How to Use the Google Docs Voice Typing Feature

230390 How to Use the Google Docs Voice Typing Feature

Google Docs has a handy voice typing feature that allows you to dictate text instead of typing it manually. This can help you write faster and more efficiently. In this blog post, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to use voice typing in Google Docs.

Benefits of Using Voice Typing

Here are some of the main benefits of using the Google Docs voice typing feature:

  • Write faster: Most people can talk faster than they can type. Voice typing allows you to get your thoughts down quickly without being slowed down by typing speed.
  • Reduce typos: Typing errors can disrupt your flow of thought. With voice typing, what you say is what will appear on the document, helping limit mistakes.
  • Give your hands a break: If you have issues with wrist, hand or finger pain from extended typing sessions, voice typing allows you to draft documents without using your hands.
  • Work hands-free: Voice typing enables you to work on documents even if your hands are occupied with another task.

Step 1: Enable Voice Typing in Google Docs

Voice typing only works on the Chrome browser, so make sure you have the latest version installed. Then:

  1. Open a document in Google Docs or create a new one.
  2. Click Tools > Voice typing in the menu bar. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S.
  3. A microphone box will appear. Click the red microphone icon to enable dictation.

Step 2: Dictate Your Document

Once voice typing is enabled:

  • Speak clearly and naturally to dictate your text.
  • Say “new line” or “new paragraph” for formatting.
  • Insert punctuation using voice commands like “period”, “comma” etc.
  • Say “select all” or “select previous/next word” to edit text.
  • Click the microphone icon again when you’re done to disable dictation.

It may take some practice to get used to voice commands. Refer to Google’s voice typing support page for more formatting and editing options.

Step 3: Edit and Format with Voice Commands

Voice typing includes various commands to edit and format text without using your keyboard:

  • Basic text formatting:
    • Italicize – Say “italicize previous/next word”.
    • Bold – Say “bold previous/next word”.
    • Underline – Say “underline previous/next word”.
  • Editing text:
    • Delete previous/next word
    • Replace with
    • Insert text
  • Structural formatting:
    • Start list/number list
    • Increase/decrease indent
    • Start heading/subheading

Again, check Google’s voice typing commands list for all available options.

Step 4: Use Voice Typing for Faster Note-Taking

The voice typing tool can be great for quick note-taking during meetings, interviews, phone calls etc.

To optimize it:

  • Use a good external microphone for accuracy. The in-built mic works but may miss some words.
  • Speak clearly and leave pauses between sentences.
  • Use structural commands like “new heading”, “start numbered list” etc for organized notes.
  • Double check transcribed notes for errors afterwards.

Step 5: Enable Offline Voice Typing

You can enable offline voice typing to keep dictating even without an internet connection.

To set it up:

  1. Click File > Settings in Google Docs.
  2. Go to Offline > Offline documents.
  3. Check the box for “Enable offline voice typing”.
  4. Save the document for offline access.

Now you can dictate text into the document when offline, and changes will sync when you’re back online.

Tips for Seamless Voice Typing

Follow these tips to ensure voice typing works smoothly:

  • Use a headset mic: A decent quality headset microphone captures audio more accurately than built-in mics.
  • Set up a quiet environment: Background noises make transcription less accurate, so try to dictate text in a quiet room.
  • Speak clearly and naturally: Don’t shout or over-enunciate words. Speak at a normal volume and pace.
  • Master voice commands: Learn all the available commands for editing and formatting to fully leverage voice typing.
  • Double check for errors: Review transcribed documents carefully to fix any mistakes.


The Google Docs voice typing feature allows you to draft documents faster just by using your voice. With some practice, you can format, edit and take notes efficiently without ever touching the keyboard!

So give voice typing a try for your next project. Just speak naturally while using the right commands, and Google Docs will do the heavy lifting of transcription. Let me know in the comments if this guide helped you out!

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