You can control many tech devices with your voice, so why not your PC? Here’s how to enable and use Voice Access on Windows 11.
The trend of controlling your tech devices with your voice is everywhere. From your smart speaker to your TV or phone. However, did you know you can enable and use voice access on Windows 11?
Microsoft has included the ability to dictate and control your device with your voice on Windows 10. Microsoft has rebuilt the feature for Windows 11, and now uses a new on-device speech recognition engine that even works without an internet connection.
We’ll show you how to use Voice Access to open and switch apps, dictate email messages, browse the web, and more below.
How to Enable Voice Access on Windows 11
Once you enable the Voice Access feature, you can switch apps, use dictation for messages, and documents, browse the web, and much more. It’s important to note that currently, the feature supports English only.
In addition, the display language should be set to English-U.S. If it isn’t, the feature won’t work as expected.
To enable Voice Access on Windows 11, do the following:
- Press the Windows key and click Settings from the Start menu (or use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut).
- When Settings opens, select Accessibility from the option from the left column.
- Scroll down on the right column to the Interaction section and select the Speech tab.
- Toggle the Voice Access switch on to enable it.
- If this is the first time turning it on, click the Download button to get a speech model to understand you. Unfortunately, the Microphone option won’t work until the model is downloaded.
Note: You can also check the Start voice access after you sign in to your PC option.
Learning Voice Access Commands
After enabling the Voice Access feature, you’ll be offered a guide to help you learn how to use the feature. It includes an onscreen guide you can navigate through using only your voice.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your mic for voice access. First, tweak your microphone and sound settings and click Next.
- Next, click the Done button to start using Voice Access, or click the Start guide button to get a walk-through to learn more. If you want to skip the guide, you can always open it later from Voice Access Settings.
- If you haven’t used the Voice Access feature before, it’s worth working through the guide to be guided through working with it.
The Voice Access guide includes multiple exercises to help you interact with buttons, menus, and other targets. It also allows you to use your voice to edit text on the web and other applications.
In addition, you can also view available Voice Access commands that you can use, including a guide that lists all voice commands you can use to control your computer with your voice.
How to Use Voice Access on Windows 11
Once you get comfortable with voice commands to navigate the Windows 11 experience, you’ll want to implement them.
To use Voice Access:
- Open the Start menu, search voice access, and click the Voice Access app under the Best match section.
- Once it starts, you can use Alt + Shift + C to enable listening mode and Alt + Shift + B to stop listening. Or you can say “Voice access wake up” and “Unmute” to start it listening. Then you can use the “Turn off microphone” voice command to stop the mic from listening.
- To launch an app, say “Open (app)” like “Open Edge” to launch the browser. Or “Open Word” to launch it.
- You will see the voice command you used on the Voice Access toolbar. For example, here we opened Word.
- Once Microsoft Word or the Mail app opens, you can begin using the voice dictation feature to compose messages or documents with your voice.
- To make changes to how the Voice Access feature works, click the Settings icon on the top right corner of the screen and make adjustments. For example, you can prevent automatic punctuation, but you’ll need to say “period or comma” during your dictation process.
Another thing you can do is control app windows. So, for example, you can say “Minimize window,” “Maximize window,” or “Close window.” Using voice commands to change window size with your voice is helpful when multitasking.
Learning Voice Access Commands
If you get stuck with voice navigation, you can go back and launch the interactive Voice Access guide or click View all commands to get the commands list.
You can access these options by clicking the Question mark icon next to the Settings icon in the top right corner.
The interactive guide features various exercises for using your voice to control the Windows 11 experience. The commands list displays all the voice commands you can use to dictate and edit text and use apps.
It’s also important to note that you can change Microphone settings or add a new one if you have multiple sound inputs.
In addition to the Settings icon, you can control your microphone’s settings and privacy by right-clicking the microphone icon on the taskbar on the right.
Then you can go through and adjust microphone access and set which apps have access to the microphone.
Controlling Windows 11 With Your Voice
If you want or need to control Windows 11 with your voice, Voice Access is a key feature. And if you’re used to using voice commands with a smart speaker or TV, using voice commands on your PC should come easy. It’s also important to note you can use Voice Access in addition to your mouse and keyboard.
If the Voice Access feature isn’t responding, test your Microphone to ensure it’s working correctly and levels are appropriately adjusted. If you have a complex audio rig, it will take a couple of adjustments, especially if you hear yourself on the mic and need to disable microphone monitor switching.