A outdated interface of Microsoft Word

How to Use Microsoft Word Transcribe to Convert Audio to Text

2022-09-284 mins

Although typing is the most common method of creating a Microsoft Word document, other options are available. For example, the Microsoft Word Transcribe feature is a convenient option if you are tired of constantly trying to improve your typing speed or prefer not to write.

Microsoft Word Transcribe allows you to convert speech to text. It comes in handy when transcribing a lecture or a Zoom meeting. However, this feature is only available to Microsoft 365 premium subscribers.

This article teaches how to convert speech to text using the MS Word Transcribe feature.

Transcribe Live Audio With Microsoft Word Transcribe

Microsoft 365 allows users of Microsoft Word online to convert audio directly to text. Also, you have to be a premium subscriber, and there’s a five-hour limit on transcriptions. Below are the steps to transcribe live audio with Microsoft Word Transcribe.

To begin, ensure you have a microphone connected to the computer. It could be an in-built option or a separate mic that you can plug into the PC. However, ensure that the background noise doesn’t get in the way of your live-dictate.

● Step 1: Open Word Online and log in if you’re not already signed in.

 A red arrow points to the Word option.


● Step 2: Next, open a new Microsoft Word document. Click the ‘Home’ tab, and from the list of options available, touch the dropdown arrow next to the ‘Dictate’ tab.

A red arrow points to the Dictate option


● Step 3: From the dropdown, select ‘Transcribe’ to proceed.

The Transcribe option on Microsoft Word.


● Step 4: If you haven’t transcribed previously, you’ll need to grant Microsoft access to your microphone.

The pop up window that require access to microphone.


● Step 5: A message will appear with two options. You can either upload an existing recording or start a new one. Select ‘Start Recording’ to proceed.

A red arrow points to the start recording option.


● Step 6: Once you select this, the timer will start, and you can begin speaking. However, the transcription doesn’t take place as you speak.

● Step 7: You can pause the recording and proceed with the ‘Dictate’ button. Ensure you leave the transcribe pane open while the recording is going on.

A red rectangle around the Dictate option on Microsoft Word.


● Step 8: Once you’re done with the recording, hit the ‘Save and Transcribe Now’ button.

The processing interface of transcribing an audio file.

It could take a few minutes for Word to transcribe the recording and upload it to OneDrive. This depends on the length of your recording. After the transcription, the transcript will appear in the same pane the recording took place.

Every session comes with a timestamp, speaker name, and transcribed text. When Microsoft detects multiple speakers, it separates the text by speakers.

Transcribe Uploaded Audio File With Microsoft Word Transcribe

As one of the best transcription software to convert audio to text online, you can also use the Microsoft Transcription feature to convert audio files. This could be handy when users want to transcribe Zoom meetings or lectures.

Follow the steps below to transcribe the uploaded audio file with Microsoft Word Transcribe.

● Step 1: Sign into Microsoft 365 and then open Word Online to proceed.

● Step 2: On the ‘Home’ tab, select the dropdown arrow next to ‘Dictate’ to proceed, and then select ‘Transcribe’ from the menu that appears.

The interface of Microsoft Word with the Home and Dictate option highlighted.

● Step 3: This opens a ‘Transcribe’ pane. Select ‘Upload Audio’ to proceed. You can upload MP4, WAV, MP3, and M4A audio file types. 

A red rectangle around the Upload audio option


● Step 4: This would open a new window. Navigate to the audio file location and select it. Once you pick the file, click ‘Open.’

The interface to choose an audio from local device.


● Step 5: Microsoft will automatically start transcribing the audio file. Again, the file size determines how long it would take to transcribe. 

● Step 6: Once Microsoft finishes transcribing the audio file, it will appear in the pane where the audio file is. You can edit the transcription and save it to OneDrive when you’re done. 

How to Edit the Transcript

You might notice that the transcript doesn’t reflect the recording audio accurately. Luckily you can edit the transcription whenever you want. Follow the steps provided below to edit the transcript when you want.

1. How to Edit the Transcript

To edit any section of your transcript, do the following:

● Step 1: Hover the mouse over the text section that needs to be corrected.

● Step 2: A pencil icon will appear; click on it to start editing the transcript in this section. Like every other text in a browser, you can select a section of the text, right-click and view the options available.

Edit transcript section


● Step 3: Copy or search any part of the text.

The options to edit the transcript


● Step 4: Use the available playback controls to revisit the audio recording if you want to listen to a part of it. The playback buttons include volume, play, pause, forward, and back.

The option to playback the audio


An excellent addition is the speed control that allows you to change the playback speed from slow to twice normal when you need to skip through the recording. 

Playback speed option


2. How to Rename the Speaker

Another editing feature you can explore on Microsoft Word Transcribe is the changing of speakers’ names. For example, suppose there’s more than one speaker in the audio transcription.

Microsoft distinguishes them as Speaker 1, Speaker 2, and Speaker 3. However, if this is confusing, change it to the speaker’s proper name. Follow the steps below to rename speakers in the Microsoft transcription.

● Step 1: Hover the mouse over the name and hit the pencil icon that appears.

● Step 2: Input the new names.

● Step 3: Ensure you check the ‘Change All Speaker’ box to change the name throughout the transcript.

Edit the speaker name on Microsoft Word transcript


● Step 4: Once you change the name, click ‘Done’ to save the changes.

3. How to Add the Transcript to Your Document

You can add a part or the entire transcript to a Word document in many ways. However, the most common choice is the ‘Add to Document’ option at the bottom of the Transcribe pane.

Click Add to document to add the transcript to your document


Once you select this option, the software will add the recording and content of the transcript to your document. You can click the audio link to listen again.

However, you can only edit the text, not the audio, in the Word document. Also, when added, the ‘Audio File’ and ‘Transcript’ lines will be in ‘Heading 1’ while others will be in ‘Normal’ style. 

How the transcript look like



1. Why can’t I find the Transcribe option on my Microsoft Word?

The Microsoft Word Transcribe feature only works for Word Online, not the application. Also, you can only sign into Microsoft 365 using the latest version of Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers, and the only supported language is English.

2. Is it free to use the MS Word Transcribe?

No, it isn’t. The MS Word Transcribe feature is only available for Microsoft 365 premium subscribers. In addition, you can only access the feature when you open Word on a web browser.

3. Are there any other alternatives to transcribing audio to text? 

Yes, there are. The Notta Transcribe Audio to Text Online tool is an excellent option for accurate transcription. This AI tool allows you to easily record and transcribe meetings in real time. 

4. What version of Word has Transcribe?

Since it only works with Word Online, there’s no specific version of Word that has transcribe. You can always access this tool through the web version of Word on your PC.

5. Why does my Microsoft Word not have Transcribe?

This is because the Transcribe feature only works with the web version and not the Word application. You might also need to change the office language setting to English Us, as that’s the only language the tool supports. 


Although this transcription feature is not perfect, it can save you a lot of time if you need to transcribe audio to text quickly. The software is built directly into Microsoft 365, a popular product with businesses.

As an alternative, Notta Chrome Extension allows you to record and transcribe recordings in real-time. Sign up on Notta today to explore this unique tool.