Google Docs: How to create and edit documents with your voice

If you’re working on a transcription or typing up written notes, you’ll save a lot of time and be able to do other things with your hands in the meantime

Aatif Sulleyman
Tuesday 06 June 2017 18:29
Just make sure your microphone works
Just make sure your microphone works

Google is making it easier and easier to create and edit documents in Drive, letting you save time and get things done a lot more efficiently.

The company’s latest big update lets you dump responsibility for mundane tasks. like creating charts and graphs, on its powerful machine learning technology.

However, the best Google Docs feature you might not know about has been available for some time.

Voice Typing is incredibly useful, and lets you transcribe, edit and format documents with simple spoken commands, as long as your computer has a working microphone and you’re using Docs in Chrome.

Switch Voice Typing on

To enable it, hit Tools at the top of the page and select Voice typing from the dropdown menu.

This will launch a small window you can move around the screen. Once you’ve chosen the right language for you, just click on the microphone icon.

If your computer’s microphone isn’t on, it will offer guidance on how to enable it.

Speak to type

Once you’ve done that, just speak to your computer and your words will appear on-screen. It will work best if you’re in a quiet environment and you speak clearly, at a normal volume and steady pace.

It might not work perfectly every time, but if you spot a mistake you can easily correct it with your mouse and keyboard, without having to switch Voice Typing off.

If you’re working on a transcription or typing up written notes, you’ll save a lot of time and be able to do other things with your hands in the meantime.


You’ll be relieved to know that it’s easy to insert punctuation with Voice Typing. Just use the following phrases:

  • Full stop
  • Comma
  • Exclamation point
  • Question mark
  • New line
  • New paragraph

Editing and formatting

Google even lets you edit and format text with your speech, though the option is currently only available to English speakers. There’s a huge list of commands, but the following are what we consider to be the most useful to casual Docs users.

  • Copy
  • Cut
  • Paste
  • Select [word or phrase]
  • Select all
  • Deselect
  • Delete last word
  • Delete [word or phrase]
  • Copy link
  • Insert link [then say the URL you want to use]
  • Bold
  • Italicise
  • Italics
  • All caps [word or phrase]
  • Capitalise [word or phrase]
  • Text colour [colour name]
  • Decrease font size
  • Increase font size
  • Clear formatting

The complete list of commands is available here.

Stop Voice Typing

Once you’re done – or somebody starts a conversation with you – either click the microphone icon again or say “Stop listening”. To resume, say “Resume”.

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