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Dictating can be helpful if you find spelling difficult or struggle to think while typing.

Tips for effective dictation

  • Avoid too much background noise and use a headset/microphone if possible.
  • Speak clearly at your normal speaking speed.
  • Add in punctuation e.g., “stop,” “comma”, “question mark”.
  • Think through your sentence before turning on the microphone.
  • Always check for accuracy.

Dictation software

Office 365

Dictation can be used in Office 365 apps like Word, OneNote and Outlook (desktop Outlook only) and is highly accurate.

  • Open a new document or email and click Dictate, then start speaking.
  • Change the language setting from English U.S. to English U.K.

Access for free in Office 365 with your UAL email credentials.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking allows completely hands-free access to a computer. Dictate text directly into Word, emails and text boxes and use voice commands to control the computer.

Dragon is available in LCC Learning Zone - Group Study Room C. Book the room via the Library Booking System and contact library staff to borrow the headset.

If you are registered with Disability Services, contact your disability advisor to see if you're eligible for Dragon Naturally Speaking as part of your DSA.

Built-in dictation

There are a few ways to use dictation on your Mac or PC and on your phone or tablet. It’s free and it can be easier to speak your content than type it.

Windows 10

Press the Windows key followed by H key to open the dictation settings and to turn on Dictate. This is not available on UAL computers, but may be available if you're using your own laptop.


Learn how to use your voice to enter text on your Mac. This Mac Libguide explains how to use dictation.

Phones and tablets

Android and iOS devices have built-in dictation. Tap the microphone icon next to the keyboard to start dictating and your speech will appear as text.

Further support

iView Learning is a great platform with training videos and fact sheets on how to use assistive technology including dictation. Lessons include:

  • The Speech Recognition section in the Windows 10 Ease of Use tutorial.
  • Voice Control section in the Mac Accessibility video tutorial.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Create an iView Learning account for free with your UAL credentials.