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Microsoft Word has a new Transcribe tool – here’s how to use it

This is going to come in clutch.

Microsoft word transcribe tool
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft just announced a great new feature that college students, journalists, and pretty much anyone who relies on voice transcriptions are going to love. The online version of Microsoft Word (yes, the one you need a Microsoft 365 subscription to use) has a new trick – the ability to record and transcribe audio.

The tool can transcribe previously-recorded audio, or live dictation, and it’ll even detect different speakers. Adding quotes to your document is simple, which is a feature I know I’ll use regularly. I’m one of those people who can’t listen to words and type at the same time, so AI-powered transcription is an absolute lifesaver for me.

Currently, only the Microsoft 365 version of the online Word program supports transcription, with mobile support coming sometime at a later time. English is the only supported language right now.

So, how does it work? Where do you find this life-saving feature? Well, let’s get right to it.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Head on over to the Office website, sign in, and navigate to Word

Microsoft office online
Image: Microsoft
  • Open a new document, or one you want to add a transcription to
  • Look for the Microphone icon in the tool ribbon, and click on the down arrow

  • Word online transcription
    Image: Microsoft
  • Click on Transcribe
  • You’ll get the option of uploading an audio file, or recording live. You can use .wav, .mp4, .mp3, or .m4a file types. Uploading is also limited to five hours of recordings a month
  • We used a recording of one of Aesop’s Fables, from Project Gutenberg
  • Once the audio is captured, you’ll see the transcription to the side of the main document
  • Word transcription
    Image: Microsoft
  • This transcript will be broken up into sections, with any different speakers that the AI detected marked as such
  • Click on the + icon to add the section as a quote, or the Pencil icon if you need to make corrections
  • Here’s a quick recap again

    Just remember, you’ll have an active Microsoft 365 subscription. It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has some limitations of the tool, and is hoping to improve on these. Those current restrictions include five hours of uploaded recordings per month, with a 200mb limit on each upload (roughly 75 minutes of mono mp3 audio), unless you’re live-dictating, where you have no limits; English-US is the only language supported and uploaded audio files could take as long as the recording itself to transcribe.

    Now you know how to add transcriptions into your Word documents. Maybe this will come to the desktop version of Office in the future, but until then – happy transcribing!

    Do you plan on using this? Lifesaver, right? Let us know what you’re thinking down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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    Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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