Speech Recognition Tools on Your Computer

For Auditory Learning

Doctor dictates notes at a computer
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If your computer came equipped with Office XP, you can train it to type what you say and read back what you've typed! You can determine if your computer is equipped by going to the Control Center (from the Start menu). If you find a Speech icon, your computer should be equipped.

The speech tools, called voice recognition and text-to-speech, are useful for many homework tasks, but they can also be fun to play with!

If you are an auditory learner, you can read your notes into a microphone while your computer types. By going through the process of reading and listening, you may increase your ability to remember and recall information.

Sound interesting? There's more! The tools can be useful in case of an injury. If you have damaged your hand or arm and you find it difficult to write, you can use the speech tool to write a paper. You may think of other uses for these fun tools.

There are a few steps you'll need to learn to set up your speech tools, but even the steps are fun. You'll train your computer to recognize your own unique speech patterns and then choose a voice for your computer to use.

Voice Recognition

You will need to activate and train your speech recognition tool to enable the system to recognize your voice. You will need a microphone to get started.

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Locate the Tools menu and select Speech. The computer will ask if you want to install the feature. Click Yes.
  3. After the installation is complete, you'll need to select Next to train speech recognition. Follow the steps. The training consists of reading a passage into the microphone. As you read the passage, the program highlights the words. The highlight means the program is understanding your voice.
  4. Once you have installed speech recognition, you will have the option of selecting Speech from your Tools menu. When you select Speech, several voice tools appear at the top of your screen.

Using the Voice Recognition Tool

  1. Open a new document in Microsoft Word.
  2. Make sure your microphone is plugged in.
  3. Bring up the Speech menu (unless it's already appearing at the top of your screen).
  4. Select Dictation.
  5. Start talking!

Text-to-speech Tool

Would you like to train your computer to read text to you? First, you will need to select a reading voice for your computer.

  1. From your desktop (starting screen) go to Start and Control Center.
  2. Select the Speech icon.
  3. There are two tabs, labeled Speech Recognition and Text to Speech. Select Text to Speech.
  4. Choose a name from the list and select Preview Voice. Just select the voice you like the best!
  5. Go to Microsoft Word, open a new document, and type a few sentences.
  6. Make sure your speech menu appears at the top of the page. You may need to open it by selecting Tools and Speech.
  7. Highlight your text and select Speak from the speech menu. Your computer will read the sentences.

Note: You may need to adjust the options in your speech menu to make certain commands appear, such as Speak and Pause. Simply find Options on your speech menu and select the commands you want to add to the speech menu bar.​