Windows 11: Live captions in 7 more languages, new snap layouts, and widget updates

Microsoft is rolling out live captions to more languages in Windows 11, but performance is patchy for non-English languages.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Windows 11 on laptop
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

Microsoft is expanding Windows 11's live caption functionality to seven more languages and more English dialects. 

The Windows 11 2022 Update launched with system-wide live captions, which generated live captions from any audio content -- but this feature only supported US English. Live captures technically arrived as an accessibility feature, alongside voice access for controlling a PC and text dictation, and natural voices for Narrator. But live captions can be a useful tool for anyone working from a noisy café.

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The latest Windows 11 preview in the Dev Channel, build 25300, adds Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, and other English dialects.

You can turn on live captions using the WIN + Ctrl + L keyboard shortcut, or from accessibility in Quick Settings. Since live captions happen on the device, users need to download the required speech recognition support via Settings > Time & Language > Language & region.

However, Microsoft warns there are a number of bugs affecting live captions on Arm64 devices, including that Chinese traditional does not work, some languages listed as supported are actually not, and it's prone to displaying incorrect captioning in non-English languages. Hopefully these issues will be fixed by the time the service reaches the Beta Channel.

The second release of Windows 11 also brought improved snapping or snap layouts, where windows can be snapped into prearranged layouts. To see snap layout options, hover the mouse over the maximize button, or press Win + Z. 

Microsoft is exploring ways to improve the discoverability and use of snap layouts, such as reducing mouse hover time over the app window's maximize button. It's also trying out the inclusion of the icon of the app window into the snap layout and adding a descriptive title.    

All users in the Dev Channel should also be able to sync voice-typing settings across all devices signed into the same Microsoft account. This feature applies to automatic punctuation and the voice-typing launcher.

In addition, Microsoft has updated the Apps section of the Settings app to make it easier to access more information about the apps listed in Startup. And when you choose Uninstall for a Win32 app in Start (or searching for the app), you're now taken to Settings to uninstall the app.

Microsoft has started rolling out third-party widgets for the Windows 11 widget board this year. The first three were Meta's Messenger, Spotify, and Microsoft's Phone Link app. Widgets can be selected from the widget picker and pinned to the widget board. 

But there was an issue causing third-party widgets to get unpinned when users were signed in across multiple Windows 11 devices. As a result of fixing that issue, a recent update to widgets in the Dev Channel unpinned third-party widgets. Now, users will need to go back and re-pin them. 

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Microsoft is also investigating an issue where "under certain circumstances third-party widgets may not load as expected."

This update fixes a bug in tabbed File Explorer that prevented dragging and dropping files and folders across tabs.

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