Google updates Docs with new voice typing and editing capabilities

Google Docs users can now use their voice to type, edit, and format a document. Here are some of the ways you can use it.

Image: iStockphoto/vadimguzhva

On Wednesday, Google for Work announced in a blog post that it was updating Google Docs with voice typing and voice editing capabilities. The feature is available in a long list of languages, including languages with specific accents as well.

To enable voice typing in Google Docs, click the "Tools" tab at the top of the screen and click the "Voice typing..." option on the drop-down menu. You will be asked to give Google Docs permission to access your microphone--click "Allow." Once it is all set up, you'll need to click the pop-up microphone icon to start the feature. It will turn red when it is on.

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Once the microphone is listening, there are a ton of different commands. Here are some of the commands you can make:

Voice typing

  • Type text by speaking.
  • Add punctuation such as periods, commas, question marks, or create a new paragraph.

Select text

  • Select a specific word, phrase, or character.
  • Select matching text or a list of items.
  • Select an entire line or paragraph of text.
  • Unselect text.

Format your document

  • Align text right, left, or center.
  • Format text with bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, and more.
  • Alter text color or add tech highlighting.
  • Increase or decrease font size.
  • Format paragraph indentations and line spacing.
  • Create bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Clear formatting.

Edit your document

  • Cut, copy, or paste text.
  • Delete a specific word or link.
  • Insert, update, or delete a table of contents.
  • Insert a header, footer, or pagebreak.

Add and edit tables

  • Insert or delete a table.
  • Insert or remove columns or rows within a table.
  • Exit the table.

Move around your document

  • Move to the beginning or end of a specific paragraph.
  • Move forward, backward, up, and down by number of characters.
  • Move to a specific link, list, or table.

Resume voice typing

  • Move to the end of a line of text after editing the document by saying "resume."
  • Resume typing with a specific word or paragraph.

Commands to open help

  • Open a help window for assistance with voice typing.
  • View a list of all voice commands.

Speak (for accessibility)

  • Speak a cursor location or speak from a cursor location.
  • Speak a text selection or part of a table within the document.

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For business users, there are quite a few use cases for these new features. Jotting down ideas in a meeting or brainstorming sessions is the most obvious, but it could also be used to capture your thoughts as you read through research from an outside source, or as you verbally process ideas while putting together a proposal.

For the full list of individual voice commands, check out the official Google Docs help site.

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