Best Free Dictation Software For Windows 10

Are you looking for the best free speech-to-text software for Windows? Do you need dictation software for your PC? Do you want to convert voice to text on your Windows 10/8/7? If so, you are in the right place. There are many dictation software available on the internet. But most of them are paid.

Although most of the best speech-to-text software for Windows 10 is paid, if you are looking for information on the best dictation software for Windows 10, here we’ve listed the best free and paid speech-to-text software for Windows 10. A good speech-to-text program isn’t free.

Is it better than free programs like Google Docs Voice Typing (GDVT) and Windows Speech Recognition (WSR)? In the past few years, speech-to-text technology has advanced to the point where there are multiple ways to have your computer speak for you. With this feature, you can record audio notes more easily if you suffer from a condition that inhibits physical activities. 

In this article, I would like to share some options available for speech-to-text software. So I am going to share with you the best free and paid speech-to-text software for windows 10. This article is all about the best free and paid dictation software for Windows 10/8/7.

Let’s start.

Is there a Good Free Best Dictation Software for Windows?

Before we dive into the best free dictation software for windows 10, one question we get asked a lot is is there a good speech recognition program for windows or windows 10 by default! The answer to that question would be Microsoft dictate.

Microsoft Dictate – Best Free Dictation Software

Microsoft’s Dictate proves you can get even better text-to-speech software for free that is equally as good as premium software. The feature-rich application was developed by Microsoft Garage (where employees get to work on projects based on their ideas), which used the same advanced speech recognition technology as Microsoft Cortana.

It is a Microsoft Office add-on that works well with Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. If you don’t already have it with Microsoft 365, you can install it from the Microsoft store. After it is installed, you can access it through the “Dictation” tab that appears in the Ribbon toolbar. The app supports most standard functions such as typing or editing text, moving the cursor to a new line, and adding punctuations either manually or automatically using voice commands.

List of Free Dictation Software for Windows 10

While Microsoft dictate is a good free dictation software for windows, you can check out this list of other free dictation software for windows.

Windows 10 Speech Recognition

OS: Windows 10

Price: free

Best for: Controlling your Windows computer with voice commands and dictating documents

Windows 10 Speech Recognition makes it easy to use voice-to-text in Windows 10 and works anywhere as long as there is a text input field. In addition to converting spoken words to written words, the software can also control various functions. For example, you can use a voice command to control the cursor within a document and select a particular word or phrase.

Microsoft makes it easy to get started with your audio recording and text documentation, as they have a useful tutorial page on their website, making this program suitable for beginners. Being built into the Windows 10 software, this is a great option when you can’t or don’t want to type.

Features

  • Works in any text input field
  • Honors voice commands
  • Comes preinstalled on Windows 10 computers or tablets

Pros

  • Able to transcribe speech-to-text in several languages
  • Suitable for beginners

Cons

  • Limited functionality
  • Requires “training” the software to improve accuracy

Otter.ai

Otter offers a real-time transcription service that uses AI to create accurate transcriptions of meetings or interviews quickly. It can recognize different voices, which is useful when recording a session.

The company aims to be an enterprise-ready solution, and while it’s a decent option, the limitations make it better suited to non-critical tasks. The company offers both free and paid plans, with the free version being limited to 600 minutes of transcription time per month.

  • OS: Android, iOS, Chrome, Safari, Firefox
  • Price: free
  • Best for: Transcribing multiple voices
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Features

  • Is powered by a constantly learning AI
  • Integrates with Zoom to transcribe video meetings

Pros

  • Recognizes multiple speakers
  • High accuracy levels
  • Real-time transcriptions

Cons

  • Takes some time for the final text from audio recording to be completed
  • Time limitations for monthly usage (maximum 600 minutes of audio recording)

Get Otter.ai

Voice Finger

Voice Finger allows you to control your computer without touching the keyboard or mouse at all. This makes it a great solution for people with injuries or disabilities. This hands-free approach also makes it ideal for gamers who want to control their computer for a task but need their hands to control the game.

The voice-activated mouse controls include controlling left, middle, and right mouse buttons. Although it excels at managing the computer through voice commands, this isn’t a transcription service, so you’ll need to find additional software to avoid typing documents like essays, school assignments, meeting minutes, and more.

  • OS: Windows 10
  • Price: free
  • Best for Hands-free computer use

Features

  • Complete hands-off mouse control
  • One-step commands

Pros

  • Useful for computer control for people with repetitive strain injury sufferers or physical disabilities
  • Allows shorter and quicker commands than the built-in Windows Speech Recognition controls

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Not intended for document transcription services

Get Voice Finger

Dragon Home

Dragon Home is, like the name suggests, meant for home users. The company also offers more advanced versions for lawyers, law enforcement, medical professionals, and the financial industry. Users of the home version benefit from the accuracy and reliability of professional-grade software without the higher cost.

  • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10
  • Price: $200
  • Best for: People who need a full-featured and accurate speech-to-text app for PC

Features

  • Custom phrases programming for often-used commands
  • Playback feature to review dictated text

Pros

  • Advanced versions for various professions
  • “Speed of Thought” transcription with high accuracy

Cons

  • Resource intensive – not a great option for underpowered computers
  • Requires practice to adjust to the command functioning and how to operate them
  • Limited to Windows PCs and tablets

Get Dragon Home

Speechnotes

Speechnotes is a browser-based app that works somewhat like a notepad. You just click the microphone icon, start talking, and your words appear as text in the browser window. It’s fairly accurate when you speak clearly at a moderate pace. Fast talkers will find it more error-prone, so speaking at a slower pace is best for this program to catch everything being said. This is a free, web-based tool ready to help you jot down your thoughts.

  • OS: Google Chrome browser
  • Price: free / $9
  • Best for: Quickly jotting down voice memos

Features

  • Browser-based, requiring no installation
  • Very user-friendly

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Works well enough for home or casual usage

Cons

  • Functioning tends to be delayed and less helpful for fast-talkers
  • Requires an internet connection for use

Go to Speechnotes

Google Docs Voice Typing

Google Docs Voice Typing is a function within Google Docs, as opposed to being a standalone app. As such, it requires a Chrome browser on your Windows PC to be uploaded. The Google Docs Voice Typing works well and has the ability to decipher speech correctly when background noise is loud enough to require slightly raised voices. For slow typers who need to write an essay or web post, this service has the potential to be a real-time-saver.

  • OS: Google Chrome browser
  • Price: free
  • Best for: Creating text documents, like essays or blog posts, using your voice

Features

  • Works well with distinguishing voices from background noise
  • Allows users to create long text documents without using the keyboard

Pros

  • Accurate and fast typing-to-audio speed

Cons

  • Only available in Chrome Browsers
  • Requires editing to add punctuation and formatting

Go to Google Docs Voice Typing

SpeechTexter

SpeechTexter is targeted at people who need to create documents but aren’t able to type or want to write texts without the delays or physical strains of excessive typing. This makes it ideal for people with hand trauma or those with dyslexia and other impairments that make typing difficult. Accuracy levels are claimed to be between 90 and 95% for American English users. The software also supports more than 60 other languages for recording and typing along to. Note that this is a browser-based program.

  • OS: Google Chrome browser
  • Price: free
  • Best for: Hands-free typing of various documents
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Features

  • Supports 60 languages
  • Very high accuracy for American English

Pros

  • Simple interface for easy operation
  • Quick and fairly accurate speech-to-text functioning

Cons

  • Only works in Chrome browsers
  • Punctuation will need editing

Go to SpeechTexter

IBM Watson Speech to Text

IBM Watson might be best known as the AI software that once went head-to-head with Jeopardy champions in a battle of trivia. What you may not know is that this software is also very strong for helping people conduct menial tasks, like transcribing your audio and shaping it into text. Using AI and digital learning, this technology applies what it knows about the way people talk to create accurate text transcriptions. If you have hours of speech that need to be formed into text, the IBM Watson may be what you’re looking for. Note, however, that the price reflects the advanced software of this advanced speech-to-text program.

OS: requires API

Price: free / $0.01 per minute

Best for: High volume, single voice transcriptions

Features

  • Cloud-based software
  • Deployable from anywhere
  • Understands colloquial speech and more

Pros

  • Fast and very accurate transcription
  • Can be embedded into other applications through an API

Cons

  • Pricey when compared to other options
  • Struggles to distinguish voices or understand controls from multiple voices

Get IBM Watson Speech to Text

Braina

Braina Pro is, like many voice recognition software solutions, powered by AI technology. This means that the software will only get better over time. Upon the first time using this program, you may notice the learning in action element involved in its functioning. However, what may seem to be inaccurate text when first dictating to the Braina Pro is afterwards automatically corrected as the software adjusts to the voice it’s transcribing. The digital brain behind Braina is smart enough to understand accents as well as multiple languages.

  • OS: Windows XP to 10, the app works on Android and iOS
  • Price: free / $79 per year
  • Best for: People who need multi-language support with a guarantee of accuracy

Features

  • Multi-purpose tool for computer control
  • Very accurate voice recognition

Pros

  • Flexible and very accurate
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Primarily task-oriented rather than a “chat-bot” used for finding quick answers or simple computer controls
  • Limited to Windows PCs and tablets

Get Braina

Transcribe

Transcribe by Wreally is a web-based service, which means you don’t need to download or install any software onto your computer. However, it also means you need an internet connection to use it. While the interface and design layout are quite simplistic, Transcribe earns kudos from people who can rely on it even when they have a poor internet connection. The software offers the ability to transcribe existing recordings and live dictation. This means you can upload a recording you made in the past, which helps for attending meetings, lectures, interviews, or important speeches where you can’t also bring your computer.

  • OS: Google Chrome on Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Price: free trial / $20 per year
  • Best for: Professional users, such as journalists, lawyers, or podcasters

Features

  • Accessible for all computers
  • Able to transcribe recordings

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Highly accurate software
  • Good multi-language support

Cons

  • Requires annual subscription or advanced subscriptions, which include annual plus hourly costs
  • Requires an internet connection to use

Get Transcribe

Tips for using voice recognition software

Though dictation software is pretty good at recognizing different voices, it’s not perfect. Here are some tips to make it work as best as possible.

  1. Speak naturally (with caveats). Dictation apps learn your voice and speech patterns over time. And if you’re going to spend any time with them, you want to be comfortable. Speak naturally. If you’re not getting 90% accuracy initially, try enunciating more.  
  2. Punctuate. When you dictate, you have to say each period, comma, question mark, and so forth. The software isn’t smart enough to figure it out on its own.
  3. Learn a few commands. Take the time to learn a few simple commands, such as “new line” to enter a line break. There are different commands for composing, editing, and operating your device. Commands may differ from app to app, so learn the ones that apply to the tool you choose.
  4. Know your limits. Especially on mobile devices, some tools have a time limit for how long they can listen—sometimes for as little as 10 seconds. Glance at the screen from time to time to make sure you haven’t blown past the mark. 
  5. Practice. It takes time to adjust to voice recognition software, but it gets easier the more you practice. Some of the more sophisticated apps invite you to train by reading passages or doing other short drills. Don’t shy away from tutorials, help menus, and on-screen cheat sheets.
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How to use Dictation Typing in Windows 10

Use dictation to convert spoken words into text anywhere on your PC with Windows 10. Dictation uses speech recognition, which is built into Windows 10, so there’s nothing you need to download and install to use it.

To start dictating, select a text field and press the Windows logo key  + H to open the dictation toolbar. Then say whatever’s on your mind.  To stop dictating at any time while you’re dictating, say “Stop dictation.”

Dictation toolbar in Windows

If you’re using a tablet or a touchscreen, tap the microphone  button on the touch keyboard to start dictating. Tap it again to stop dictation, or say “Stop dictation.”

To find out more about speech recognition, read Use voice recognition in Windows . To learn how to set up your microphone, read How to set up and test microphones in Windows.

To use dictation, your PC needs to be connected to the internet.

Dictation commands

Use dictation commands to tell you PC what to do, like “delete that” or “select the previous word.”

The following table tells you what you can say. If a word or phrase is in bold , it’s an example. Replace it with similar words to get the result you want.

To do thisSay
Clear a selectionClear selection; unselect that
Delete the most recent dictation result or currently selected textDelete that; strike that
Delete a unit of text, such as the current wordDelete word
Move the cursor to the first character after a specified word or phraseGo after that; move after word ; go to the end of paragraph ; move to the end of that
Move the cursor to the end of a unit of textGo after word ; move after word ; go to the end of that; move to the end of paragraph
Move the cursor backward by a unit of textMove back to the previous word ; go up to the previous paragraph
Move the cursor to the first character before a specified word or phraseGo to the start of the word
Move the cursor to the start of a text unitGo before that; move to the start of that
Move the cursor forward to the next unit of textMove forward to the next word ; go down to the next paragraph
Moves the cursor to the end of a text unitMove to the end of the word ; go to the end of the paragraph
Enter one of the following keys: Tab, Enter, End, Home, Page up, Page down, Backspace, DeleteTap Enter ; press Backspace
Select a specific word or phraseSelect word
Select the most recent dictation resultSelect that
Select a unit of textSelect the next three words ; select the previous two paragraphs
Turn spelling mode on and offStart spelling; stop spelling

Dictating letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols

You can dictate most numbers and punctuation by saying the number or punctuation character. To dictate letters and symbols, say “start spelling.” Then say the symbol or letter, or use the ICAO phonetic alphabet.

To dictate an uppercase letter, say “uppercase” before the letter. For example, “uppercase A” or “uppercase alpha.” When you’re done, say “stop spelling.”

Here are the punctuation characters and symbols you can dictate.

To insert thisSay
@at symbol; at sign
#Pound symbol; pound sign; number symbol; number sign; hash symbol; hash sign; hashtag symbol; hashtag sign; sharp symbol; sharp sign
$Dollar symbol; dollar sign; dollars symbol; dollars sign
%Percent symbol; percent sign
^Caret
&And symbol; and sign; ampersand symbol; ampersand sign
*Asterisk; times; star
(Open paren; left paren; open parenthesis; left paren
)Close paren; right paren; close parenthesis; right parenthesis
_Underscore
Hyphen; dash; minus sign
~Tilde
\Backslash; whack
/Forward slash; divided by
,Comma
.Period; dot; decimal; point
;Semicolon
Apostrophe; open single quote; begin single quote; close single quote; close single quote; end single quote
=Equal symbol; equal sign; equals symbol; equal sign
(space)Space
|Pipe
:Colon
?Question mark; question symbol
[Open bracket; open square bracket; left bracket; left square bracket
]Close bracket; close square bracket; right bracket; right square bracket
{Open curly brace; open curly bracket; left curly brace; left curly bracket
}Close curly brace; close curly bracket; right curly brace; right curly bracket
+Plus symbol; plus sign
<Open angle bracket; open less than; left angle bracket; left less than
>Close angle bracket; close greater than; right angle bracket; right greater than
Open quotes; begin quotes; close quotes; end quotes; open double quotes; begin double quotes; close double quotes; end double quotes

Supported languages

Dictation commands are available in US English only.

You can dictate basic text, symbols, letters, and numbers in these languages:

  • Simplified Chinese
  • English (Australia, Canada, India, United Kingdom)
  • French (France, Canada)
  • German (Germany)
  • Italian (Italy)
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Spanish (Mexico, Spain)

To dictate in other languages, Use voice recognition in Windows.

Is voice dictation for you?

While not perfect, the accuracy of most dictation software is excellent. That and the already free versions packaged with so many devices and apps make using the technology—at least for quicker tasks like note-taking—an easy decision.  

If you spend a lot of time writing for work or even fun, it makes sense to try dictation just to get the feel of speaking the words that normally come through your fingers. This may be the hardest part for many users—old habits die hard. Once (and if) you get used to dictating your thoughts, you may find it hard to go back to typing. 

Conclusion

To make smart use of time and effort, it is necessary to have the best dictation software on your Windows 10 device. In fact, many professionals look for this software that can help them to finish their tasks faster. Thus, one should have a clear knowledge about the features and functions of speech-to-text software for windows 10 here.

There are a number of factors that you ought to consider when choosing dictation software for windows 10. Dictation is an excellent way to save your time, especially if the document you need to write is long. I hope this article has helped you in choosing the best free dictation software for windows 10. Please choose the best one for your own use.

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