How to Convert Microphone Speech to Text Utility

by Kevin Lee
woman with headset image by Valentin Mosichev from <a href=''></a>

Technology has evolved to the point where computer users can talk to computers and their computers will understand them. Windows 7 and Vista have a free utility that translates speech into text. It is located in a system folder called "Accessibility." Using this tool, computer owners dictate emails, compose articles and even fill out online forms by speaking into microphones. Use your voice to dictate text by first setting up a voice profile and training the Microsoft speech recognition program to understand your voice.

Set Up the Computer

Step 1

Plug a microphone into your computer.

Step 2

Right-click the microphone icon in the system tray and select "Recording Devices." The "Sound" window will open and display a list of devices. Click your microphone to highlight it.

Step 3

Click "Configure." The "Speech Recognition Options" window will open.

Step 4

Click "Set up microphone." A training wizard will open in the "Microphone Setup" window. It will guide you through the setup process. Close that window When the wizard finishes to return to the Speech Recognition Options window.

Click "Train your computer to understand you." This wizard will guide you through a series of voice training exercises. It will ask you to repeat sentences. The more time that you spend training the software, the better the word recognition rate will become.

Dictate Text

Step 1

Click the "Start" menu and type "Speech" (without quotes) in the Search box. Double-click "Windows Speech Recognition." A small window containing a microphone icon will open. This is the program's user interface. You will see "Sleeping" in the status area. This means that the program will not listen to your voice.

Step 2

Speak into the microphone and say "Start Listening." The computer will start listening to your voice.

Step 3

Speak into the microphone and say, "What can I say." This command opens a window that displays the available speech commands.

Step 4

Click "Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad" to open Notepad. Create a new document.

Step 5

Say the sentence, "This is a test." If you trained the speech engine correctly, these words will appear in the document. Continue to add new text to the document by speaking into the microphone.

Say the sentence, "This is a mistake." The program will type these words. Say, "Correct that." The program will undo the last thing that you said. In this example, it will delete your sentence "Correct that."


  • Microsoft recommends using a quality microphone such as a headset. Headsets are less susceptible to background noise.
  • If you forget some of the speech commands, review them at any time by saying, "What can I say." This is one of the most important commands in the speech program&#039;s vocabulary.
  • Right-click the user interface and select "Help" for additional tips on using the speech recognition software.


Photo Credits

  • woman with headset image by Valentin Mosichev from

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

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