Microsoft is rolling out a new build to Office Insiders that integrates its Dictate Garage project in its productivity suite. Users can now write documents, emails, and presentations with just their voice, using accurate speech recognition technology.
The functionality will be a big help to those with accessibility issues, but could also have wider uses. If you don't have your hands free or are simply a slow typist, this could offer some relief.
The functionality comes under the Office Intelligent Services banner and shouldn't require much effort on the user's part. After pressing the dictate button, you can simply talk in a clear, conversational tone, and it should pick up most punctuation automatically.
Users can also speak punctuation that's hard to pick up via voice cues, such as semi-colons, new lines, colons, and question marks. In my testing, the recognition didn't work flawlessly, but it did handle mumbling and mispronunciation quite well.
Accuracy May Vary
However, it's worth noting that you'll have better results if you microphone is set up correctly via Windows settings. Quality is likely to vary depending on how quiet the environment is and the specs of your microphone. You'll also need to be online to use it.
Your speech will be sent to Microsoft to compile a unique dictionary, and that data may be used generally to improve the service. If this makes you uncomfortable, you can disable the feature by unticking Office intelligent services in options.
Of course, you'll have to be on the Insider Fast ring if you do want access. You can opt-in from apps by heading to the account section.