This feature is available in the Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English (U.S.), and Japanese language versions of Microsoft Office. Speech recognition is installed in all Office programs by initially using the feature in Microsoft Word, or by doing a custom installation. For details, see Install and train speech recognition.
You can use speech recognition to dictate text into any Office program. You can also select menu, toolbar, dialog box (U.S. English only), and task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.) (U.S. English only) items by using your voice.
Speech recognition is not designed for completely hands-free operation; you'll get the best results if you use a combination of your voice and the mouse or keyboard.
To use speech recognition for the first time, install it by clicking Speech on the Tools menu in Microsoft Word, or by doing a custom installation. After speech recognition is installed, it is available on the Tools menu in any speech-enabled Office program.
Speech recognition requirements
To use speech recognition, you need the following:
(A universal serial bus (USB) microphone is recommended.)
- A 400 megahertz (MHz) or faster computer
- 128 MB or more of memory
- Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 or Windows XP or later
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later
See the Microsoft Office Online Web site for more information about operating system specific requirements or microphone information.
Training speech recognition
After speech recognition is installed, you can increase speech recognition accuracy by taking a few minutes to train the computer to recognize how you speak.
When you read aloud the prepared training text, the training wizard can look for patterns in the way you speak, and gather voice data that helps interpret the words that you'll dictate into Office programs. The training session includes help with adjusting your microphone, and it should take less than 15 minutes to complete.
Additional training may increase speech recognition accuracy. At any time, you can go back to the training wizard to read additional training text.
Note After you have installed speech recognition, you can review the tutorial video by clicking Search on the Start menu, and then searching for the Video.mht file.
Dictating text and giving commands
You can use speech recognition by clicking or saying the name of buttons on the Language bar to switch between two modes — Dictation mode and Voice Command mode.
The Language bar appears in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Language bar with text labels hidden
Note The Language bar by default shows text labels beside each button on the bar. You can hide or show the text labels by right-clicking the Language bar, and then clicking Text Labels.
You'll switch between Dictation and Voice Command less often and save time if you complete dictation first, review your file, and then format text or make corrections.
In Dictation mode, you can dictate just about anywhere you can type in an Office program.
As you speak, you'll see a blue bar on the screen that means the computer is processing your voice. As your words are recognized, text is displayed on the screen.
You can continue to speak while the computer processes your voice; you don't have to wait until the blue bar disappears to speak again.
Previously recognized text
Blue bar that indicates the computer is processing your voice
In Voice Command mode, you can select menu, toolbar, dialog box (U.S. English only), and task pane (U.S. English only) items by simply saying their names. This means that you can give voice commands for just about anything you can read in an Office program.
For example, to change font format, you can say "font" to open the Font box on the Formatting toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.), and then say a font name.
Or to format selected text, say "bold" or "underline."
Note For examples of how to use speech recognition, see the Microsoft Office Online Web site.
Language bar messages
As you work, messages on the Language bar offer help or hints. In Dictation mode, the messages may increase speech recognition accuracy. For example, the "Too soft" message means that you may be speaking too softly for the computer to recognize your words.
Language bar speech message
In Voice Command mode, you'll see the name of the last recognized command you said using speech recognition. If you used your mouse or keyboard instead of speech recognition, you'll see the name of the command you could say.