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How To Enable Dictation: Convert Spoken Words Into Text

Enable dictation (macOS and iOS) and convert spoken words into text — speech to text. Some people use dictation because they prefer speaking more than typing, some people use it because they have carpal tunnel and others, like me, use it when it’s more convenient than typing.

It might happen when I’m shopping, exercising or even reading in bed. Ideas arrive at inconvenient times.

In order to capture and elaborate on these ideas, I could type them in one of my favorite writing apps, but if I’m on the move or simply don’t feel like typing, I'll use dictation.  

Dictation converts spoken words to text — speech to text. Some people use dictation because they prefer speaking more than typing, some people use it because they have carpal tunnel and others, like me, use it when it’s more convenient than typing.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to enable dictation (macOS and iOS) and convert spoken words into text.

Dictation (macOS)

Example of dictating on macOS, using Ulysses

To use dictation well, you have to train yourself to speak as if you were typing. For example, compare the following sentences:

Typed
 Sentence
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Dictated Sentence

open quote the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog period close quote

As you can see, it might take time to train yourself to say words like open quote, close quote and period, but it can be much easier to record speech to text. In addition, dictation is also far more efficient than using voice memos since you’d still have to listen to the memos and then transcribe them into text.

To enable dictation, do the following:

1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences

Step 1 for enabling dictation on macOS

2. Click Keyboard

Step 2 for enabling dictation on macOS

3. Click Dictation

Step 3 for enabling dictation on macOS

4. Turn Dictation On. Click Enable Dictation

Step 4 for enabling dictation on macOS

5. Check Use Enhanced Dictation

Step 5 for enabling dictation on macOS

After enabling dictation on macOS, open your writing app (I use Ulysses) and click the fn key twice to start dictating. You’ll see a microphone icon. Start speaking.

To stop dictating, click Done or enter the shortcut again. If you prefer a different shortcut, you can customize this in settings.

Dictation (iOS)

How to enable dictation on iOS

I don’t use Siri very much on iPhone, but I use dictation all the time. While dictation is very good, it’s not always perfect. Therefore, you'll always want to review what you've dictated. For that, I use Text to Speech (macOS) and Speak Selection (iOS).

To enable and use dictation on iOS, do the following (see screenshots above):

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Keyboard
  4. Turn on Dictation
  5. Tap Enable Dictation

After enabling dictation on iOS, open your writing app (I use Ulysses) and tap the page to activate the keyboard. Tap the microphone that’s located next to the spacebar and start speaking.

Wrap Up

You just learned how to enable dictation on macOS and iOS. Give it a try! You might find it convenient to capture and elaborate on ideas for blog posts. You might even like it better than typing.

How to Enable Dictation: Convert Spoken Words into Text first appeared on the Bento Sites Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.

Close-up of Jeff Shibasaki wearing a black hat

Jeff Shibasaki

Jeff's the founder of Bento Sites. He's a strategic web designer that specializes in visual design, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) on Webflow and Squarespace.