ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Free Speech Recognition for Windows

Updated on June 14, 2010

A lot of people probably don't know that Windows 7 actually has completely free speech recognition built in. These same people wonder how to talk to their computers and get it to transcribe their voices into text. Instead of paying for software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, which can typically cost over $190, try using a free program instead. The software that does the transcribing is built into Windows, although many people do not know about it. While speech to text translations are still a work in progress, I have found that the tool built by Microsoft actually does a wonderful job of understand what I'm saying. In fact, I am typing this article using it. Speech recognition does a wonderful job of saving your fingers from continually typing. In addition, I can finish my documents much faster. Speech recognition is done instantly as you speak; there's no waiting for the computer to process your speech.

In this article, I will show you how to use Microsoft's free speech recognition software. Once you finish installing the software, you will need to run through a few practice demonstrations and training sessions that will allow the computer to become accustomed to your voice. Once you finish, the computer will do a fairly accurate job of transcribing your speech. You have to understand, however, that the computer is not perfect and will probably take some getting used to before you can use it easily. Another thing that the speech recognition software does is allow you to easily switch between Windows system commands. For example, you can say "Start," and the computer will open the start menu. You can also use it to switch between windows and other open documents.  So here is how to use speech recognition completely free on your computer.

Before You Start

In order to use speech recognition, you're going to need a very good microphone. This is because speech recognition relies on excellent quality audio and extremely natural speech. Some of the best microphones can be purchased online and are actually headsets that contain a boom microphone. These microphones allow the voice to be recorded without interference and directly from your mouth. However, there are some good desktop microphones that you can find in an electronics store or online also. You will need to set up and properly install the microphone before you can begin using speech recognition. Once you have a good microphone set up, you can begin following the rest of this guide.

Installing the Software

 First, open the control panel and go to "Ease of Access." You will need administrative rights on your computer to do this, so make sure you have the password with you. 

Then, click on Speech Recognition, and then "Take Tutorial." The computer will walk you through  a bunch of things to say, and phrases to repeat. It's trying to learn from your voice. Once you finish the tutorial, speech will be running. You may want to come back to this window and go through another round of training to further help the computer understand you.

Using the Software

Using the speech recognition software is actually fairly easy. One of the biggest problems for users is learning to speak clearly and not conversationally as they would to another person. Once you learn how to articulate, speak clearly, and make corrections to the software as outlined in the user guide, the speech recognition software will work wonderfully for you. Everything you need to know about using the speech software is outlined during the tutorial phase, so make sure you don't skip over anything. The tutorial will walk you through the process of dictating as well as using system commands. I will warn you that the speech software does not work with all programs on your computer. While it works wonderfully in Internet Explorer, it is not built to run in other browsers. Therefore, you will still need to use a combination of keyboard typing as well as speech recognition. I have found that the best thing to do is open Wordpad in Windows and then speak there. Once you're finished, you can then copy the text into whatever other program you are using.

The software resides in a small window that is open at the bottom of the screen.
The software resides in a small window that is open at the bottom of the screen.

A Few Last Things

A few last things to remember when using speech recognition: always speak clearly, keep the microphone close, but not too close, and speak as if you were a newscaster on TV instead of using slang and conversational dialogue as you would with friends. Also, it is easy to get frustrated with the software, but remember that speech recognition is in its earliest phase. As always, if you have any questions leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it.

Tags: Speech recognition software, speech recognition, speech recognition on windows, speech recognition online, free speech software, free text to speech software, speech recognition software for computers, free software for speech recognition, free speech recognition built into windows, built in software for speech recognition, speech recognition one windows seven, windows seven speech programs, programs for speech recognition, free alternatives to dragon naturally speaking, free programs like dragon naturally speaking, free programs for speaking, how to use speech software, speech recognition for dummies, free speech software and programs, free programs to speak to the computer, how to speak to my computer, using free programs for speech recognition, how to control computer with voice, controlling computer was speech recognition, software for controlling computer with voice


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      What can I do about needing medical jargon and drug names?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      it is stupid i am native to the English language and speak it fluently but it can't catch what i am saying it is stupid, so whoever thinks it them that can't speak English right it is not you it is the windows speech recognition software the apple iPad has a great speech recognition if i had to rate the windows speech recognition out of a scale of a hundred i would rate it a two but the apple speech recognition i would rate a ninety if windows would update the speech recognition i would be happy.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I hate speech recognition i say "A habit can be formed by continuing to do something over and over again" and it wrights "Events can only be formed by continuing to decide the otras number 10"

      it is stupid it can't even recognize one sentence it is stupid id rather type

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      XNotion, great source of info! Thank-you. I've yet to try it (need to get a mic) but I think you've just saved me $190 (£100+).

      Can you recommend a good headset mic for this software?



    • taheruddin profile image


      6 years ago from Khulna Bangladesh

      vote up, awesome, thanks.

      But I have tried to use it several times but I could not achieve the utility as my expectation. I setup my operating system yearly once. Each time it is not possible to train it. Moreover, after an hour of training it is not capable of understanding my voice. I know it my fault as non-native speaker that, I do not have the right accent. So, I am finding if there any way to backup the training, though I can use this backup further and further and I can train it for longer period. Not at a time, when I some free time I can train it and keep a backup. If anybody have any solution please let me know. Voice recognition is an awesome technology.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      yes, from what i understand they started including this in xp.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      does this work on windows xp?

    • xnotion profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hi Kyriana,

      I am super glad that you enjoyed this hub! Thank you for sharing and letting me know how it worked out. Good luck with it!

    • Kyriana profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest US

      Xnotion, I'm leaving another comment because I'm using the voice recognition program that is part of windows. I want to thank you again; I doubt I would have ever seen it if it wasn't for your hub. It's 4:30 AM and I'm still playing with my new toy.

    • Kyriana profile image


      8 years ago from Midwest US

      Xnotion, this is awesome! I have to admit that I don't do a lot of exploring on my own computer...too afraid of adjusting something I don't understand. I was going to look for one of those programs because I can't type very fast. I had no idea that it was built into my computer. Thanks for this hub! I can't wait to try speech recognition.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)