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Let Your Voice Be Heard with These Speech Recognition Apps

Listen up: These are the best choices for text dictation and navigating Windows.

Apps in this Guide

If you've never been much of a typist, or you have an issue that prevents conventional use of a keyboard and mouse, you can still use voice recognition software to get around Windows and MacOS andmore

If you've never been much of a typist, or you have an issue that prevents conventional use of a keyboard and mouse, you can still use voice recognition software to get around Windows and MacOS and to dictate text. In fact, dictation will be faster than typing for most users. Here's the best voice recognition software out there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are the Dragon Naturally Speaking products so expensive?
They are reputed to be the best at speech recognition, and their products have tools that adapt to your workflow so that you can produce documents and spreadsheets more quickly. However, Google Docs voice dictation may be good enough for your needs. You can try out Google's implementation for free at any time. Dragon doesn't have a free trial, but you get a 30-day money back guarantee.
If my computer didn't come with a microphone, where's the best place to get one?
Amazon is probably your best bet, given its wide selection and fast shipping. If you can't wait, your local big-box department store should have a few in the electronics section, and Best Buy carries them.

Recommended Speech Recognition Apps for Windows

Best computer control: Windows Speech Recognition

Best computer control: Windows Speech Recognition

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That's right, Windows 7 and 10 have high-quality voice-activated controls baked in. (MacOS has very good speech recognition, too, but it's limited to text dictation.) In Windows 10, you'll give voice commands to Cortana to open menus, files, and programs, and make general inquiries like you would with Siri or Google Assistant. In Windows 7, you'll use the Speech Recognition tool instead.

Best commercial-grade voice dictation: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home

Best commercial-grade voice dictation: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home

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Dragon Home is centered around dictating text and light web browsing, but it's the gold standard for speech recognition. Dragon can analyze your outgoing Gmail and Yahoo mail to improve word detection, and there is a comprehensive tutorial to get you started on the program as a whole. Plus, unlike Google Docs dictation, it doesn't require an Internet connection. Prices start at $100.

We've already sung the praises of Docs, and its dictation tool is quite accurate. Dictating works in dozens of languages; punctuation can be performed in German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Russian; text navigation is limited to English. Docs' dictation feature is also limited to Google Chrome users, but Google's web browser is pretty great and also free.