Microsoft, Apple, Android and Google all produce free voice recognition software which is built into devices or can be downloaded.
Speaking your thoughts about a project can be a good way of brainstorming ideas for keywords or project structuring.
Our library search system Locate also supports voice recognition. Click on the microphone in the Locate search bar to do a verbal search.
Windows has good speech recognition capability built into its operating system. This enables you to dictate to the computer and it will turn your spoken thoughts and ideas into text. A good quality headset microphone is recommended to get the best results. Type "Speech Recognition" into the Windows search box to get started.
Built into the Mac operating system, voice recognition allows you to dictate documents to your Mac using just your voice. You can also control the Mac with voice commands.
Go to system preferences > accessibility > dictation. You may need to open dictation preferences and set them initially.
A full guide to voice recognition with the Catalina operating system is available.
For older Mac operating systems dictation controls can be found in System Preferences under the Dictation and Speech control panel. In macOS Sierra, dictation can be found in System Preferences - Keyboard - Dictation.
Find out more
Speech recognition can be activated when typing on your Android device.
If this facility is available in the app you are using, a microphone icon will appear on the keypad. Pressing this activates the speech recognition.
You should be able to access any other voice recognition or voice control software on your device by going to Settings and then Accessibility
Voice recognition can be activated when typing on your iPhone or iPad.
If this facility is available in the app you are using, a microphone icon will appear on the on screen keyboard.
Tapping this icon activates the voice recognition. Usually requires an internet connection to work.
Apple devices using an A9 or newer processor and iOS 10 have offline dictation capability in some languages.
To check if your iPhone or iPad has this capability go to Settings - General - Keyboards - Enable Dictation.
You can speak to write and edit documents on Google Docs. It supports a large number of different languages. This facility is currently only available on your computer when using the Chrome browser, (although the Google Docs app for Android and iOS does have this facility too).
It also requires an internet connection and Google account.
Please note: your speech is sent to Google's servers in order to turn it into text. You can use the built-in microphone on your computer if you have one. A good headset microphone works best though, as it helps cut out any background noise.