How to use a Dictaphone

By Editorial Team

Updated September 26, 2017

How to use a Dictaphone. Dictaphone is a trademarked brand name for a dictation machine, a device much like a tape recorder. Managers often dictate letters using a Dictaphone. Meetings, lectures and seminars are often recorded, and secretaries or transcriptionists type the information while listening to the tape.

Plug the headphone to the Dictaphone and put it on your head.

Insert the tape in the Dictaphone and press "Play."

Place your foot on the pedal. Notice the two buttons on the pedal. One is to forward and the other is to rewind the tape. Some foot pedals also have a button to set the speed according to your typing speed.

Practice a few times so you can familiarize yourself with the process. You have to coordinate your hand, foot and ear, which may seem challenging at first.

Start typing what you hear on the tape. If you notice that you missed a word, rewind the tape and type in the word you missed. Transcribers must use correct punctuation and grammar. After you finish typing all the information on the tape, play it back while reading over the document to make sure you didn't miss any words.


Instructions on how to use a Dictaphone may vary slightly depending on the brand. It's easier to transcribe information that you're familiar with. For example, transcriptionists can choose from corporate, legal or medical transcription.