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Microsoft adds a new feature to Word that beats Google Docs and all the rest

There are many software options to help you write documents, few are as instantly recognizable as Microsoft Word. Although Google Docs has given the long-lived software a run for its money in recent years, new subscription options and a range of new features continue to make it a popular option for PC owners.

And believe it or not, you don’t actually have to pay for Word to reap the benefits. How? Tap or click here to see all the ways you can get Microsoft Word for free.

Microsoft Word already has plenty of features as it is, but it’s recently learned a new trick that can make it much easier for you to put your thoughts on paper. For the first time, full-fledged audio transcription will be coming to Microsoft Word at no extra cost, and it’s powerful enough to convert your voice, audio recordings and musical tracks into text. Here’s how.

Microsoft announces it can hear you loud and clear

If the idea of turning your spoken words into text is appealing to you, then you might want to make the switch to Microsoft Office 365. According to a blog post from Microsoft, a new audio transcription feature for Word is set to debut at the end of this year that can convert your voice and other audio clips into plain text.

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To be clear, this isn’t the same kind of engine you’ll see on your smartphone keyboard that converts your voice into text messages or notes. Microsoft’s new Transcribe to Word feature relies on Azure Cognitive Services, a genuine AI engine that uses machine learning to accurately render casual speech.

It also integrates itself into Word in a rather subtle way. Unlike Apple’s Notes app, where speech conversion places text where your cursor is, Transcribe to Word operates in a sidebar that won’t interfere with the content you’re working with. That way, you can copy and paste the transcribed text at your leisure and worry less about formatting at the moment.

Even better, the AI is also capable of picking out different voices when generating transcripts. This can make writing podcast scripts much easier, as it can take casual conversations between people and turn them into digital words.

Want to start a podcast? Tap or click here to see everything you need.

When are these new features ready for me to use?

As cool as this voice-to-text is, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer before you can fully transcribe your slam poetry sessions. The new feature is set to debut in the tail end of 2020 and will be available as a free update from Microsoft.

And for those of our readers that speak more than one language, options beyond English are coming down the pipeline throughout 2021.

The feature is free to use, and transcriptions of files up to 5 hours in length and under 200mb are fully supported. If you have any story ideas, poems or rants floating around in your head, it’s about to get much easier to put it on paper.

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