Microsoft Word’s built-in transcription feature allows users to automatically convert audio recordings into text. This can save a tremendous amount of time compared to manually transcribing audio. However, Microsoft has hidden this useful feature away and made it difficult to locate.
This article will walk through how to access the transcription tool and use it to transcribe audio files into Word documents.
Accessing the Transcription Tool
The transcription feature is only available in the online version of Word, not the traditional desktop applications. To use it, you need to:
- Go to Office.com and sign in with your Microsoft 365 account
- Launch Word online while signed into your account
- Use a compatible browser like Microsoft Edge or Chrome for best results
The tool will not work in other browsers like Firefox or Safari.
Using the Transcription Tool
Once launched in a compatible browser, you can start transcribing audio in Word online. Here are the basic steps:
- Record audio directly within Word by clicking on the “Dictate” button
- Upload existing audio files in formats like WAV, MP3, M4A and more
- Play back the audio and watch the text transcribe in real-time
- Edit the automatically generated text to correct any transcription errors
- Insert the full transcript or highlights into your Word document
The transcription separates speakers and timestamps each section of text. This makes it easy to follow the flow of the conversation.
Limitations to be Aware Of
While handy, the transcription feature does come with some limitations to be aware of:
- English only – Transcription is only available for English audio at this time
- Character limits – Free Microsoft 365 plans limit monthly transcription minutes
- Accuracy – Automatically generated transcripts may contain errors
So some manual editing is recommended to correct mistakes in the transcription output.
Microsoft Word’s hidden transcription tool can save significant time converting audio content into text. With some practice, you can quickly unlock this feature and put it to use for meetings, interviews, and other audio.
Just be aware of the limitations around languages supported, accuracy, and monthly usage limits based on your Microsoft 365 subscription.
Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions! I’m happy to provide more details around this hidden gem in Word online.