Thursday, January 13, 2022

Google Tools for Speech to Text

Our students have so many amazing ideas in their minds, and we want to make sure they are able to get those words from their heads into writing.

However if a student struggles with typing or spelling they may take those big awesome ideas and shrink them down to smaller words and shorter sentences.

Thankfully there are technology tools to help with this. Speech to text tools allow anyone to simply speak their words and have them typed up automatically.

Three of my favorite tools for this are Docs Voice TypingVoice In Voice Typing, and the Dictation Tool in ChromeOS See below for a short 5-minute video demonstrating these tools, as well as written directions for using them.

Tutorial Video (5-minutes)

Docs Voice Typing

For speech to text, one helpful tool is Docs Voice Typing. This tool is not an extension that needs to be installed, but instead is actually built right into Google Docs and Google Slides. With voice typing you can simply speak and anything you say will automatically be typed for you.

Here's how it works:
  • When we are in a Google Doc we click the "Tools" menu and then choose "Voice Typing" from the drop down menu. 
  • This will open up a floating microphone
  • To start dictating to the document, we simply click the microphone icon.
  • Do note that you will need to give permission to use your microphone the first time you use Voice Typing.
  • Now anything you say will automatically be typed into the document.
  • In addition to words, you are also able to say punctuation. For a full list of all the commands you can speak, click the question mark icon below the microphone, and this will open up a help menu with all of the details.
  • When done, we just click the microphone again to stop the speech to text. 

You can also choose a different language to speak in the language or accent of your choice, by clicking the arrow next to your language choice.

Voice Typing also works in Google Slides
  • Just click on the "Tools" menu as normal, and choose "Voice type speaker notes".
  • When you click the microphone, anything you say will be typed into the speaker note section at the bottom of the screen.
  • Voice Typing does not type directly onto the slide, but you can always copy and paste the text from the speaker notes into the slide as needed.

Voice In Voice Typing

Another helpful tool for speech to text is the Chrome extension Voice In Voice Typing.  As with all Chrome extensions you will need to install this from the Chrome Web Store.

Now normally when it comes to speech to text, a tool like Docs Voice Typing works great if you are wanting to type inside of a Google Doc or a Google slideshow. But what if you want to do speech to text in something else, like maybe a quiz in a Google Form where Docs Voice Typing does not work. 

Now certainly you could still use Voice Typing in Docs and then just copy and paste that into the other website, but there is actually a Chrome Web Extension that can be used when not in a Google Doc. That tool is called Voice In Voice Typing.

So let's say we are filling out a Google Form and we want to speak and have our words typed for us:
  • All we need to do is click inside of the text box we need to complete
  • Then click on the Voice In Voice Typing extension, which looks like a little microphone.
  • And then start speaking.
  • Anything you say will now be typed in the form. 
  • This can be very helpful for students when taking a quiz or writing an email.
  • We then click the microphone icon again to stop the speech to text. 

And there we have it. Our speech has now been converted to text inside of the Google Form.

To adjust the settings for Voice In Voice Typing:
  • We can right click on the extensions and choose "Options".
  • Here we can change the dictation language we wish to use.
  • And also get a list of built-in voice commands for punctuation and more.

Chromebook Dictation Tool

As a bonus if you are using a Chromebook there is actually a speech to text tool built right in. Nothing needs to be installed. It just needs to be turned on.
  • First click in the bottom right corner of your Chromebook screen to open the system menu.
  • Here click on the "Accessibility" icon.
  • Note: If you do not see the "Accessibility" icon you can click on the gear to go into the advanced settings to turn it on.
  • Now from the "Accessibility" menu click on the "Dictation" option to enable speech to text.
  • This will put a little microphone icon down in the bottom right corner.
  • Anytime you need to do speech to text just click on the "Dictation" icon and start speaking.
  • Anything you say will automatically be typed into the computer wherever you are.
  • This works in websites, documents, forms, and more.

More Resources

For more resources for support, accessibility, and accommodations, be sure to check out my detailed 10-page resource document on "Google Tools to Support All Learners" which includes resources and links for text to speech, speech to text, readability, reading comprehension, audio support, focus, organization, and more.
And feel free to watch my 1-hour webinar on the same topics here:

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at 

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