Voice-activated appliances are slowly but surely becoming the norm. We now have the Amazon Echo, the Google Home and soon, the Apple HomePod, to do our daily bidding by merely talking to them. Imagine that, we’re talking to speakers.
But voice recognition is nothing new. For years now, software companies like Nuance have already offered voice-to-text programs like Dragon and if you can recall, Google already introduced the same voice-to-text feature last year in Google Docs.
Now, Microsoft has released a free add-on that lets you enjoy the same convenience in its Office apps.
Microsoft’s experimental speech-recognition technology is now available to the public and it’s free! The new add-on is called Dictate and it taps into Cortana’s “state-of-the-art” speech recognition talents and adds voice-to-text to Microsoft Office apps Word, Outlook and Powerpoint.
Dictate comes from “The Garage,” Microsoft’s program for new ideas and experimental projects and much like other speech-recognition programs like Nuance’s Dragon, it lets you speak what you want to type on a document.
Once the add-on is installed, you can just simply talk aloud into Word, Outlook and Powerpoint and your words will be recognized and automatically transcribed as text on the document. Currently, Dictate supports voice-to-text for 20 languages and these can be translated in real-time to 60 languages. For example, you can speak in English and have Dictate type in Spanish which is, frankly, still quite amazing to see in action.
The app also has some nifty commands for other editing functions such as “delete,” “next line” and “stop dictation.” It also supports voice control for punctuations and other text symbols.
Get Dictate now
You can get the Dictate add-on now at Microsoft’s official download page. It supports 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Office but you have to have at least Windows 8.1 to run it.
Additionally, since the Dictate add-on is still an experimental Garage project, future support is uncertain. It’s still a great free add-on to try though, especially with the real-time transcription and translation tricks it can do.
What do you think? Do you see Dictate taking off with Microsoft Office users? Drop us a comment!