Microsoft has added an audio transcription feature to the Word app within its Microsoft 365 subscription productivity suite.
Researchers, reporters, lawyers, teachers, and others spend a lot of time recording audio interviews or notes on their phones, then transcribing the content into a Word doc. Currently, they might use a service such as Temi or Otter to transcribe the audio. But with this new feature, Microsoft 365 subscribers can pull the audio file (.mp3, .wav, .m4a, or .mp4 files) directly into Word. Microsoft will transcribe the audio and place the transcript adjacent to the Word doc the user is working on. Users can then hit plus icons within the transcript to pull selected parts of the transcript over into the Word doc.
Microsoft says Transcribe in Word, which is based on the company’s work in natural language processing AI, is free for all Microsoft 365 subscribers and works within the Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers. There are several important caveats. Currently, Transcribe supports only English. You can upload a maximum of five hours of recorded audio per month, and the audio files must be less than 200 MB.
Microsoft also says it’s been adding voice commands to the dictation feature in Word. Users can use voice commands to do things like “start list” and “bold last sentence.” Voice commands are coming to the Word desktop and Word for Mac apps toward the end of the year for Microsoft 365 subscribers.