comscore Microsoft's Dictate app adds speech-to-text feature in Office

Microsoft's Dictate app adds speech-to-text feature in Office

The in-app feature will use Cortana's voice recognition system.


Microsoft Office has had a host of office tools to make life easy but the one thing missing was dictation. And now, Microsoft has launched an all new basic app ‘Dictate’ solely to complete the Office offering. The name is self explanatory and the Dictate app is developed by Microsoft Garage, which is the experimental software development unit of Microsoft. Also Read - Microsoft Surface Duo battery could last through the day

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The Dictate app works as an add on and the user must have Microsoft Office installed to run it. Once installed, it supports voice-to-text feature. Just like in dictation, the app recognizes the sound and converts it into text. The app can be used with all of Microsoft Office’s offerings like Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, and more. The app comes with voice-to-text support for only 20 languages but it supports translation services for over 60 languages. The app is quite basic, but Microsoft Garage has ensured that the app can differentiate between voice messages, commands and punctuation. For example, the user can automatically tell the Dictate app to change paragraph and it will function accordingly. Also Read - Xbox Series X Gameplay showcase reveals trailers of 22 games

The dictate app uses Cortana voice recognition system, which makes it more accurate than a regular voice-to-text feature. The feature is not new to Microsoft Office as it has been present since long but the new app brings a host of additions to the already existing feature. The commands it can recognize are ‘New Line’, ‘Stop Dictation’, ‘Enter’, ‘Delete’ and some more. The punctuation the Dictate app can use include, Full stop or period, Question mark, Open and Close Quote, Colon and Comma. There are certain things to remember like the command ‘Delete’ does not delete just the previously typed word but removes the entire last line. There are two modes of punctuation in English — Auto and Manual. ALSO READ: Now, you can replace Google Assistant with Cortana as default assistant on Android smartphones

Dictate app will be supported by both, 32-bit and 64-bit Office. However, the apps for both are different and the user will need to verify the version before downloading the app. The app supports Windows 8.1 or later, Office 2013 or later, .Net. Dictate app was initially built by Microsoft as a part of Microsoft hackathon. However, the idea appealed to multiple employees and it took on from there, with more and more employees pitching in. The project now has over 1,500 employees in 40 countries and is a wide-spread idea.

Talking about the Dictate app, Microsoft said in a blog post, “You can speak much faster than you can type, so what if you could type with your voice? With Dictate, a new project released through the Microsoft Garage, you can. The add-in works with Outlook, Word and PowerPoint for Windows and converts speech to text using the state-of-the-art speech recognition and artificial intelligence imbued in Microsoft Cognitive Services, including the Bing Speech API and Microsoft Translator.”

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  • Published Date: June 21, 2017 4:56 PM IST

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