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Need a transcription? Look to Microsoft Word

Did you know that Microsoft Word Online has a transcription feature?

The transcribe feature converts speech to a text transcript with each speaker individually separated.

Word Online, or Word for the web, refers to the version found in your web browser (Microsoft Word – Office Word Processing Software | Microsoft 365)

You can transcribe speech in two ways:

  1. Record directly in Word Online
  2. Upload an audio file
    Note: You can transcribe up to 300 minutes of speech content per month.

And after transcribing your conversation, interview, or meeting, you can make any needed corrections to the transcription by revisiting parts of the recording by playing back the timestamped audio and editing accordingly.

Record directly in Word Online

You can record directly in Word for the web while taking notes in the document and then transcribe the recording.  Word transcribes in the background as you record; you won’t see text on the page as you would when dictating. You will see the transcript after you save and transcribe the recording.

  1. Make sure you are signed into Microsoft 365
  2. Open a new Word file
  3. Click on Home > Dictate (drop-down arrow) > Transcribe
Screenshot of Word Online Title Bar with Dictate dropdown arrow selected
  1. In the Transcribe pane, click Start recording
    • If this is your first time live transcribing, you may need to give the browser permission to use your mic. There might be a dialog that pops up in the browser or you may have to go to the browser settings.
Word Transcribe panel, 'Start recording' selected
  1. Wait for the pause icon to be outlined in blue and the timestamp to start incrementing to let you know that recording has begun
    • You can pause the recording by clicking the Pause button and click the Microphone icon to resume recording
  2. Leave the Transcribe pane open while recording
Word Online - Transcription-pane, transcription in-progress
  1. When you finish, click  Save and transcribe now to save your recording to you OneDrive and start the transcription process
    • Reminder, unlike a Dictation, you won’t see the transcript until you click Save and transcribe now
  2. Transcription may take a while depending on your internet speed. Keep the Transcribe pane open while the transcription is being made.

Upload an audio file

You can upload a pre-recorded audio file and then transcribe the recording. At this time, you’re limited to five hours of transcription time per month for uploaded recordings.

All audio files are uploaded and saved in your OneDrive in a Transcribed Files folder

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to Microsoft 365
  2. Go to Home > Dictate (drop-down arrow) > Transcribe.
Screenshot of Word Online Title Bar with Dictate dropdown arrow selected
  1. In the Transcribe pane, select Upload audio.
Word Transcribe panel, 'Upload audio' selected
  1. Located and select your audio file
    • Transcribe currently supports .wav, .mp4, .m4a, .mp3 formats. 
  2. Transcription may take a while depending on your internet speed, up to about the length of the audio file. Be sure to keep the Transcribe pane open while the transcription is happening, but feel free to do other work or switch browser tabs or applications and come back later.
Word for the web, transcribing audio file progress bar
  1. After the audio file has finished processing, the Transcribe side bar will have more information
Word Online, Transcription from audio recording

Recording done! Now on to editing and adding to the document.

Now that you have finished recording, let’s move on to how you can edit the speaker names, edit the text transcription and add the text to the document.

Relabel a speaker or edit a section

The transcription service identifies and separates different speakers and labels them “Speaker 1,” “Speaker 2,” etc. You can edit the speaker label and change all occurrences of it to something else. You can also edit the content of a section to correct any issues in transcription.

  1. In the Transcribe pane, hover over a section you want to edit.
  2. Select the Edit transcript section icon
Word Transcribe panel with 'edit transcript section' button selected
  1. Edit the content or change the label. To change all instances of a label, select the Change all Speaker [x] checkbox
Word Transcribe panel, editing the transcription section
  1. To save your changes, select the Confirm icon (check mark)
  2. Once you have finished editing speaker names and sections,

Add the transcript to the document

There are 2 methods to add the transcript to the document:

Add a specific section

  • To add a specific transcription section, hover over the section and select the Add section to document icon (Plus button)
Word Transcibe panel with 'add section to document' button selected

Add entire transcript

  • To add the entire transcription to the document, select Add to document
    • You will have some additional options if you click the drop-down arrow
Word trancribe panel, adding transcript to document

For more information about transcribing using Word Online, visit Transcribe your recordings

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About Andrew Hayes

Andrew is the digital delivery support professional with the Office of Information Technology. He provides direct training and support for delivering content using digital platforms and applications including Zoom, Teams, WeVideo and Canva.