person speech to computer

How to Use Speech-to-Text in Google Docs (Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide)

2022-06-297 mins

Do you need to type up a document but can’t find the time? Use Google Docs’ Speech to Text feature! It’s easy to use and helpful for many different scenarios. 

Sometimes you just got back from an important meeting and need to type up minutes. Or you may be sick in bed with the flu and can’t focus enough to type. Speech to text can help you out.

Here’s how it works. First, go to Tools > Voice Typing in any Google Docs document and click the microphone icon. Then dictate your text onto the screen.

How to Use Speech to Text In Google Docs

For this, you’ll need a microphone connected to your computer. If you have an internal microphone on your computer or laptop, you can use that also. For best results, use a microphone close to your mouth so Google can hear you correctly. 

Step 1: First, we’ll have to enable the microphone in Google Docs. At the top, click ‘Tools.’

Tools Tab on Google Docs

Step 2: Click ‘Voice Typing’.

Click Voice Typing

Step 3: Click the ‘Microphone’ button.

Microphone Button

Step 4: Click ‘Allow’.

A pop up windows asking permission to use microphone

Step 5: Speak what you want Google Docs to type.

Google Docs transcribing voice

How to Use Voice Commands

You can use a variety of voice commands to do many different functions in Google Docs. We’ll go over the most basic ones.

Step 1: You can add punctuation by saying “Comma” or “Period” when appropriate.

Add period to the text.

Step 2: Say “New Paragraph” to start a new paragraph and keep speaking.

Start new paragraph by saying New Paragraph

Step 3: Say “New Line” and continue speaking.

Start New Line

Step 4: Say “Select This a way to use your voice to type” to select that sentence.

Select a sentence

Step 5: Say “Unselect” to unselect the text.

Unselect a sentence

Step 6: Say “Select next line” to select the next line. You can also select paragraphs and list items.

You can also select paragraphs and list items

Step 7: You can select different words or phrases as well. Say “Unselect” then say “Select your voice”.

Select certain words by saying Select words

How to Use Voice Formatting

With voice formatting, you can apply headers, colors, and other variations to text.

Step 1: Say, “Select your voice.”

Step 2: Say “bold” to make the text bold.

Step 3: Unselect, say “Select type” then say “Underline” to underline the text.

Step 4: Unselect, say “Select This” then say “Italics” to italicize the text. 

Step 5: Say “Select line” then say “Apply Heading 1” to make it a title heading.

Heading 1 Format applied to a sentence

Step 6: Unselect, say “Select next line” then say “Apply Heading 2” to apply a subheading. You might have to say it twice because Google may not pick up the command correctly.

Heading 2 format applied to a sentence.

Step 7: Unselect, select “microphone”, then say “Text color red”.

Step 8: Unselect, Select “voice commands,” then say “Make Bigger” to increase the font by one point. You can also say “Make smaller” to decrease it by one point. 

Step 9: Unselect, Say “Select All” to select all text, then say “Align right.”

Text aligned right in Google Docx

Say, “Align left”.

Text aligned left in Google Docx

Step 10: Say, “Create bulleted list”.

Bulleted list created in Google Docs

Say, “Create numbered list.”

Numbered list created in Google Docs

Step 11: Say “Clear formatting” to clear all formatting you have done for a word or phrase.

Docs heard

How to Use Voice Editing

You can also use your voice to edit text.

Step 1: Select all, then say “Delete” to delete text. Say “Backspace” to delete.

Docs heard: 'Delete'

Step 2: Use voice typing to type a new sentence. Select all and say “Copy.”

Docs hear: 'Copy' to copy text

Step 3: Unselect then say “New Paragraph”. Say “Paste”.

Text pasted by saying 'Paste' to Google Docs

Step 4: Say “Undo”.

Google Docs undone the previous operation.

Step 5: Select “This is a sentence.” Say, “Insert comment This is a sentence about a sentence.”

A comment added to a sentence by voice input in Google Docs.

Step 6: Say “Insert link” to insert a link. You can also say “Copy link” or “Delete link” to edit links.

A link inserted to a sentence in Google Docs.

Step 7: Unselect, create a new paragraph, then say “Insert Table 3 by 3” to create a table.

A 3 by 3 table inserted in Google Docs.

Step 8: Use “Insert new low” and “Insert new column” to insert new rows and columns.

Pro Tips for Using Voice Typing

There are a ton of other commands that we did not cover here. We wrote this article so you can learn the most important commands to start voice typing today. Refer to Google’s documentation to get the complete list of commands you can use. Here are some tips for using Voice Typing effectively:

  • Speak at a clear and moderate pace so that the algorithm can pick up your words and commands.

  • Try to write a paragraph at a time and go back to edit words and phrases later. That way, you can get your ideas out of your head without worrying about errors.

  • Use a good microphone. The better microphone you use, the better the transcription will be.

  • Set aside time to practice voice typing and commands. Please get familiar with them before using them for real-world applications.

  • Don’t get frustrated if a word or command is not registering. Just try repeating it slower and more clearly.

  • Make the “Undo” command your friend.

  • Get comfortable with using “Select” and “Unselect” commands.

  • If you have access to a mouse and keyboard, you don’t have to abandon them. Challenge yourself to use only voice typing while learning how to use it. Then try to find a good balance between voice typing and regular typing to see what style works best for you.


How to Use Microphone on Google Docs

You can enable the microphone on Google Docs using the toolbar at the top. Click ‘Tools’ then ‘Voice Typing.’ You can also press Command+Shift+S

The browser will ask for your permission to use the microphone. Then it will put a microphone button on the screen.

Can You Use Speech to Text on Google Docs for Mac?

You can use Voice Typing on Google Docs for Mac, but it only works on Google Chrome. It will not work on Safari. Download the latest version of Google Chrome to get the best results.

Final Thoughts

It may take a little practice before you get the hang of speech to text in Google Docs. If you want a more accurate speech-to-text platform, you can use Notta. It will transcribe voice to text in real-time, then you can edit it in Docs later.