Users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 may not realize Microsoft has included a valuable, free feature with those operating systems. Prior to Windows Vista the Windows Speech Recognition program was not very good. It lacked an integrated dictation and command functionality. The Windows Speech Recognition feature in Vista and Windows 7 has integrated those functions into a seamless, powerful speech capability. Windows Speech Recognition is being used to create this article.

To access Windows Speech Recognition left-click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Ease of Access, and Windows Speech Recognition. First-time use initiates a tutorial including a microphone test. The tutorial program helps the user learn about Windows Speech Recognition while it trains the computer how to process the user’s spoken words.

In 2009 Microsoft developed a companion utility program that allows a Windows Speech Recognition user to capture that person’s speech profile and save it to a portable media form such as a flash drive or to write a person’s speech profile from a portable device into the speech program on a computer’s hard drive. This makes an individual’s speech portable to any computer running Windows Speech Recognition. The URL for downloading the speech profile transfer tool is: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1D60A5A6-85D4-4DB2-A581-A41F66561A7D&displaylang=en.

Why Microsoft has not publicized the Windows Speech Recognition program is not clear. For those of us who are not great typists or would like to insert text from a document by reading it, Windows Speech Recognition can be a real benefit.