How to enable speech recognition in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Bored of typing away on your old, familiar keyboard? Don’t worry. Fortunately, there exists a nifty alternative for Windows users known as Speech Recognition.

The Windows Speech Recognition, also called WCR, is a free voice recognition software developed by Microsoft. With WCR, you can type in texts in notepad, emails or other writing apps, control desktop interface with voice commands, and even navigate whole websites. It also provides you a bunch of keyboard shortcuts that we'll discuss below. Introduced with Windows Vista, the software is now available in almost all versions of Windows in a much improved format.

Let’s learn how to enable and use Speech Recognition on Windows.

How to enable Speech Recognition in Windows 10 or Windows 11

First, you need to check your computer’s microphone; this will help you run the Speech Recognition app in the first place. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Go to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘settings’ and select the best match.
  2. Head to Time & language > Speech.
  3. Under Microphone, choose the Get started option.
  4. The Speech wizard will be launched, which will start to look up issues with the microphone automatically.

speech settings in windows

If you find any issues, you’ll get notified. However, if everything’s fine, then simply jump to the next section.

Setting up speech recognition on Windows

In the Start menu search bar, type in ‘speech recognition,’ and select the best match. As soon as you do this, the Speech Recognition wizard will be launched.

Click on Next. Next, you’ll get asked about the type of microphone you want to use: Headphone, Desktop or other. Pick one and click on Next.

windows speech recognition

setting up speech recognition

From there, follow the on-screen instructions and the Windows voice recognition will be enabled in no time.

Train Speech Recognition for improving accuracy

Now that you’re all set up with Speech Recognition, it’s time to improve its accuracy. You can do that by the feature that lets you train your Speech Recognition option. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Control Panel. Go to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘control panel,’ and select the best match.
  2. Now head to Ease of Access > Speech Recognition.
  3. Click on Train your computer to better understand you.
  4. Finally, click on Next to continue with the training as directed by the application.

speech recognition

Now you'll be asked to repeat the text written in the dialog box. This training will help the app recognize your voice whenever you speak. After you’re done with the training, Speech Recognition will have a much better grasp of your voice and, as a result, will perform much better.

speech recognition training

Using speech recognition in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Let’s take a look at some of the most common use cases of Windows Speech Recognition.

Staring up Speech Recognition

Although we’ve set up Speech Recognition, it won’t be enabled by default (although you can change this from the settings by launching it on startup). You’ll first have to launch the Speech Recognition app manually. Go to the Start menu, type in ‘speech recognition,’ and select the best match.

Turning it on or off

After you’ve launched the Speech Recognition as laid above, click on the microphone button and say ‘Start listening’. The voice recognition features will be enabled.

When you're done, you can turn it off by clicking on Stop listening.

Dictating texts in your PC

Launch any program where you’d like to type in the text. It can be any app really—Notepad, email app, Word, etc. Now that you’ve enabled speed recognition, all you’ve to do to enable dictation is press Windows key + H.

For instance, I am using Google Docs here. When you begin speaking into your speaker, you’ll see the texts typed along with it on the screen. Here are some of the commands that may come handy.

  1. Deleting text: To delete text from your screen, simply say "Delete," and follow it with the word you want to delete.
  2. Punctuation: You're going to be using punctuations marks a lot. So, for instance, if you intend to include a comma, say "comma". Similarly, say "period" to add a period at the end of any sentence.
  3. Selecting: To select a specific word, say "select," and follow it with the word you want to select.

These are some of the most straightforward commands. But this is nowhere near the complete picture, as there's a whole lot of them. We recommend you go through this list from Microsoft to learn about all the commands.

Enabling and using Speech Recognition in Windows 10 or Windows 11

Thanks to Windows Speech Recognition, you don't have to spend all your time typing away on a keyboard. This is especially helpful for disabled people who might otherwise face an uphill battle. With Speech Recognition enabled on Windows, all you've to do is remember some commands, and you'll be able to carry your work hassle-free.

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