Using speech recognition: Learning what to say in Office XP

Applies to
Microsoft Access 2002
Microsoft Excel 2002
Microsoft FrontPage® 2002
Microsoft Outlook® 2002
Microsoft Publisher 2002
Microsoft PowerPoint® 2002
Microsoft Word 2002

This feature is available in the Simplified Chinese, English (U.S.), and Japanese language versions of Microsoft Office XP.

Learning how to use speech recognition takes practice. Before you can use it without stopping to think about what you are doing, you'll need to learn the commands to say to your computer to accomplish tasks, and then practice doing those tasks to make the process automatic.

Keep in mind that 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.

 Note    Clicking Speech on the Tools menu in Microsoft Word installs speech recognition in all Office XP programs, or you can do a custom installation. Before using speech recognition, you can increase speech recognition accuracy by reading aloud prepared text to train your computer to recognize how you speak.

Giving voice commands to your computer

In this example, you'll give voice commands to open the Tools menu and to select a command on the Tools menu.

Do the following:

  1. Position your microphone, and then click in the program.
  2. If the microphone is not already turned on, click Microphone on the Language bar to turn speech recognition on.

1 Language bar with the microphone and speech recognition turned off

 Note   For more information about the Language bar, see the Help in your Office XP program.

  1. If Voice Command mode is not already turned on, click Voice Command on the Language bar, or say "voice command."

Language bar with Voice Command mode turned on

1 Language bar with Voice Command mode turned on

  1. To use a voice command to open a menu, say the name of the menu on a toolbar that you can see.

Say "tools" to open the Tools menu.

  1. To select a command on the Tools menu, say the name of a command on the open menu.

Say "options" to open the Options dialog box.
As soon as you can read the command, you can say it.

  1. When you're finished, turn speech recognition off by clicking Microphone on the Language bar, or by saying "microphone."
    Speech recognition will continue to process sounds until the microphone is turned off.

ShowIncreasing speech recognition accuracy

Keep in mind that 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.

If you have problems using speech recognition, check the following:

  • Be sure to train speech recognition.
  • Use a high-quality close-talk (headset) microphone, and position the microphone about an inch, or a thumb's width to the side of your mouth so that it is not directly in front of your mouth, and you are not breathing directly into it.
  • Eliminate background noise.
  • Speak in a consistent, level tone. Speaking too loudly or too softly makes it difficult for the computer to recognize what you've said.
  • When dictating text, speak without pausing between each word; a phrase is easier for the computer to interpret than just one word. Also, pronounce words clearly, but don't separate each syllable in a word.
  • If a voice command does not appear to work, switch to another program and switch back to the program you are working in, and then say the command again. If the command does not work as expected by the third or fourth try, do not continue to repeat the command. Instead, use your mouse or keyboard.
  • See the speech troubleshooting Help topic in your Office XP program.