Commands for Better Dictation

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated August 9, 2021)

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update introduced the Dictation feature, allowing for speech-to-text. The Dictation feature of Windows 10 provides you with an easier and faster way to transcribe the words you speak, into text you can edit on your computer.

Once you have dictation running (see the tip entitled Enabling Speech to Text Dictation) you can begin speaking the text you want entered in any text area found in Windows. As you begin to use dictation you will find that it will transcribe exactly what you say. The only problem with this is that it will transcribe what you say without punctuation, returns, or other grammatical elements. With the use of certain specific commands, you can have a better experience and results.

Dictation Commands

Voice Command Result
Clear selection; unselect that Clears a selection
Delete that; strike that Delete the most recent dictation result or currently selected text
Delete word Delete a unit of text, such as the current word
Go after that; move after word; go to the end of paragraph; move to the end of that Move the cursor to the first character after a specified word or phrase
Go after word; move after word; go to the end of that; move to the end of paragraph Move the cursor to the end of a unit of text
Move back to the previous word; go up to the previous paragraph Move the cursor backward by a unit of text
Go to the start of the word Move the cursor to the first character before a specified word or phrase
Go before that; move to the start of that Move the cursor to the start of a text unit
Move forward to the next word; go down to the next paragraph Move the cursor forward to the next unit of text
Move to the end of the word; go to the end of the paragraph Moves the cursor to the end of a text unit
Tap Enter; press Backspace Enter one of the following keys: Tab, Enter, End, Home, Page up, Page down, Backspace, Delete
Select word Select a specific word or phrase
Select that Select the most recent dictation result
Select the next three words; select the previous two paragraphs Select a unit of text
Start spelling; stop spelling Turn spelling mode on and off

At times, as you're dictating, you will need to dictate numbers, punctuation, letters, or symbols. Just like the dictation commands above, you just need to speak the correct phase or command to achieve the desired result.

When you want to add punctuation or numbers, this is possible typically by just saying the punctuation or number. If, for example, you're wanting to add a "?" to the end of a sentence you would say "Question Mark." For numbers, you simply say the number and the correct number will be entered.

Start Spelling

"Start Spelling", is a helpful command, in that it modifies Dictation from entering the word it hears to the letter you say. For example, if you wanted to spell out 'five' instead of '5', you would use the command "Start Spelling." After the "Start Spelling" command is given, you would then spell 'f-i-v-e' followed by "Stop Spelling." If you need to insert a capital letter you would need to use the "Start Spelling" command, then by saying "Uppercase" followed by the letter, then finish with "Stop Spelling." Also keep in mind that when you use the "Start Speaking" command, in addition to saying a symbol or punctuation you can also use the ICAO phonetic alphabet. (The ICAO phonetic alphabet is the use of assigned codewords inplace of letters of the English alphabet, such as Alfa for "A" or Zulu for "Z" )

Punctuation Commands

Voice Command Result
at symbol; at sign @
Pound symbol; pound sign; number symbol; number sign; hash symbol; hash sign; hashtag symbol; hashtag sign; sharp symbol; sharp sign #
Dollar symbol; dollar sign; dollars symbol; dollars sign $
Percent symbol; percent sign %
Caret ^
And symbol; and sign; ampersand symbol; ampersand sign &
Asterisk; times; star *
Open paren; left paren; open parenthesis; left paren (
Close paren; right paren; close parenthesis; right parenthesis )
Underscore _
Hyphen; dash; minus sign -
Tilde ~
Backslash; whack \
Forward slash; divided by /
Comma ,
Period; dot; decimal; point .
Semicolon ;
Apostrophe; open single quote; begin single quote; close single quote; close single quote; end single quote '
Equal symbol; equal sign; equals symbol; equal sign =
Space (space)
Pipe |
Colon :
Question mark; question symbol ?
Open bracket; open square bracket; left bracket; left square bracket [
Close bracket; close square bracket; right bracket; right square bracket ]
Open curly brace; open curly bracket; left curly brace; left curly bracket {
Close curly brace; close curly bracket; right curly brace; right curly bracket }
Plus symbol; plus sign +
Open angle bracket; open less than; left angle bracket; left less than <
Close angle bracket; close greater than; right angle bracket; right greater than >
Open quotes; begin quotes; close quotes; end quotes; open double quotes; begin double quotes; close double quotes; end double quotes "

All of these commands will help you better use Dictation and help get you closer to the results you are looking for.

 This tip (13555) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...


Quickly Hiding Desktop Icons

Your Windows desktop can become crowded and messy. When you need to show your desktop to other people, Windows 10 allows ...

Discover More

Displaying Seconds in the System Tray Clock

Time is more than hours and minutes. How do you get the taskbar clock to show seconds?

Discover More

Saving System Resources with Sleeping Tabs

When more system resources are used by your web browser, your computer will slow down. Turn on sleeping tabs to help free ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Using Reliability Monitor

Reliability Monitor provides some measure of how stable your system is. It does this by noting, over time, various types ...

Discover More


Need to find out which files are hogging the most space on your hard drives? The WizTree utility can analyze your drives ...

Discover More


Would you like to have one place to go in order to see what all programs are starting when your system starts or when you ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.