Windows 10 is improving the way you interact with it – including better voice recognition

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 has a new preview version which improves the operating system’s integrated voice recognition, and introduces a thoroughly overhauled emoji picker and refreshed touch keyboard.

Build 20206, which has been released to testers in the Dev Channel, comes with a new and improved version of Windows dictation which has been renamed Windows voice typing.

As was the case with dictation, it’s possible to use voice typing anywhere in Windows 10 where there is a text field, but it now benefits from a modern design which is optimized for usage with touch keyboards, Microsoft explains.

The software giant has been tinkering under the hood to ensure that you get the “most reliable voice typing experience ever on Windows”, and other improvements have been made, including an auto-punctuation feature which does what it says on the tin – automatically inserting periods and question marks where appropriate.

Some new commands have been introduced, too, including the ability to stop or start the feature using your voice (rather than clicking on an icon), or temporarily pausing voice dictation. There are also commands to select certain parts of text, or delete them (reminiscent of the way these things work in Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition package, which is top of our best speech to text software roundup).

Microsoft notes that voice typing is still a work in progress (it’s a preview version of Windows 10 after all), and that you may experience random pauses in some Office apps when using the feature.

At the moment, only certain languages and regions are supported, and those are English US, UK, Australia, Canada, and India, as well as: French (France), French (Canada), Portuguese (Brazilian), Simplified Chinese, Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spanish), German, Italian and Japanese.

Emoji improvements

Preview build 20206 also brings in an improved emoji picker, and the idea is it’s now a one-stop-shop for all your emoji needs with a fresh look (based on Fluent Design). An in-line search box will help you find the right emoji, and support for animated GIFs has been introduced.

Microsoft further announced that Windows 10’s touch keyboard benefits from a new look and design, with updates to the key sizes and layouts, along with new keypress animations and sound effects, plus more besides.

Note that all of these features are rolling out to just some testers to begin with, so you may not see them immediately, but they will arrive on your Windows 10 preview build before too long.

Microsoft has made other changes here, and there are the usual bug fixes and known issues which are all detailed in the full blog post for build 20206.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).