How to Use iPad Voice Dictation

How to Use iPad Voice Dictation. Daniel Nations

One of the most powerful features of the iPad is also one that is often overlooked: voice dictation. Siri may get all the press for being a great personal assistant, but she may be at her best when she is simply taking notes.

Voice dictation isn't the best for those who often need to write lengthy emails or create large documents, but for most of us that find the on-screen keyboard a bit unruly when typing more than a line or two, voice dictation can be just enough to skip buying a wireless keyboard for the iPad.

Even if you need multiple paragraphs and special punctuation, voice dictation can handle it. The only requirement is an Internet connection. Similar to Siri, voice dictation uses the cloud for the heavy lifting, so you will need an active connection.

How to Use iPad Voice Dictation

Believe it or not, voice dictation on the iPad is as easy as one-two-three.

  1. Tap the microphone button on the iPad's on-screen keyboard. This tells the iPad that you want to start dictating.
  2. Talk. The iPad will listen to your voice and turn it into text as you talk. Be sure to read over the keywords below to find out how to start a new sentence or a new paragraph.
  3. Tap the "Done" button that appears onscreen to stop dictating. It may take a few seconds to turn the last words into text on the screen. Be sure to read it over. Voice dictation isn't perfect, so you may need to make a few adjustments using the keyboard.

The great thing about this implementation is that voice dictation is readily available any time the on-screen keyboard is available, which means no hunting around for it when you really need it.

iPad Voice Dictation Keywords

The iPad's voice dictation is surprisingly good at translating voice into speech, even for those of us who have thick accents. But what about ending a sentence with a question mark or starting a new paragraph? To get the most out of voice dictation, you should remember these keywords:

  • "Period". The "." is the standard way to end a sentence. It includes a space after the period, so you are ready for your next sentence.
  • "Question Mark". The "?" also includes a trailing space.
  • "New Paragraph". This keyword phrase starts a new paragraph. Remember to end the previous sentence before beginning the new paragraph.
  • "Exclamation Point". The "!" includes a trailing space.
  • "Comma". The "," includes a trailing space.
  • "Colon". The ":" includes a trailing space.
  • "Semi-Colon". The ";" includes a trailing space.
  • "Ellipsis". The "..." includes a trailing space.
  • "Quote" and "Unquote". The " produced by saying "quote" does not produce a trailing space. The " produced by saying "unquote" does include a trailing space.
  • "Slash". The "/" symbol.
  • "Asterisk". The "*" symbol.
  • "Ampersand". The "&" symbol.
  • "At Sign". The "@" symbol.

And more... A number of other punctuation marks are also programmed into the system, so if you need one of the rarer marks, simply say it. For example, "upside down question mark" will actually produce an upside down question mark.