Microsoft announces Transcribe for Word, now generally available

Microsoft has announced a couple of new features for its Microsoft 365 subscription, called voice commands and Transcribe for Word. Microsoft mostly focused on the latter, with voice commands just being a way to format text more easily in Word in addition to dictating text, making it possible to do things like creating lists, or making text bold using your voice. This feature is now available for everyone on the web and mobile, and it's coming to the desktop Word apps before the end of the year.

As for Transcribe for Word, it's a fairly self-explanatory feature. It lives inside the Word app, and it lets users record a conversation and transcribe it in real time, or you can upload a pre-recorded audio file to be transcribed after the fact. Once a file is transcribed, users can make any necessary fixes, see where each speaker was talking and what they said, and all of the text or specific sections of it into the document. Users can also click any timestamp on the transcription to hear the recording at that point. If you're worried about privacy, Microsoft has said it won't store the recordings once they've been transcribed.

Right now, the feature is only available in Word on the web, so you should be able to use it on any PC, with any meeting software you're using, though in order to record people on the other side, you'll need to make sure the microphone can capture what's coming from your speaker. Microsoft says it plans to roll out the feature on Android and iOS before the end of the year, which is more useful if you're recording in-person meetings or interviews.

Transcribe for Word is only available for paying Microsoft 365 subscribers, so free users won't be able to see it, and it only works in English (United States) for now. There are also some limits - you can only upload 300 minutes (or five hours) of audio per month, and individual files are limited to 200MB in size. Microsoft says it's working to expand that in the future, though.

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