How to Set Up Speech Recognition in Windows Vista

By Nancy C. Muir

The speech recognition program that comes with Windows Vista is rated one of the best available. However, it can only work well if you know how to properly set up speech recognition in Windows Vista. The speech recognition program needs to get to know your specific voice patterns in order for it to accurately interpret what you say.

1Attach a desktop microphone or headset to your computer and choose Start→Control Panel→Ease of Access.

The Set Up Speech Recognition window appears.

2Click the Start Speech Recognition link.

The Welcome to Speech Recognition dialog box will open.

3Click Next to begin the wizard, select the type of microphone you’re using, and then click Next.

The next screen tells you how to place and use the microphone for optimum results.

4Click Next, and read the sample sentence aloud. When you’re done, click Next.

5Choose whether to enable or disable document view, and then click Next.

Document view allows Windows Vista to review your documents and e-mail to help it recognize your speech patterns.

6Click the View Reference Sheet button to select whether you want to view and/or print a list of speech recognition commands, and then click the Close button to close that window.

Although it might seem like these commands would be obvious, it’s a good idea to print out commonly used commands because these speech commands aren’t always second nature!

7Click Next to proceed; then select Run Speech Recognition at Startup if you want Speech Recognition to be available whenever you log on. Click Next.

The final dialog box informs you that you can now control the computer by voice and offers you a Start Tutorial button to help you practice voice commands. If you want to practice, click that button, or click Cancel to skip the tutorial and leave the Speech Recognition setup.

8When the Speech Recognition control panel appears, say, “Start listening” to activate the feature.

When the Speech Recognition feature is turned on, it registers whatever you say, but it doesn’t do anything. You can’t control your computer with Speech Recognition until you say “Start Listening.”