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Did you know that in many Office 365 applications you can dictate text instead of typing it?

You may find this useful, especially if you need to respond to an email message and your hands aren’t free, or if you want to brainstorm out loud and capture your thoughts without taking notes by hand.

First you should check if you have a working microphone. If you’re using Windows 10, you can use the Voice Recorder app to do a test. Open this program and record a small snippet of audio. Play it back in order to see if your microphone worked. Use the “More options” icon in the bottom right corner to access Microphone settings to make changes.

When you know you have a working microphone, here’s how to dictate in most Office 365 applications like Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as Outlook.

  1. Open a program like Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, or Outlook.
  2. On the Ribbon, go to Home > Dictate. The Dictate button may be the farthest right option on the toolbar.

     

  3. If you’re using Outlook, you’ll need to go to Message > Dictate.
  4. When the Dictate icon shows the red recording button, start talking.

     

  5. Once you are talking, text will appear in your document or slide.
  6. When finished, select Dictate again to stop recording and “typing”.

Dictation isn’t perfect at this point, so you’ll probably have to clean up the text somewhat. But especially for short messages, this is a great feature!