Google Docs has just added a new tool for editing and formatting documents with voice commands. It’s long had the feature to dictate text which made it easier to type but the update now lets you edit your document. There is an entire list of commands that you can use to format and navigate inside a document. You can jump to a new paragraph, apply text styles (bold, italics, etc), edit tables, and more. The commands are simple to execute and you will not need to switch to the keyboard to activate the feature if you’re already using voice to text to write the document. Here’s how to execute a voice command in Google Docs. For now, this only works in Chrome for the desktop.
Open Google Docs and either create a new document or open an existing one to try the new voice commands out. You will first have to turn on the dictation tool. Go to Tools>Voice Typing and you’re good to go. Start speaking what you want to write. At any point you want to format the text, you can do so with a command.
For example, saying ‘full stop’ will add a full stop. Likewise, saying ‘Backspace’ will remove one character, ‘New Paragraph’ will imitate the ‘Enter’ button’s action, and saying ‘Undo’ will undo the last action.
To apply formatting, you will need to be careful when you speak the command. For example, to make text bold, you must say ‘Bold’ before you type the text that you want to make bold. The command ‘Bold’ will toggle the bold style On/Off. You can always go back and make the change later but it will be harder to so.
Not all commands are executed like the bold command i.e., sometimes the command must follow after the text you want to apply it to has been spoken. For example, to apply Heading 1 to text (see GIF above), you will first need to speak the text for the heading (Chapter 1) and then give the command , ‘Apply Heading 1’.
The feature is pretty neat and if you want learn about the complete list of voice commands available, click the little Help icon on the mic button. The commands use the common words we associate with an action so they should be easy to learn.