best dictation software for writers

9 Best Dictation Software for Writers

I discovered a powerful tool to help boost my writing career, making it more productive than ever. And as a bonus, it is easy to use, primarily automated and increases productivity with less work.

Dictation software, often called Speech Recognition software, is a voice-to-text speech recognition technology. When appropriately configured, dictation software allows the creation of articles, notes, emails, and other writing tasks by speaking rather than typing.

The spoken words are then quickly and surprisingly accurately turned into text. Imagine the time saved by not having to type every word spoken. I was impressed with all the time savings when I started using this technology around 2016. I have tested 10 dictation software, comparing the price, device and many more features.

The Best Dictation Software for Writers

  1. Notta Web App -  Best voice-to-text dictation web app and chrome extension with high accuracy and data security.

  2. Apple Diction - A free dictation software for Apple devices

  3. Windows Speech Recognition Software - Native Windows application that can load directly to Word and other Windows apps.

  4. Google Docs Voice Typing - A native tool located in Google Docs Tools that transcribes speech into text.

  5. Google Mobile Device Voice Typing (Gboard) - Google's Mobile Device Typing (Gboard) is a tool for mobile devices speech-to-text input.

  6. Speech Notes - Speech Notes has an efficient design with many verbal commands for quick and precise text input.

  7. Siri Dictation - Siri Dictation provides the real-time conversion of spoken words to text and is exceptionally efficient for Apple iPhones.

  8. Microsoft Dictation App for Microsoft 365 and the Web - This is a powerful and accurate dictation tool built into Word and Office 365.

  9. Dragon Anywhere - One of the most effective and accurate programs for speech recognition for Android and iOS devices, Dragon Anywhere is also one of the more expensive programs at $14.99 per month or $149.99 a year.

What is Dictation Software for Writers?

Dictation software is a voice-to-text software solution used by many professional writers. This dictation software has evolved tremendously since I first used it about twenty years ago. Today, dictation software is known under many names, including speech recognition, voice-to-text, speech-to-text, and voice recognition.

Some of the benefits of dictation software include the following:

  • Increases your volume of word output.

  • Decreases the amount of time required for a writing task.

  • It helps protects your hand or wrist from carpal tunnel syndrome (a very unpleasant condition for a writer).

  • Possibility for doubling your writing speed with a 95% accuracy.

Why Do Writers Hesitate Using Dictation Software?

Often, a writer may hesitate to use dictation software because of fear it may not be 100% accurate, which is okay. However, if you think about it, a writer who has been writing for years can and does make mistakes.

I committed to using dictation software after my less-than-successful start many years ago. However, with the advent of more accurate dictation engines, including AI, and in conjunction with more powerful computers, dictation software now delivers all the promises made initially. 

Today, dictation software is more robust, powerful, and accurate and can work for you.

Best Dictation Software for Improving Your Writing

These are the highest-rated dictation software for writers today.

1. Notta

Notta - An AI-based text-to-speech software for writers, Notta Dictation Software is a powerful software solution to increase a writer's productivity.

best dictation app for writers notta

Cost - Notta has a multi-tiered pricing plan:

  • Basic - $0 fee with 120 minutes per month, with a limitation on transcription duration per recording to 3 or 5 minutes

  • Pro - $8.25 month with 1,800 minutes per month - single seat

  • Notta Business - $37.17 monthly with 7,200 minutes and three seats

  • Notta Custom - Contact Sales for Custom Pricing and the number of seats

Software Requirements

Notta software works with PC or Mobile devices

  • PC Web Browsers

  • Google Chrome

  • Microsoft Edge

  • Safari Browsers

  • iOS Devices - Free download from App Store

  • Android Devices - Free download from Google Store

Transcription Accuracy:

Notta transcribes audio to text with 98.86% accuracy.

Transcription Languages:

Supports transcribing up to 104 languages including English, German, and Spanish via the Notta mobile app.

How to Use Notta:

  1. (Chrome Version) Search Google Web Store for the Notta Chrome extension

  2. Click "Add to Chrome" then "Add Extension."

  3. Click the Notta extension icon in the Google Chrome toolbar

  4. Log in or create User Account in Notta

  5. Select the Tab for transcribing.

    Unlock Your Creativity with Notta

    Notta uses artificial intelligence to note-taking your voice in real-time with 98.86% accuracy. It allows writers to focus on ideas instead of keyboard typing.

    Googleドキュメントでの文字起こし

2. Apple Dictate

A productive free dictation software, Apple Dictate uses Apple devices for authors and writers.

Apple dictate

Cost:

Free, included in iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, and iPadOS

Software Requirements:

Apple Dictate works using Siri from macOS Catalina forward and previously macOS Mojave with its voice recognition engine

Accuracy:

Apple Dictate is rated with a 95% accuracy rate

Language:

Among the 31 languages supported are English, Arabic, and Spanish 

How to Use Apple Dictate:

  1. Navigate to Apple Menu > System Settings > next, click "Keyboard"  in the Sidebar (you may have to search for it scrolling in the Sidebar)

  2. Click on Dictation on the right, and if prompted, click "Enable"

  3. Chose an App on the Mac for Dictation to be written, then click to set the text insertion point > next, click on the Microphone  icon on the Keyboard if available, or > select chose Edit >Start Dictation

Tip: Press and Hold Microphone to start Dictation and start Microphone SIRI by pressing and holding.

3. Windows 10 Speech Recognition

If you want dictation software for writing a book or controlling your PC, Windows 10 Speech Recognition technology may be perfect.

Windows 10 speech recognition

Cost:

Free, Windows 10 Speech Recognition Software is a freeware license 

Software Requirements:

 Although available since Vista, Windows 10 became popular, with Speech Recognition being one of its most productive tools

Transcription Accuracy:

Windows 10 Speech Recognition scored an 89% accuracy for transcribing audio to text.

Transcription Languages:

Windows 10 Speech Recognition works with multiple versions of English (United Kingdom, Canada, India, Australia, and the United States), Japanese, German, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish

Ease of Use:

This easy-to-install Windows 10 app is an easy-to-use experience that can launch Windows 10 applications, dictate text, and perform many other Windows task. 

How to Use Windows 10 Speech Recognition:

  1. Click on Windows Start Windows button > Settings > Time & Language > Speech

  2. Select Microphone > Get Started

  3. Enable Speech Recognition

    Method 1. Open Control Panel (Set to ‘View Large Icons’) > Ease of Access > Speech

    access speech recognition

    Method2. RecognitionClick Advanced Speech Settings

    advanced speech settings

  4. In Speech Properties, click on "Enable" speech recognition

4. Google Docs Voice Typing

Google Docs Voice Typing - Although Google Docs Voice Typing only works in a Chrome browser, it is still a feature-rich and free voice dictation software included in Google Chrome

Google Docs voice typing

Cost:

Free, only works with Google Chrome and is included

Software Requirements:

Google Docs Voice Typing is compatible with current releases and backward compatible with the previous two operating systems:

  • Chrome OS

  • Apple Mac

  • Microsoft Windows

  • Android (last two revisions)

  • Apple iOS (last two revisions)

Transcription Accuracy:

Google Docs Voice Typing scores about 90% accuracy for transcribing audio to text.

Transcription Languages:

Google Docs Voice Typing saves the dictated text in 40 different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew, and other

Ease of Use:

Google Docs Voice Typing is an easy-to-use, intuitive application, like any Googles apps, made for the casual user.

How to Use Google Docs Voice Typing:

  1. Turn on the Microphone and verify it is working

  2. Open a Google Doc with a Chrome Browser

  3. On the Google Doc, click Tools > Voice Typing, and a Microphone appears

    tools voice typing

  4. Click the Microphone icon to Begin Recording, and click again to Stop Recording

5. Google Mobile Voice Typing (GBoard)

An excellent choice for mobile devices, Google Mobile Voice Typing, or Gboard, provides an easy-to-use solution for converting voice to text on Androids, iPhones, and iPads.

Google Mobile Voice Typing Gboard

Cost:

Free, it uses Google's Voice Recognition engine and is an enhanced speech recognition frontend.

Software Requirements:

Android 6.0 or higher for Gboard to work correctly

Transcription Accuracy:

Google Mobile Voice Typing (Gboard) scored about 98% accuracy for transcribing audio to text.

Transcription Languages:

Google Mobile Voice Typing (Gboard) supports audio-to-text in 500 languages and 40 different writing systems, including Cyrillic and Roman, among many others.

Ease of Use:

 Google Mobile Voice Typing with the Gboard keyboard is an easy-to-use dictation technology with swipe typing allowing one-handed use.

How to Use Google Mobile Voice Typing (Gboard) 

Note: These steps are recommended for Android 7 and higher, while iOS 9 and up are required for iPhones and iPads.

  1. First, for your Android phone or tablet, install Gboard 

  2. Open an app for typing, like Messenger, and place your cursor where the text goes

  3. Touch and hold on top of the Gboard keyboard  Microphone  

  4. You should see "Speak Now" appear when it does begin talking for your transcription to text

  5. To Stop transcribing, use Google Assistant to turn ON or Off

6. Speechnotes

This voice recognition solution is a powerful, free voice dictation service that works with Android devices and Google Chrome. As a Google Chrome extension, it can load audio text directly into various programs such as Gmail and WordPress.

Speechnotes

Cost:

Free, as Speechnotes is installed on Android phones and can be used on iOS devices.

Software Requirements:

Android OS 4.3 or higher with Google set as the default speech recognition app

Transcription Accuracy:

Speechnote quotes 95% accuracy for transcribing high-quality audio to text.

Transcription Languages:

Speechnote recognizes the languages Google Assistant supports, including English, Spanish, Arabic, and many other European and Asian languages.

Ease of Use:

Speechnotes is one of the easiest-to-use speech recognition products that can switch seamlessly from voice recognition input to keyboard typing.

How to Use Speech Notes:

  1. Go to Google Chrome Store and search for Speechnotes VoiceTyping

  2. Select the Chrome extension and install it

  3. Click on the Microphone icon and begin recording; click once more to Stop it

7. Siri Dictation

Although Siri Dictation has been available from iPhone 4S onward, it has evolved over the years to become a popular and productive speech recognition solution. Siri Dictation app for writers works on all iOS devices, from iPhone to Mac computers to Apple Watch.

Siri dictation

Cost:

Free Siri Dictation is included in Apple iOS devices.

Software Requirements:

Siri Dictation requires Apple's iOS, watchiOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, or audioOS operating systems.

Transcription Accuracy:

Siri is one of the more accurate speech recognition engines quoting 95% accuracy for transcribing high-quality audio to text.

Transcription Languages:

Siri Dictation supports English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and many other languages.

Ease of Use:

Siri Dictation as an Apple native application is effortless to use; once enabled and the targeted app is selected, click the Microphone On/Off to provide speech-to-text software for writers.

How to Use Siri Dictation:

  1. Make sure Dictation is turned on by going to Settings and clicking on General > Keyboard > Enable Dictation. Make sure the Dictation switch is toggled ON. 

    enable dictation

  2. Click on the On-Screen Keyboard> Microphone and toggle On/Off to begin dictating and stopping.

8. Microsoft Dictation App for Microsoft 365 and the Web

Microsoft 365 Dictation for Office is a Web-based speech-to-text dictation software for authors creating content. The latest iteration of  Microsoft 365 Dictate for Word on the Web has a new, easier-to-use dictation and transcription toolbar to make it even more productive as a dictation app for writers. 

Dictate and transcribe quickly to notes, emails, documents, presentations, and slide notes.

Microsoft dictation app

Cost:

Dictate is included in the following Microsoft 365 subscriber plans:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal Plan - $69.99/year or $6.99/month

  • Microsoft 365 Family Plan (1-6 Users) - $99.99/year or $9.99/month

Software Requirements:

  • Computer: Windows OS - 1.6 GHz processor or faster and mac OS with Intel processor

  • Memory - Windows OS: 4 GB RAM, 2GB RAM (32-bit)/ mac OS: 4 GB RAM 

  • Hard Disk - Windows OS: 4 GB available;macOS: 10 GB available

  • Operating System -  Windows 10, 8.1, Windows Server 2019 or 2016 and macOS: Latest version of macOS plus the previous two versions 

  • Browser - The current Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari versions. The latest version of Firefox works, but it may only with some features.                                                                                           

Transcription Accuracy:

Microsoft 365 Dictate new update is surprisingly very accurate, although there are not currently any rating percentages available.  

Transcription Languages:

Microsoft 365 Dictate supports thirteen languages: Russian, Korean, Thai, and Chinese.

Ease of Use:

Dictation is easy, and quick using Microsoft 365 Dictate with only a microphone and internet connection. Easily create drafts, notes, presentations, and many other text documents. 

How to Use Microsoft 365 Dictate:

As an online-only application, it is easy to set up and use with these steps:

  1. While signed on to Microsoft 365 with an enabled microphone, open a new or existing document and go to Home > Dictate

    Microsoft 365 dictate

  2. After a few seconds, the Dictate button will appear

    Microsoft 365 dictate button

  3. Click the Microphone ON to begin to dictate, and the text will begin to appear in your selected document; click again to turn Off Recording 

9. Dragon Anywhere

An excellent professional-grade dictation software that creates documents of any length and is perfect for mobile devices. With one of the oldest names in the speech recognition industry, Dragon Anywhere is a highly accurate dictation software for writing a book or various other documents.

Dragon anywhere

Cost - Dragon Anywhere is subscription-based:

  • Annual Plan - $150.00/year

  • Monthly Plan - $15/month

  • One Week Trial - Free

Software Requirements:

  • Android - 6.0+ tablets and phones

  • iOS - 9.35+ ( iPad 5+, iPhone 5+ or iPad Mini 1+) phones and tablets                                                                                                  

Transcription Accuracy:

Dragon Anywhere average accuracy rating is 99%, which many consider one of the industry's best.  

Transcription Languages:

Dragon Anywhere supports English, French, and German

Ease of Use:

Focusing on providing highly accurate Dictation and quick deployment, Dragon Anywhere is straightforward with few settings

How to Use Dragon Anywhere:

  1. Purchase your Dragon Anywhere Subscription and create a Users Account.

  2. Download your iOS or Android app from the appropriate App Store.

  3. Launch the Dragon Anywhere app, and enter the Email and Password made when purchasing from the Dragon Anywhere store 

  4. Begin continuous cloud dictation by clicking on the Microphone to Start Dictation, then click again to Stop

What Benefit is Dictation Software to Writers

These are some excellent reasons even writers can benefit from dictation software. Some of these reasons to consider dictation software for writers are as follows:

Increase Your Word Production With Less Labor

Dictation software increases the rates of writing output using keyboards from 20-30 words per minute to about 150 words per minute. The productivity increase is a huge difference in labor requirements for writing.

So, if in one hour, a writer can produce 1,800 words on a keyboard, in the same time frame, dictation software makes 9,000 words. Even with a 90% error rate, the output still translates to 8,100 words per hour.

Decrease the Amount of Required Writing Time

Dictation software for authors makes sense when writing an 80,000-word novel. Writing on a keyboard takes 44 hours of typing, while dictation software for authors only takes 9 hours.

This substantial labor savings of around 400% is mind-boggling but should prove accurate with software accuracy ratings. The labor savings can be significant, especially for a one-person shop. Also, the labor savings from transcription software such as Notta should produce a strong ROI for the technology investment.

Protect Your Hands From Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A dictation app for writers has enormous implications beyond insane writing output. For example, if you are a writer like me, one of the issues you may eventually have, as I did, is a condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition with numbness and tingling of the hand, usually at the base of the palm. And typing on a keyboard eventually becomes unbearable until you have an operation to relieve pressure on the median nerve causing the pain. 

The more hours spent typing increases this eventuality; believe me, this condition is not fun. So sign me up for any speech-to-text application with typing automation that saves hours on a keyboard.

Try the best note-taking tool in the world

As a professional writing tool, Notta automatically records and transcribes your dictation so you can devote your energy to the writing process instead of spending time typing.

Tips on How to Use Dictation Software

These are some tips on how to maximize your use of dictation software.

  1. Be aware of your environment - if you are dictating in an office environment or cubicle, use headphones to be respectful of your office mates. Not only will headphones with a mic help not to disturb your associates, they will also improve the recognition quality.

  2. Avoid long pauses - When recording, try to eliminate long delays, which can be interpreted as a hard break and may result in an unwanted period.

  3. Experience produces the best results - As with any program, the more you use it, the more comfortable it becomes, and your writing production increases. Especially practicing the software's commands.

  4. Share the transcription link - When presenting to your team, share your transcription link with the audience. One of the many strengths  

  5. Use a quality headset - A major influencer for dictation success is the quality of your headset. Invest in the best headset with a microphone you can afford to maximize the transcription quality of speech-to-text software.

  6. Learn the dictation software commands - Practice learning the transcription software commands to become proficient as soon as possible. Using the 'Free Trial' version during the practice phase is great.

  7. Adjust the microphone position - Make sure and know what the best place is for the microphone. Practice dictating to find the best microphone location to capture the highest quality audio. Relax and speak naturally.

Dictation Software for Writers FAQ

Some frequently asked questions about speech-to-text software.

Is there a free evaluation trial?

Yes, most dictation software, such as Notta, has a free trial to test the app and decide if it works for you.

How accurate is speech-to-text technology?

The success rate of text-to-search is measured by how many errors it may have on average. The number of mistakes is calculated based on the WER (Word Error Rate) rating based on a percentage of errors per 100 words.

For example, Notta has a success rate of 98.86%, assuming their dictation software is set up and configured correctly for the best input and the operator has experience with the software.

WER ratings for some popular products within this article are as follows:

  • Apple Dictate = 95%

  • Windows 10 Speech Recognition = 89%

  • Google Mobile Voice Typing (GBoard) = 98%

  • SpeechNotes = 95%

  • Dragon Anywhere = 99%

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