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Dictation in Word and Outlook just got better

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Hi! I’m James Spotanski, a Program Manager on the Flexible Input team in Office. I’m here to share improvements we’ve made to dictation in Word and Outlook for Windows. We’ve covered dictating emails in Outlook and documents in Word in previous posts. Now, we wanted to highlight some new updates.

Dictation new capabilities and improvements

We’re continuously striving to make the dictation experience better. Therefore, we’ve added the Dictation toolbar, voice commands, and auto-punctuation support. As a result, it’s easier to create and edit content with your voice.


  • A microphone.
  • Office for Windows 2102 (13616.10000) or later.
  • Signed in to a Microsoft 365 account.
  • A stable Internet connection.

Dictation toolbar

To show the Dictation toolbar, click the Dictate button on the Home tab. Or press Alt+` (same as the ~ key).

Explore the improvements we've made to dictation in Word and Outlook for Windows.

The toolbar gives you access to dictation. In addition, it provides the ability to change settings like language and automatic punctuation. Meanwhile, this article covers the supported punctuation and voice commands.

Voice commands 

Voice commands let you edit and format your document using your voice. For example, try saying things like “delete that.” Likewise, try saying “bold the last sentence” or “start a list.” You can even say “show all commands” to see the full list of commands. In addition, you can view a complete list of commands here. 

Auto punctuation

Auto punctuation adds punctuation to your dictation. Likewise, it eliminates you having to say “period” or “comma.” Punctuation is determined by the pauses in dictation. In other words, speak naturally and fluidly for the best results. However, if you’d like auto punctuation disabled, you can still speak punctuation marks to insert them in your content.

To turn on auto punctuation:

  1. Click the Dictate button on the Home tab.
  2. On the Dictation toolbar, click the Dictation Settings button. Then click Auto punctuation.

Explore the improvements we've made to dictation in Word and Outlook.

Profanity filter

By default, dictation masks some words that could be considered profane with ****. This is to ensure that any errors in speech recognition don’t incorrectly attribute potentially sensitive phrases to a speaker. You can disable this feature by unchecking the setting.

Tips and tricks

  • You can pause and resume dictation using Alt+` (same as the ~ key).
  • Most importantly, speak clearly and conversationally, but feel free to pause in between thoughts.
  • For the best results, we recommend using an external microphone or headset. This is the best thing you can do to improve the accuracy of dictation!

Supported Languages

Fully supported languages

  • Chinese (China)
  • English (Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States)
  • French (France)
  • German (Germany)
  • Italian (Italy)
  • Spanish (Mexico and Spain)

Preview languages*

  • Chinese (Taiwan)
  • Danish
  • Dutch (Netherlands)
  • English (Australia and India)
  • Finnish
  • French (Canada)
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Norwegian (Bokmål)
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal)
  • Russian
  • Swedish (Sweden)
  • Thai

*Preview languages may have lower accuracy or less punctuation available. Improvements will happen over time.


We don’t store your speech data. Instead, your speech utterances are sent to Microsoft only to provide you with this service. For instance, when the transcription is done, your audio and transcription results are not stored. For more information, see  Connected Experiences in Office.

This feature is powered by the Microsoft Azure Speech Services and built-in directly to Word and Outlook.


We typically release features over some time to ensure that things are working smoothly. This is true for Insiders as well. Similarly, sometimes we remove elements to improve them. Though rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product.


If you have any feedback or suggestions, you can submit them:

  • In Word and Outlook for Windows: click Help > Feedback.

Learn what other information you should include in your feedback. We’re excited to hear from you!

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