Preparing for Speech Recognition

Before you can begin working with speech recognition in Word or Office 2003, you must check to make sure that you meet Microsoft's hardware requirements and that your microphone is working properly.

According to Microsoft, the recommended minimum hardware requirements for a computer to run speech recognition well include a Pentium II (or equivalent AMD processor) with 128MB RAM and at least a 400MHz processor. In other words, the requirements for speech are significantly higher than the system requirements for using Word or Office without speech recognition.

In fact, by default, when you install Office, speech features are not installed on systems that do not meet these hardware requirements.


You can, however, manually install speech recognition on lower-end systems if you specify it as a feature to be installed when you run the Windows Installer setup program.

In addition, you need a microphone?not any old microphone, but a high-quality close-talk (headset) microphone with gain adjustment support and noise cancellation or filtering.

When purchasing a new headset, it is important to select one with an adjustable microphone that can be positioned about an inch to the side of your mouth. If possible, Microsoft also recommends that you select a USB microphone with a gain adjustment feature that can amplify your input so that your computer can "hear" it more clearly.


An equally important "hardware requirement" is a quiet room in which to work.

If you work in an area with a great deal of ambient noise?from colleagues, children, radios, or anything else?Word's speech-recognition accuracy degrades dramatically.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word