Q. Does Windows 10 come with its own dictation function, as the Mac does?
A. Windows 10 does have an integrated speech-recognition feature that you can use for things like dictating text into a word-processing program or giving vocal commands to navigate the system. (Windows 7 also includes speech recognition functions in the Ease of Access settings.)
To set up a Windows 10 computer to take dictation, go to the search bar next to the Start menu, enter “speech recognition” and choose the Windows Speech Recognition control panel from the search results. A link in the control panel takes you through a tutorial on using voice commands and dictation.
When you use the onscreen tutorials, the software begins to learn your voice. If you plan to do a lot of dictation, consider using a headset microphone so your voice comes in loud and clear. Another option in the Speech Recognition control panel guides you through setting up an external microphone.
The experimental Microsoft Garage group recently released Dictate, an add-on for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook that uses the same speech-recognition technology as the Windows Cortana assistant so you can “type with your voice.” Google Docs has a similar voice-typing feature for those who prefer to dictate their thoughts, rather than pound them out through a keyboard.
The Dictation feature within Apple’s Mac operating system converts speech into text and can also be used to orally command the computer. To enable it, click on the System Preferences icon in the Mac’s desktop dock, select Keyboard and then click the Dictation tab. Older versions of the Mac operating system keep these settings on the Dictation & Speech preferences.