Talk it out in Google docs

New Google docs upgrade lets you talk to type.

By Lisa Calhoun

Google’s new voice-recognition software, embedded in its popular Google Docs program, makes creating and formatting documents by voice alone a reality.

It’s particularly well suited for creating agendas.

Imagine next time you have to do a meeting agenda, you don’t have to put your fingers on the keyboard. Instead, you can dictate it in Google Docs—including the formats you need, like headers and bullet lists.

Sure, the feature isn’t a time-saver for every type of composition. If your content is intended for a spoken presentation anyway, it could be even  stronger if you dictate the document instead of type it.

But it does have many benefits across applications. For example, try using the new voice recognition feature for

1)  composing speeches

2)  creating talking points

3)  dictating scripts

4)  writing video and presentation notes

5)  creating quick, explanatory emails in lieu of face to face conversations

The natural language of speaking can even help you capture a frank tone that may be harder if you compose traditionally at the keyboard.

Here’s how you use Google’s new voice recognition tool.

Open your Chrome browser and go to Google Docs. Go to “voice typing” in the “tools” menu. Start dictating. Use typesetting lines like “new line” or “start bullet list” on the way, to parenthetically let the program know how you want the document organized.

Don’t get too caught up in the formatting. While you can use voice to format, for most people, this is a learned skill. So be patient with yourself. If you already use HTML or another text mark-up language, in principle use Google voice to formal via the same approach.

To get a sense of the power of these new features, go to Google’s Help Center or just call out “Voice Commands Help“ when you are in Docs.

This article originally appeared at

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