Microsoft's Dictate app puts dictation directly inside Office

Anyone with an interview to transcribe, a long essay to write, a speech to caption, or other typing needs has likely wished at some point that they could turn their words, or someone else's, into text in an instant. 

Voice recognition software like Nuance's Dragon programs do have the power to turn speech into text, albeit often for a steep price, but now Microsoft is bringing its own app to the table, and it's called Dictate.

More an add-on than a standalone application, Dictate allows users to add text to Word, PowerPoint, and even Outlook just by speaking into a microphone, ditching the need for any third-party software. 

The app comes as part of Microsoft Garage, the company's studio for experimental applications that include other projects like the one-handed Word Flow keyboard, the news-aggregating News Pro, and even a facial recognition AI that identified dog breeds

In addition to supporting the spoken word in over 20 languages, Dictate can also provide real-time translation for what you say into one of 60 different languages. English speakers can also use special commands like 'new line' or 'delete' for extra control over what goes from their mouth onto the screen.

Dictate is available now for download online for both 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office for Windows 8.1 or later. Just be sure to keep an eye on Dictate's accuracy – 'dictated, but not read' isn't as valid an excuse for typing errors, as it was back in the 20th century.

Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.