Microsoft's Dictate add-in brings speech-to-text support to Office apps

A new app from Microsoft's Garage incubator uses the same speech-recognition in Cortana, coupled with real-time translation, for hands-free typing.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's Garage incubator is fielding a new experimental app for hands-free typing called Dictate.


Dictate is an add-in for Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. According to Microsoft's site for the app, Dictate uses the same speech-recognition technology in Cortana for converting speech to text, coupled with real-time translation.

Dictate supports more than 20 languages for dictation, plus real-time translation to 60 languages. This means a user could say "Hasta la vista," and Dictate could translate that into "See you later" inside Word, Excel, or PowerPoint if a user wanted to create an English version of an email message, document, or slide.

Dictate also allows users to say things like "new line," "stop dictation," or "period" and have the engine recognize those commands.

Microsoft is making Dictate available as a free download for 32-bit and 64-bit Office. Because it's a Microsoft Garage app, there's no guarantee if or when Microsoft ultimately will turn Dictate into a fully supported product. (Some Garage projects are terminated for lack of use or other reasons after some amount of time.)

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