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Use your voice to operate your computer with Speech Recognition in Windows 8

Did you know that you can use your voice to control your Windows 8 computer? With Speech Recognition inside Windows 8, you can start programs, open menus, click buttons and other objects on the screen, dictate text into documents, and write and send e-mails. Just about everything you can do with your keyboard and mouse can be done with only your voice. All you need is a microphone.

Speech Recognition interface inside of Windows 8
Speech Recognition interface inside of Windows 8

Starting Speech Recognition in Windows 8

  1. Swipe in from the right side of the screen or press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to bring up the Charm bar.
  2. Left-click on Search button in Charm Bar.
  3. Left-click on Apps in Search.
  4. Type Speech Recognition in the Search field on the Search pane.
  5. In the results on the left-hand side, left-click on Windows Speech Recognition.


  1. Go to the Start menu.
  2. Right-click the Start menu background to bring up the app commands.
  3. Left-click on All apps.
  4. Scroll to the Windows Speech Recognition tile and left-click on it.

The first time you run Speech Recognition, you will get the setup wizard. After completing the setup wizard, It is recommended that you go through the Speech Recognition Voice Training.

Using Speech Recognition to control your Windows 8 computer

You can use simple, short commands to control your computer. The following table shows some of the most commonly used Speech Recognition commands. Words that look like this (italic) indicate that you can replace the example word or phrase with similar words and get useful results.

Note: Any time you need to find out what commands to use, say "what can I say?"

To do this Say this
Select any item by its name Click File; Start; View
Select any item or icon Click Recycle Bin; Click Computer; Click file name
Double tap or double-click any item   Double-click Recycle Bin; Double-click Computer; Double-click file name
Switch to an open app Switch to Paint; Switch to WordPad; Switch to program name; Switch application
Scroll in one direction Scroll up; Scroll down; Scroll left; Scroll right
Insert a new paragraph or new line in a document New paragraph; New line
Select a word in a document Select word
Select a word and start to correct it Correct word
Select and delete specific words Delete word
Show a list of applicable commands What can I say?
Update the list of speech commands that are currently available Refresh speech commands
Turn on listening mode Start listening
Turn off listening mode Stop listening
Move the Speech Recognition microphone bar Move speech recognition
Minimize the microphone bar Minimize speech recognition
View Windows Help and Support content about specific tasks How do I do something? For example, say “How do I install a printer?” and a list of Help topics is returned. Note that this command is available only if you're using the U.S. English Speech Recognizer.
Insert a new line in the document New line
Insert a new paragraph in the document New paragraph
Insert a tab Tab
Insert the literal word for the next command (for example, you can insert the word "comma" instead of the punctuation mark) Literal word
Insert the numeral form of a number Numeral number
Put the cursor before a specific word Go to word
Put the cursor after a specific word Go after word
Don't insert a space before the next word No space
Go to the start of the sentence that the cursor is in Go to start of sentence
Go to the start of the paragraph that the cursor is in Go to start of paragraph
Go to the start of the document Go to start of document
Go to the end of the sentence that the cursor is in Go to end of sentence
Go to the end of the paragraph that the cursor is in Go to end of paragraph
Go to the end of the current document Go to end of document
Select the word in the current document Select word
Select the word range in the current document Select word range; Select word through word
Select all text in the current document Select all
Select a number of words before the location of the cursor Select previous 20 words; Select previous 10 words
Select a number of words after the location of the cursor Select next 20 words; Select next 10 words
Select the last text you dictated Select that
Clear the selection on the screen Clear selection
Capitalize the first letter of the word Caps word
Capitalize all the letters of the word All caps word
Make all the letters in the word lowercase No caps word
Change the next number of words to uppercase Change next 10 words to uppercase
Change the next number of words to lowercase Change next 10 words to lowercase
Delete the previous sentence Delete previous sentence
Delete the next sentence Delete next sentence
Delete the previous paragraph Delete previous paragraph
Delete the next paragraph Delete next paragraph
Delete the selected or last dictated text Delete that

For more information on Speech Recognition and a complete list of commands, just right-click the Speech Recognition icon on the Desktop Taskbar and select Open Speech Recognition Reference Card.

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