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How to use speech recognition in Windows 8.1

How to use speech recognition in Windows 8.1

To set up your microphone

Before you use Speech Recognition you will need to setup your microphone.

From a computer with a keyboard and a mouse

  • Move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen to reveal the charms.
  • Click on the 'Search' charm – the one with the magnification glass icon.
  • Type the query 'Set up a microphone' in the search box.
  • Click on the button 'Set up a microphone'.

From a touch enabled device

  • Swipe in from the right hand edge of the screen to reveal the charms.
  • Tap on the 'Search' charm – the one with the magnification glass icon.
  • Type the query 'Set up a microphone' in the search box.
  • Tap on the button 'Set up a microphone'.


Figure 1: Microphone Setup Wizard

  • You will now have access to the 'Microphone Setup Wizard' (Fig 1). Select your type of microphone and click 'Next' (or ‘Alt’ + ‘right arrow key’).
  • You will see a screen on placing your microphone. Click ‘Next’ (or ‘Alt’ + ‘right arrow key’).
  • Next you are asked to read a sentence on screen and you see a slider in the volume bar move as you speak (Fig 2). Read it and click ‘Next’ (or ‘Alt’ + ‘right arrow key’).
  • The microphone is setup. Click the ‘Finish’ button.


Figure 2

To train the Speech Recognition system

You can now start dictating. However, the recognition will not be accurate as the computer has not “learnt” your voice.

From a computer with a keyboard and a mouse

  • Move the mouse pointer to the upper right hand corner of the screen to reveal the charms.
  • Click on the 'Search' charm – the one with the magnification glass icon.
  • Type the query 'Speech recognition' in the search box.
  • Tap on the button 'Speech recognition'.

From a touch enabled device

  • Swipe in from the right hand edge of the screen to reveal the charms.
  • Tap on the 'Search' charm – the one with the magnification glass icon.
  • Type the query 'Speech recognition' in the search box.
  • Tap on the button 'Speech recognition'.

The window 'Speech Recognition' will open (Fig 3).


Figure 3: Speech recognition window

  • Click ‘Train your computer to better understand you’. This takes 5 minutes and you can take further units if you want.
  • Read the Welcome screen text, and click ‘Next’.
  • Read aloud the training text and click ‘More Training’.
  • Click 'Next'. After you have done this the computer should recognise your voice.
  • For a list of speech commands click ‘Open reference card’.

To open Speech Recognition automatically when Windows starts

From the ‘Ease of Access Center’:

  • Click ‘Use the computer without a display’ under 'Explore all settings' (Fig 4).


Figure 4

  • Click ‘Set up Text to Speech’ under 'Hear text read aloud' (Fig 5).


Figure 5

  • Click the tab ‘Speech Recognition’.
  • Click the checkbox ‘Run Speech Recognition at startup’ under ‘User Settings’ (Fig 6).


Figure 6

  • Click ‘Apply’.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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