31 January 2019

    Megan Ellis

    How to use voice typing on your Android phone

    Voice recognition is an incredibly useful technology, but it's not only about giving your virtual assistant commands.

    Voice recognition is an incredibly useful technology. But it’s not only about giving your virtual assistant commands. Another use is typing out messages, documents and other text on your smartphone using your voice.

    If you haven’t tried it before, here’s how you can use voice typing on your Android phone:

    Step 1: Make sure you have the right keyboard app

    Voice typing is accessed through your keyboard app, so make sure you have one that allows you to type with your voice. The two major apps that offer voice typing are Gboard and SwiftKey. Gboard is pre-installed on many Android devices, but make sure that the app is up to date if you intend to use it.

    Step 2: Enable voice typing

    Voice typing is not the same as sending a voice note on an app like WhatsApp. The aim is not to record audio to send it, but to convert spoken words into text.

    This functionality needs to be enabled. You can access this feature in your settings, under ‘Language and Input’. Depending on your phone brand, the exact location of this menu within your settings may differ. Under this menu, look for the ‘Google Voice Typing’ setting. If you cannot find it, use the search bar available in your settings menu. Make sure that voice typing is enabled or set to automatic.

    In an app such as SwiftKey, you can enable voice typing in the same language and input menu. Access the keyboard app in this menu, go to the ‘Typing’ tab and make sure voice input is enabled.

    It’s important to note that voice typing only works for certain languages. Google is integrating more languages into the feature as time goes by.

    Step 3: Access the microphone on your keyboard

    You will now be able to access voice typing through your keyboard using the icon that looks like a microphone.

    On Gboard, the icon appears on the top right of the keyboard, next to suggested words. Tap the microphone and Google will start up the voice typing feature and convert your speech to text. You can end the ‘listening’ mode when you are finished with your message by tapping the microphone icon again.

    In SwiftKey, the microphone icon appears to the left of the spacebar as a secondary function on the comma key. Hold this button to activate voice typing. Once it’s activated, a Google voice typing window will appear. Clearly state what you want to be written down and the window will convert this speech to text. You can pause and restart voice typing by pressing the microphone icon. You can exit the mode by using the back button.

    Now you know how to type using your voice! Go ahead and try it out in your messages. The more you type with your voice, the better Google gets at recognising your words!

    Megan Ellis