Illustration of woman sitting at desk with laptop in front of her. There are icons of a microphone, speaker, and film strip surrounding her.

Assistive Technology Tools: Speech-to-text

This is part of a series of Assistive Technology (AT) Tools posts about tools anyone can use on their devices without downloading anything additional.

Have you ever been stopped at a light but feel you need to respond to the text from your kid? Or maybe you have one hand amess with oil and herbs but you need to pull up the recipe to remember that last ingredient before placing the dish in the oven? Or perhaps you have a broken wrist and still need to respond to the 82 emails you received today?

Speech-to-text options on your mobile, tablet, and desktop/laptop devices can help you in these—and many other—situations.

Speech-to-text options allow you to type without touching the device.

Many of the more robust speech-to-text tools were originally built and inspired by folks who use speech as an input for all functions on their devices. We will not discuss that software here, but if that is something you need, please reach out to to inquire.

Dictation on desktops


  1. From the Apple menu, 
  2.  Select System Settings,
  3. then click Keyboard in the sidebar.
  4. Go to Dictation on the right, 
  5. then toggle it On. A microphone will now appear as a text entry option.

See: Dictate messages and documents on Mac – Apple Support


Windows logo key + h

See: Use voice typing to talk instead of type on your PC – Microsoft Support

Dictation on mobile devices

Android: Talk to Text

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, install Gboard.
  2. Open any app that you can type with, such as Gmail or Keep.
  3. Tap an area where you can enter text. A microphone will now appear as a text entry option.

See: Type with your voice – Android – Gboard Help

iOS: Dictation Keyboard

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General,
  3. Then select Keyboard.
  4. Scroll down.
  5. Toggle Enable Dictation. A microphone will now appear as a text entry option.

See: Dictate text on iPhone – Apple Support

Do you have feedback?

If there

  • are other tools you use for dictation;
  • are errors in the directions;
  • or there aren’t directions for your device or operating system (OS),

let us know! Please email


This series has been inspired by previous blog posts by Corrine Schoeb, including:

and by Swarthmore’s ITS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee’s recent presentation on disability inclusion and accessibility. Thanks to Mark Davis, Sean O’Donnell, Ashley Turner, and Doug Willen for the thought and collaboration you put into your presentations and that has inspired this post!