptop mic I have to talk louder than normal and that doesn't work well from a cubicle! I'm glad you found this useful. Thanks for reading QuickBytes!

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  4. Karen, Hi, thank you for sending this Quick Byte. I tried it with mic/headset and it worked very well. I am working on an online class in infectious diseases and I think i can use it to capture my ppt slide narration. Very helpful.
    Katherine Waters

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