Microsoft Brings Transcription, New Voice Commands to Word for the Web

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, Office 365 with 10 Comments

Microsoft has announced a new Transcribe feature for Word for web, plus new voice commands for the existing Dictate feature.

“Whether you’re a reporter conducting interviews, a researcher recording focus group sessions, or an online entrepreneur recording informal discussions, you want to be able to focus on the people you’re talking to without worrying about taking notes and without having to spend hours transcribing your conversations after-the-fact,” Microsoft’s Dan Parish writes in the announcement post. “If that sounds like you, Transcribe in Word is here to help.”

Transcribe lets anyone with a free Microsoft account record their conversations directly in Word for the web and transcribe them automatically. You can also input a previously recorded conversation and Word for web will transcribe that.

The transcription appears in the Transcribe pane inside Word for the web, with the text from different speakers visually separated. You can edit text directly in the transcription and add any of the text, or all of it, to the current document.

“Transcribe in Word enables you to stay focused on your conversation in the moment, saves you valuable time and energy by transcribing it for you, and is integrated into Word so you can focus on the message of your document and not fuss around with different windows or applications,” Parish continues.

Word for web is also picking up new voice commands for the existing Dictate feature.

“You can stay in the flow and focus on your message by using dictation with voice commands to add, format, edit, and organize your text,” Parish says. “Say things like ‘start list’ or ‘bold last sentence’ to let your ideas flow without stopping to adjust your text. Voice commands understand a variety of symbols so you can add things like ‘ampersand’ and ‘percent sign’, and you don’t have to sound like a robot! We’ve based commands on the way people naturally talk so that you can capture your ideas easily. So saying things like ‘dot dot dot’ when you can’t remember ‘ellipses’ works just as well.”

Transcribe and voice commands are available now to anyone with a free Microsoft account. Microsoft says these new capabilities are coming to Word for Windows and Mac “towards the end of the year” for Microsoft 365 subscribers

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