For folks with either a visual or mobility impairment that makes typing difficult speech-to-text is a lifesaver. Even if you’re just a person who doesn’t care for typing and finds it faster to speak, it sure is convenient.

Did you know that Google Docs, the free online word processor that’s part of Google Drive offers an excellent speech-to-text software that can be used on any PC, Mac, or Linux device?

Let’s check out how to use it. You will need to have the Chrome browser on your device. You’ll also need a Google Account. If you have a Gmail address, a YouTube account or an Android phone, you’ve already got one. If not, you’ll be prompted to create a free account. Start by clicking this link:  https://www.google.com/drive/

You’ll be taken to the Google Drive homepage.

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To start a new document, click the big + button with a New next to it.

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Select Google Docs.

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Your new document will open.

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From the menu at the top, click on Tools. Then choose Voice typing. If this is grayed out, make sure that you’re using the Chrome browser and that your device either has a built-in microphone or that a mic is plugged in.

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A microphone icon will appear. Just click to activate.

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The mic will turn red when it’s active. You’ll also need to give permission for Google Docs to access your microphone.

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Then, just start speaking and your words will appear.

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You can also add punctuation, new paragraphs, and other types of formatting with your voice. I’ll cover how to do that in the next article in this series.