As a reporter who interviews people frequently, I’ve grown to love using automatic transcription services. They’re not perfect, but they make it far easier to find specific quotes and organize my thoughts, all while focusing on the people I’m actually talking to. And now that transcription is built into Word, I have less of a reason to subscribe to Otter or other alternatives.
You’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription to use the feature, naturally, and you’re also limited to five hours of transcription per month and 200MB files for uploads. For now, Microsoft is allowing unlimited recording time for transcriptions made within Word. The feature is only available on Word for the web right now, though Microsoft says it’s coming to the Word Android and iOS apps by the end of the year. It’s something I’d definitely love to see integrated into desktop Word apps eventually.
Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about Word’s dictate feature either, which is better suited to jotting down text directly from your voice. You can now use voice commands while dictating to adjust formatting, add emojis, or even pause dictation to answer a phone call. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but the upgrade makes Word’s solution more like dedicated software like Dragon Naturally Speaking. The enhanced dictation is available free to Word users on the web and mobile, and Microsoft says it’ll be available on the Word Mac and PC apps for Microsoft 365 users by the end of the year.