Speech-to-Text is a really useful accessibility tool if typing is difficult for you. Or you can also use it if you like to think out loud and transcribe what you say.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use speech-to-text in Google Docs. Do note, though, that this feature is available only if you're using Google's Chrome browser.

How to Activate the Speech-to-Text Tool

You can activate speech-to-text from the Tools menu – it is the fourth menu item from the bottom. Or you can use the Ctrl+Shift+S (on Windows) or Command+Shift+S (on Mac) shortcut to activate it.

The Tool menu. The Voice typing menu item is the tenth item from the top, or the fourth from the bottom.

This will open a little tab with a microphone and a dropdown menu.

The voice typing tab. 

You can drag it around with the three horizontal dots at the top. Next to those dots you can click the X to close it. Just below you'll see the dropdown menu where you can change languages (and it shows what language is currently set). Then below that there's the big square button with a grey microphone in the middle.

If you want to change the language setting for the Voice Typing tool, you need to use the drop down menu. It will let you choose between many languages. Just select the language you prefer, and you are ready to start using it.

The drop down menu expanded. It has a lot of languages you can choose from.

How to Use Voice Typing in Google Docs

You can start voice typing by clicking on the microphone button. When it's activated, it will become red.

If you get an alert from Google Docs asking for permission to use your microphone, go ahead and grant permission or you will not be able to use voice typing.

The microphone icon when activated: all the other options disappear, and the microphone icon turns red and is now surrounded by a red circle.

Now, start speaking, and Google Docs will transcribe what you say. You need to speak clearly and not too quickly for better results.

While Google is interpreting what you have said there will be a pattern of little squares shown where the words will appear after it has finished elaborating.

While Google is elaborating, a pattern of squares similar to this will be shown. When elaboration is finished, it will be replaced with the words.

Voice Commands

Writing a document often includes editing and formatting. Voice commands allow you to do all the editing and formatting using only your voice.

Voice commands are available only for the English language. When you say certain words and phrases, like "move to the end of the line" or "select paragraph", those actions will be executed.

You can find the whole list of available commands by saying "voice commands list", or in the Google Docs guide article with the complete list of available voice commands.

Voice Typing and Voice Commands in action


Voice typing, or speech-to-text, is a useful accessibility tool. I hope this article has taught you how to use it, and you will be able to write with less typing!