Microsoft launches a new transcription feature for Word

26 Aug 2020

Image: © Mariakray/

A new feature in Microsoft Word allows users to automatically transcribe audio using Azure’s AI technology.

Microsoft has launched a new transcription feature for Office 365 users. The Transcribe in Word tool is currently only available in the online version of Microsoft Word, but the company plans to extend it to other platforms later down the line.

The transcription feature leverages Azure’s Cognitive Services AI platform to help users spend less time transcribing work. The product was announced in a blogpost by Dan Parish, Microsoft’s principal group product manager for natural user interface and incubation.

“Whether you’re a reporter conducting interviews, a researcher recording focus group sessions, or an online entrepreneur recording informal discussions, you want to be able to focus on the people you’re talking to without worrying about taking notes and without having to spend hours transcribing your conversations after the fact,” Parish said.

Transcribe in Word

The new feature allows users to record conversations directly into the web version of Word and transcribe them automatically. Microsoft said that its new technology detects different speakers so that the flow of the transcript can easily be followed.

Users will be able to revisit parts of the recording by playing back the time-stamped audio, and the transcript can be edited if any mistakes are noticed by the user. The transcript will appear alongside the Word document, along with the recording, enabling users to refer back to these resources when writing a new document.

Audio files from different platforms can also be uploaded for transcription. The new feature supports MP3, WAV, M4A and MP4 files.

TechCrunch has tested the feature and found that uploaded files can take “quite a while” to transcribe, with some taking as long as the conversations recorded in the files.

Parish said that there is currently a five-hour limit per month for uploaded recordings and that each uploaded recording is limited to 200MB. Live recordings using Word online, however, do not have this limit.

English is currently the only language supported by the feature, but Microsoft is working to support more languages. According to Parish, a mobile version of Transcribe in Word is also set to launch later this year.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic