Speech-to-text technologies allow students to convert their speech into text. These technologies are particularly useful for those with mobility impairments and other disabilities which make it difficult to type or write without the use of an assistive device.

Apple Voice Control

To activate Voice Control on a MacBook, you will need to follow the following steps:

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Settings (or System Preferences).
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. In Accessibility settings, click Voice Control.
  4. Turn on Voice Control. If you are turning on Voice Control for the first time, your Mac might complete a one-time download from Apple.

Once Voice Control is enabled, users can dictate speech and use other commands which enable hands free control of an Apple device.

Voice Control recognizes the names of many apps, labels, controls, and other onscreen items, so you can navigate by combining those names with certain commands. Here are some examples:

  • Open Pages: “Open Pages.” Then create a new document: “Click New Document.” Then choose one of the letter templates: “Click Letter. Click Classic Letter.” Then save your document: “Save document.”
  • Start a new message in Mail: “Click New Message.” Then address it: “John Appleseed.”
  • Restart your Mac: “Click Apple menu. Click Restart” (or use the number overlay and say “Click 8”).

For further information about using Apple Voice Control, please visit Apple Support.

Microsoft 365 Dictation

Microsoft 365 Dictation allows users to convert their speech into text. All you need is a microphone, a reliable internet connection, and a Microsoft 365 license (which you may obtain from Yale ITS).

To enable the Dictation feature in Word, OneNote, and Powerpoint, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open a new or existing document and go to Home > Dictate.
  2. Wait for the Dictate button to turn on and start listening.
  3. Start speaking to see text appear on the screen.
  • Tip: On the Mac, you can also start dictation with the keyboard shortcut: ⌥ (Option) + F1.
  • Tip: The Auto Punctuation option in Settings (gear icon) allows Word to detect punctuation in certain languages such that you won’t need to explicitly say each punctuation mark.

For further information about how to use this function, please refer to Microsoft’s manual for Using Dictate in Microsoft 365, which includes voice commands for adding punctuation, formatting, and more.

Google Documents Voice Typing

Google Voice Typing is a fast and effortless way to dictate text. This feature is inbuilt in Google Docs and Slides and can be activated by following these steps:

  1. Check that your microphone works.
  2. Open a document in Google Docs with a Chrome browser.
  3. Click Tools > Voice typing. A microphone box appears.
  4. When you are ready to speak, click the microphone.
  5. Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace. Punctuation will be automatically added (or you can explicitly say them). As long as the microphone icon is red, what you say will be transcribed.
  6. When you are done, click the microphone again.
  • Tip: When speaking multiple sentences in one go, Google will automatically add spaces after the periods and before the start of a new sentence. However, if you dictate sentences separately, the spaces will have to be added manually.

For further information about using Google’s Voice Dictation software, including how to explicitly add punctuation marks, please refer to Google Documents Editors Help.