How to transcribe audio in Google Docs

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Audio Video Transcription on July 18, 2022
If you are curious about how to make Google Docs write down what you speak, we're providing you all the steps you need to know.

    If you are looking for a program that can help you transcribe audio, you might want to use Google Docs. This is a program available in Google Chrome, but it will work on other browsers and devices, as well. Google offers this transcription program to help you turn speech to text. Learn more about how to transcribe audio below, and be sure to consider Speechify to move text back into speech again.

    How voice typing works

    If you want to use an audio file or an audio recording to convert speech into text through voice typing on your Chrome browser, there are a few steps you need to follow. They include:

    Step 1: Open a new document in Google Docs

    The voice typing feature will work well on just about any browser, including Microsoft Edge, but it will probably work best on Google Chrome. You will need to navigate away from the Gmail screen if that is your starting point.

    You can either go to Google Docs or Google Drive to open a new document. Starting with the top menu, select File, and then select the drop-down option to open a new document. Or, if you are in Google Drive, you can right-click anywhere on the screen and select the option to open a new document from there.

    Step 2: Click the microphone or pull it up

    The next step is to pull up the microphone icon and turn it on before you can start using voice commands. There are a few ways you can do this. First, you can click tools and then select the option for voice typing. Or, if you see the microphone icon on the screen, you can go ahead and click on it.

    The process should be the same if you are using the Chrome extension. Once the microphone is on, the icon should turn red. It will appear gray with a black microphone when it is off. It will be red with a white microphone when it is on.

    Step 3: Start speaking

    Now, with the microphone on, you can start speaking. It will start transcribing your text as you speak from wherever the cursor is located on the screen. You can move the cursor to where you want it, but the microphone will turn off when you click on the screen. The microphone will only stay on for a certain amount of time before it turns off. While you can pause for a second to think about what you want to say, the microphone will stop listening if you wait for too long.

    Step 4: Maximize the Google Docs voice typing feature

    If you want to get he most out of your Google documents dictation tool, there are a few tips you can follow. They include:

    • Speak slowly and clearly to reduce the number of mistakes.
    • Consider using an external microphone if you are having trouble getting Google to clearly hear what you are saying.
    • You can dictate your punctuation to save time, such as saying “comma,” “period,” or “question mark.”
    • You can use other commands as well, such as “new line” or “new paragraph.”

    If you open a new Google Doc, remember that you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+S to pull up the microphone. This tool should work well on iOS, as well as other platforms.

    With these tips, you can use speech recognition in Google Workspace and start voice typing. If you want to use voice typing to maximum effect, consider looking at tutorials for your specific web browser.


    Some of the most common questions people ask about having Google Docs read aloud to you include:

    Is there audio on Google Docs?

    Yes, there is audio on Google Docs, and you can use the audio to read aloud to you. You simply need to learn how to use the app and put it to work for you. At the same time, if you are looking for a better program that can read out loud to you, then you need to consider Speechify, which has a wide array of features you can use to improve your text-to-speech (TTS) functionality.

    How do you get Google Docs to read to you? 

    If you want this program to read out loud to you, there are a few steps you need to follow. First, you need to head to the tools area. Then, you need to navigate to the accessibility settings. After this, you need to tick the screen reader support option. You also need to find the collaborator announcements and turn them on. After this, press the OK button to finalize it. You now have the option to select all of your text or just the portion that you want to read out loud to you. You are in control of your TTS program.

    How do I use text-to-speech? 

    If you want to use text-to-speech, you need to find the right program, and the best text-to-speech program is Speechify. Speechify comes with both a free and premium version that can help you convert text into dozens of languages with a wide variety of voices. With Speechify, you can also highlight the portion of the text you want to read out loud. Then, you can listen to the text in whatever language you want, allowing you learn a new language or save time by multitasking.

    Is Google Docs voice typing free?

    Voice typing is the dictation tool for Google Docs. This is free. If you have the program open and you have a document open, you simply need to click on the microphone to start dictating. Or, you can slick CTRL+SHIFT+S to go ahead and turn on the microphone. The program is solid, but it is not as strong as some of the premium options. Therefore, you might want to take a look at some of the other voice typing programs as well. Dictation has come a long way, and Google Docs is not the best one overall. However, it is one of the best free options.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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