Google Voice is a free dictation service that types what you speak. It’s a fantastic tool for anyone who hates typing or is very slow at it.
Before you get started, you’re going to need a couple of things:
- The latest version of Google Chrome
- A functioning microphone connected to your computer
To start Google Voice, all you need to do is go to Google Drive and create a new Google Docs word processing document. Once created, go to the top menu and select Tools > Voice typing.
A small pop-up window will appear to the left of your document with a dark microphone icon inside it. Click the microphone. When it turns red, you can start speaking your text.
While you’re speaking, don’t worry if you need to pause. Google will wait for you. Once you’ve finished, click the microphone again to turn off the service.
Formatting and editing in Google Voice
The easiest way to format, such as including bold or italics, is to start by dictating a sentence like, “I prefer manual typing.”
Don’t forget to dictate your punctuation, so the above sentence sounds like: “I prefer manual typing period.”
Next say, “select ‘I prefer manual typing.’”
Followed by, “apply italics” or “apply heading two,” or whatever your preferred formatting is.
To add a list, all you have to say is, “create bullet list” or “create numbered list.” Then dictate your list, saying “new line” between each item. At the end of your list say “new line” twice to end the list formatting.
Google Voice also includes an “undo” command in voice typing for those times when you mess up.
You do have to be patient. There’s a lag between the issuing and execution of a command, which makes it far from ideal when creating large amounts of content. But if you want to create notes, short documents, or draft emails, it makes a lot of sense.
One last thing to keep in mind is that Google Voice dictation is like having a highly literal secretary, and it won’t distinguish between flippant remarks that aren’t to be included in your content. That’s why if you’re going to use it, be careful what you say and always proofread the end result.
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