How to dictate text on Windows 10

James Walker

Updated on:

Surface pro 7 touch keyboard

Windows 10 now supports dictation into any text input. You can talk to your computer while browsing the web, writing documents or searching for text, independently of the Cortana conversational experience.

Screenshot of dictation bar in Windows 10

On touch devices, dictation’s availability is displayed clearly by the presence of a dedicated microphone button on the touch keyboard. Press the button any time the keyboard is displayed to activate dictation mode.

On a non-touch device, dictation is hidden – you may never know it’s available! To activate the feature, focus any text input and then press Win+H. The dictation bar will appear at the top of your screen and you can start speaking aloud.

Screenshot of online speech settings page in Windows 10

To dictate punctuation, say the character you’d like to type – for example, “full stop” to type a “.”. Dictation will end when you stop speaking, or when you press Win+H again.

In order to use this feature, you must have online speech recognition turned on. You’ll be prompted to enable it in Settings if it’s disabled. Enabling this setting does send your voice data to Microsoft, which may use it to “help improve our speech services.” Windows doesn’t yet have support for offline dictation using on-device AI models.