skip to main content

Essential coronavirus info
We can’t wait to welcome our new and returning students from 19 October 2020. Your safety is our first priority.

Your creative future starts here:

Person in blue shirt holding white tablet computer

Using dictation tools to enter text without typing

Written by Barbara Denton
Published date 29 May 2020

You talk, it types: built in dictation on your devices

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.

You will need a microphone, but most laptops and all mobile devices have one built in.

Make sure you are ready to type – you will see a flashing cursor in your document or email. Speak clearly at your normal speaking pace (without too much background noise), and add in punctuation e.g. full stop, comma, question mark. Speaking the punctuation improves the accuracy.

How to dictate on PCs

One of the links below is to a UAL iViewLearning tutorials. You can sign up for these for free using your UAL email address.

  • Office 365 dictation: If you use Word or OneNote online you can dictate using the built in dictation. It has a high accuracy rate.  Note: you will need to change the language setting from English U.S. to English U.K. (click on the down arrow under the dictate button).
  • Windows 10 dictation (iViewLearning tutorial). This is not available on UAL computers, but may be available if you are using your own laptop.
  • How to dictate on Macs

  • Office 365 dictation: This works on Macs in Word and OneNote online. In recent tests this was more accurate than the dictation built in to the Mac.
  • Mac dictation: There is dictation built in to the Macs, which you can use wherever there is a text insertion bar. It is quick and easy to use, but was not quite as accurate as Office 365 dictation in recent tests.
  • How to dictate on phones and tablets

  • Dictating on iPhones and iPads: Tap on the microphone icon next to the keyboard to start dictating. Try using it to dictate into ToDo list apps like Trello or to make notes in OneNote or Word online.
  • Dictating on Android tablets and phones: Tap the microphone icon next to the keyboard to start dictating. You can dictate anywhere where you would normally type.

  • It can take practice to learn how to dictate documents effectively. Try considering what you want to say first. Then turn on the microphone and say it. Turn off your mic again, then consider your next sentence or paragraph, before turning your mic on again to dictate.

Related content

  • pink marbled paper
    Pink marbled paper. Credit Carmen Fernandez

    Technology training videos

    How to access and use iView Learning and InLearning training videos. Available for staff and Students at UAL

  • Man with laptop sitting near window surrounded by empty tables and chairs
    The book club cafe from UAL Image Library ID 53543 © Alys Tomlinson

    Free apps to help you focus and concentrate

    Links and information about apps for focus and concentration which are freely available.