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Format and edit in Google Docs with just your voice

Google is attempting to free up your hands completely by adding vocal editing and formatting controls to Docs.

Published onFebruary 24, 2016

Google Docs has had Voice Typing for a few months now, but the problem has always been that users drafting with their vocal cords inevitably had to touch the keyboard or mouse at some point if they need to make revisions or apply any sort of formatting. Google is attempting to free up your hands completely, and today they’ve taken one step closer to that with full editing and formatting controls for Docs.

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With these new navigation and formatting commands, you can hop fluidly throughout your document and make whatever changes you need. The list of commands is extensive, and unlike the more flexible interaction we enjoy with voice-command services like Okay Google, Siri, and Amazon Echo, you’re going to have to set these commands to memory to really make the best of this feature. “Resume at [word]” for instance, will result in Docs dully staring at you with a glazed look of mild confusion, because the command you were reaching for was actually “Resume with [word]. And although it’s technically possible, I have a hard time imagining someone using this to do something as complex as formatting a table.

In my limited experience with it, the editing commands are functional if occasionally wonky. Selecting a particular word, for instance, had about a 50/50 shot of actually selecting the word I wanted or writing out “select _____.” Nevertheless, it’s a pretty cool feature that will almost certainly see continued development and improvement. To give it a shot, just fire up Google Docs in your Chrome browser, click Tools, and select Voice Typing. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this hitting the app versions of Docs in the near future.

What are your experiences with Google Voice typing? A helpful tool, or more trouble than its worth. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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