Your how-to guide to (mainly) Google Docs voice typing.
While voice typing is available in plenty of apps and computer software these days, the best (free) one is still Google Doc’s voice recognition tool. It is easy to start and use and supports all the main but also less used languages.
You can use it only in Google Chrome browser on the desktop but the good news is, it’s not only available for PCs because you can download apps for your mobile phone as well.
I wrote this post with Google Docs voice typing on my Android One phone and it was (mostly) a breeze. Read on to see how it went.
Table Of Contents
Why Use Voice Typing?
The average person types between 38 and 40 words per minute and this translates into between 190 and 200 characters per minute. However, professional typists type a lot faster, on average between 65 and 75 words per minute. Average Joe can likely speak at 100 to 130 words per minute.
So, writing is clearly not as effective as speaking is. However, you have to put into account the amount of time it takes to edit the voice typing piece of content. While the Google docs voice typing software is surprisingly very good especially if you compare it to what it was a couple of years ago, you will still have to go through that content and edit it.
I wrote this article while voice typing on an Android phone. I came to the conclusion that voice typing on a phone is more accurate and the subsequent editing is much faster than using the desktop computer. It might be because the microphone was closer to my pie hole than it was when I was using the desktop so you might want to use a proprietary microphone if using desktop.
Which Languages Are Available?
Before we get into how to start typing on Google docs I’ll just tell you that your language, whatever it might be, is probably supported by Google Docs voice typing tool which is great news. Gone are the days when nothing was localised and only the English speakers could do voice typing.
What Do I Need For Voice Typing?
Google docs voice typing is only available for Chrome browser which means you have to have a Chrome browser on your computer or a Google Docs app on your phone, available on both Android and iOS. So the entry-level is super low.
It’s only the Chrome browser that you probably already have and/or an app. You can go back and forth between Chrome browser on the computer and your app because it’s all in the cloud and you can actually see it being typed out live on the desktop while you’re voice typing on the app and vice versa which is a cool feature.
On the desktop, you can enable the word counting tool to display the live amount of words in the text a tool that is missing in the mobile app. Basically, you’re using your phone as a microphone and if you are a great multitasker you can even edit the documents while you are voice typing on your phone.
How To Start Voice Typing In Google Docs
You just open the Google Docs website and if you don’t have an account already you have to make one first. After that, you open a new document and go under tools or press ctrl + shift + s to open the voice typing tool. The microphone will appear and you can choose your language then and there. By simply pressing the microphone it will start listening.
Google Docs Voice Typing On Phones
To use voice typing on the phone, you will first have to download the Google Docs app from your Google Play Store or the App Store.
You will have to have a Google account as well. Open the app, choose a new document or an existing template and press the microphone icon on your phone’s keyboard and the phone will start listening and you are good to go. Just start talking.
Google Docs Voice Typing Commands
Another cool feature of Google Docs voice typing tool are the commands that you can use to edit and format your documents. For example, to add a comma, question mark, select and delete text, switch to italics or go to the end of the line. Unfortunately, the voice commands are available only in English and also the account language and the document language must both be in English.
There is an endless list of Google Docs voice typing commands that you can use but I find it easier to just go back to the article later and edit the whole thing. The easiest thing to do is to speak freely. You will have a raw text that you can edit later.
Sometimes a whole sentence or big parts of the sentences won’t make any sense and you’ll be scratching your head as to what you meant or what Google meant by that. That is the only downside of editing after you are done voice typing.
How Accurate Is Voice Typing?
I have tried voice typing in Microsoft Word and Google Docs and I found that Google is still way ahead of Microsoft in this arena. Microsoft made more mistakes and whole sentences that didn’t make any sense at all. It might be that Windows speech recognition has a bigger learning curve than Docs though. It might need some time to pick up and learn how you speak.
So how accurate is Google docs voice typing and speech recognition?
You will be amazed by how accurate it is actually. Especially for completely free software. If you already have a text in your head you can type that text up a lot faster than you would be able to type it up physically because even the best typists have to go back and edit the text as do you with voice-to-text.
Does Voice Typing Save Time?
It does save the time especially if you are not a professional typist or you are below average. The amount of time it saves is amazing and it will only get better as machine learning continues advancing.
Other Voice Typing Apps And Software
Whether you prefer to dictate documents or you require voice recognition software due to a disability, there are several choices on your computer or phone that are available, each with varying levels of accuracy and ease of use.
Likely the most recognizable and preferred voice recognition and dictation program is Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which comes in a variety of versions with different features for various applications. The basic version, with the bare minimum features, costs $49.99. The professional and enterprise versions go up to $500.
Look no further than your Mac, iPhone, or iPad for one of the best dictations tools. Apple’s built-in Dictation feature, powered by Siri is part of Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems. On iOS devices, you use it by pressing the microphone icon on the stock keyboard. On desktop, you turn it on by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation and then use a keyboard shortcut to activate it in your app.
Windows 10 Speech Recognition on Windows-powered computers can be started using either a hotkey (Windows logo button + h) or a voice command, you can start dictating continuously in supported apps. In testing, dictation worked without a hitch in Notepad and Word, two apps made by Microsoft, but not at all in Evernote or Google Docs. Make sure the apps you want to use are supported before investing too much time in this tool. It’s free.
Is Voice Typing For Me?
In my opinion, voice typing will soon enough be the only type of typing you’ll be doing.
As machine learning is getting better and better, voice typing apps are going to improve as well. From rudimental beginnings to modern age typing in 2019, voice typing software has come a long way. The perfect example is subtitles in YouTube videos. Google used machine learning tool to improve auto-generated subtitles on YouTube by a great length. They are no longer a slew of words with no meaning but a useful tool. The same goes to voice typing. There is a slight learning curve but you don’t have to be intimidated and you can dive headfirst into voice typing with Google Docs and other apps with confidence. Why not try today?
If you really want to rely on voice typing instead of everyday keyboard typing there are paid apps on the market that offer better accuracy than Google Docs does. For most of the users, Google Docs is a great balance of a free app and accuracy.