Speech Recognition (Ease of Access)

Do you know that you can use the Speech Recognition feature in Windows by using your voice for dictation on your computer without buying any special speech recognition software? Admittedly, you may find the accuracy of voice recognition varies depending on your microphone, environment (i.e. noise), and local dialects (or accents) that you may speak.

It is always best to check your microphone setting on your computer before you start using the Speech Recognition feature. Most new computers come with a built-in microphone, but you may need to use an external microphone if your computer lacks a built-in microphone.

Microphone settings and troubleshooting

Windows 10:

You can follow the Microsoft support page to set up your microphone and Speech Recognition.

Or manually set up as follows.

Check to make sure your audio devices aren’t muted or input and output devices are correctly selected. Right-click the Speakers icon on the taskbar, and then select ‘Open Sound settings’.

Speaker icon
Sound settings

Then you should be able to verify that you have the correct Input and Output devices selected.

Sound Output/Input device example

If you still have additional Sound problems, go to the Microsoft support page below. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4520288/windows-10-fix-sound-problems

The following instructions describe how to start speech Recognition on Windows 10 and Windows 8 system. If you do not know which operating system you have on your computer, right click Windows symbol on the taskbar (normally at the left corner bottom on the Windows desktop) , select Search, type ‘System’, and you will find the operating system (OS) information in the pop-up Window of your computer. You can also find the information in the File Explore, Right click ‘This PC’ and click Properties. Then you will find the operating system under the Windows edition. Follow the instruction below depending on your OS.

Windows 10 OS:
You can enable Speech Recognition feature in two ways. You can use Keyboard shortcuts or go to the Speech section from Settings > Ease of Access > Speech.

By using Keyboard Shortcuts:

Within a word processor or notebook program (i.e. Microsoft Word), type
Windows logo key & H

If you see a pop-up window shown below (a microphone icon and Listening),you can start dictation.

Microphone icon (when it is ready to dictation)

Or Turn on Speech Recognition by Windows logo key + Ctrl + S

Speech Recognition – on

You can stop or start your dictation by saying ‘Stop listening’ or ‘Start listening’ as long as the speech recognition is running.

You can also turn on Speech Recognition by going to the Ease of Access. To access Speech Recognition, Windows logo key + U, go to Speech under Ease of Access, and click turn on the Speech Recognition.

Turn on/off Speech Recognition
or press Windows logo key + Ctrl + S
Talk Instead of Talk and Cortana(digital assistant) settings
Online speech recognition setting

Windows 10 has additional speech recognition features, you can talk to Cortana and other apps that use Microsoft’s cloud-based speech recognition. Additionally if you turn off online speech recognition, you won’t be able to speak to Cortana or use dictation. We will cover Cortana feature in a different blog next time.

Windows 8
Check to make sure your audio devices aren’t muted or Recording device is correctly selected for dictation. Right-click the Speakers icon on the taskbar, and then select ‘Recording devices’.

Speaker icon
Recording devices
Sound and Microphone settings

Verify the default Microphone is working and click Configure, it will bring up Speech Recognition options in the Ease of Access. Note: you can also get to this screen from Control Panel > Ease of Access > Speech Recognition > Start speech recognition.

Ease of Access / Configure Speech Recognition experience window

Configure Speech Recognition experience

From this screen, you can set up microphone, start speech recognition, speech tutorial, train your computer, and open Speech Reference card.   Open Speech Reference card will show additional help information and videos on how to use Speech Recognition.

Speech Recognition commands:


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