According to a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Outlook users will soon be able to dictate email messages, as well as calendar appointment and meeting content, instead of relying on their touchscreen keyboard.
Already available for desktop and iOS devices, Outlook speech-to-text functionality is set to be extended to Android by the end of the month.
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Speech-to-text in Outlook
Once dictation mode is live, users will be able to activate the feature by tapping on the microphone icon above the keyboard. A large blue version of the same icon indicates the mode is active and the user can begin to dictate.
There are two options for punctuating messages: a command-based system (whereby users say “period”, “colon” etc. out loud) and an auto punctuation feature. While the former method is likely to be more precise, the latter option allows users to dictate freely without interrupting their flow.
Although some might argue dictation is slower and less convenient than typing out a message, especially given the opportunity for inaccuracies, proponents of speech-to-text often say dictation becomes second nature after a while.
And in any case, the availability of speech-to-text functionality across all devices is not just about convenience, it’s also an important accessibility upgrade for users whose dexterity is limited by a medical condition.
In these scenarios, the new feature will ensure that all Outlook users are able to compose email messages effectively, whether at home or on the move.
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Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.