Voice typing is purely for dictating text, but has some extra features like automatic punctuation, and uses Microsoft services in the cloud to get more accurate results. To find out more about Voice typing see the guide How to use Voice Typing in Windows 11. For advice on how to get speech recognition working more accurately and reliably, see the guide How to improve Speech Recognition in Windows 11.
This section explains how to enable and use speech recognition in Windows 11. This is a step-by-step guide with pictures of the screens to help.
1. Open the Accessibility settings by pressing the Windows key + U on the keyboard or by clicking Start > Settings > Accessibility. Select Speech under Interaction in the right-hand panel.
2. Click the toggle switch for Windows Speech Recognition to turn it on. You can also press the Windows key + Ctrl + S to turn speech recognition on or off.
3. The Set up Speech Recognition wizard will appear to guide you through the steps of setting up your microphone and your speech recognition preferences. Click Next to continue.
4. Select Headset Microphone, Desktop Microphone or Other to match the microphone you’re using. If you’re using a microphone built into a laptop or a webcam, select Other. Click Next. Test and adjust your microphone’s volume level on the next screen, then click Next again.
5. Windows can analyse your documents or emails to get a better idea of the words you use and how you speak. Select Enable document review when prompted to allow this, or Disable document review if you’d rather not.
6. You can also choose between voice activation mode, where your computer listens our for a ‘Start Listening’ command to start speech recognition, or a manual activation mode where it waits for a keyboard shortcut or a taskbar icon to be clicked. Click Next to continue.
7. Finally, click the link to print the Speech Reference Card if you want when prompted, then tick the checkbox for Run Speech Recognition at start-up if you want it to lauch automatically. Click Next and speech recognition is ready to use.
8. Now that speech recognition is set-up, the Speech Recognition toolbar will appear at the top of the screen. The microphone button and display will indicate whether it is listening or asleep. When it is listening you can use the commands found in the Speech Reference Card to control your device, You can open applications, perform a mouse action, close windows and select items, plus a whole lot more.
9. You can also use speech recognition to dictate text anywhere you would normally type, including online forms, email programs and Word documents. A full list of commands for entering symbols and editing text can be found on Microsoft's Windows Recognition commands website.
You can turn speech recognition on or off using the Windows key + Ctrl + S shortcut, or by clicking the microphone button in the system tray section of the Taskbar and selecting On, Sleep or Off.
Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings are managed by someone else (an IT department or administrator for example). If so, you will need to contact them to access these settings or for help.