Voice typing in Google Docs

The Docs app in Google Drive allows you to “type” a document with your voice. This can come in handy when you want to create a document with instructions on how to do something, while you are doing the thing the document is about. It is often so much easier to describe the steps while you are doing them.

For example, we created a document about activating airplane mode on a Samsung Galaxy S7 while using the voice-

typing feature. Here are the steps:

1. From Google Drive, click New and select Google Docs.

2. Under the Tools dropdown menu, select Voice typing.

3. Click the voice-typing icon, which will turn red when active.

4. Start talking!

Voice typing

As the first example shows, it’s just one long run-on sentence. You can punctuate later or as you talk by saying common punctuation words like:

  • Period
  • Comma
  • Question mark
  • Exclamation point
  • New line
  • New paragraph.

To punctuate this text, I read it aloud with the voice-typing feature on and add punctuation this time. If you tend to speak informally and conversationally, you might want to edit your initial “script” before recording the punctuation.


Another useful command is delete. Depending on the speed of your computer and connection, you see the word “delete” appear first. Then it will go away, as well as the word directly to its left. I would say for more than a couple of words, it might be best to return to the keyboard if possible. You can also say “Select …” and follow it with the word(s) you’d like to act upon. This works great with the command “bold” to bold the text you just selected.

Select text

You can also voice-type speaker notes in Slides. No voice-typing functionality exists for Sheets. That said, check out your smartphone’s voice-to-text capability. It may be easier to work on those devices.

This tool works with many languages and devices. Check out this link to determine the languages you can use. This page also has useful tips on other commands that are available, like copy, paste and insert.

Before you use this tool for anything on a deadline, practice. Use a good-quality mic or ensure your on-board PC mic is strong enough. You’ll see a message at the top of the Docs screen if it can’t hear you clearly. Get accustomed to the pace of commands like delete. For example, if you say “delete, delete, delete” in quick succession, hoping to delete the last three words, it might only do one and leave the word “delete” on the screen.

Also, proofread carefully. The tool seems pretty adept at recognizing clearly spoken words at a normal conversational pace, but things happen. It will try to guess what you mean if it’s not sure. While the proofreading assistance you get from Docs isn’t bad, no tool like that is perfect.