It’s thanks to applications that many tedious tasks can be streamlined. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe the saying “there’s an app for everything.” One such task is note taking.
Travel back a couple of years and you’ll see students using tape recorders to bypass using their hands. That’s no longer the case. Today, download a handy dictation app and you’ve just freed yourself of that ball-and-chain.
You see, people can’t write as fast as they talk. You’re either typing or recording. In careers that require fast responses and turnover rates, by-hand note taking doesn’t cut it. Not to mention it can be great for individuals suffering from mild or severe carpal tunnel.
If you’re looking to streamline your job, take a look at the speech-to-text dictation apps below. Most, if not all, have free and premium options.
Speechnotes comes first on the list for two reasons: design and features. Speechnotes doesn’t try to “wow” you with flashing colors and fancy graphics. Its simplistic style keeps it professional as well as non-threatening to new users. You can pick it up and have it mastered in minutes.
As for features, Speechnotes takes advantage of Google’s speech recognition service making it very accurate at picking up your voice and converting your words to text. Its keyboard offers a range of custom key rows allows for quicker access to phrases, names, signatures, greetings–if you use it often, you’ll find it in your custom key rows.
Speechnotes also supports Bluetooth, offline note-taking and can be reduced to a widget form, giving you access to quick dictation in a pinch. Widgets, in the case of smartphones, are compacted versions of the app that can be placed on your smartphone’s home screens in grid-form, featuring its most used aspects of that app.
Finally, its best feature, arguably, is the way it takes notes. Most dictation apps are very touchy to the sound of silence. Many stop recording when there’s a long pause–not Speechnotes. It keeps on recording, giving your dictation a very natural feel. Not to mention it would be a pain to constantly start a new dictation session.
Speechnotes is free, but has ads and in-app purchases.
2. Dragon Anywhere
Dragon Anywhere gets its feet wet in the professional pool by offering tools that expand past a simple dictation app.
First off, Dragon Anywhere is a subscription-based app. You can download Dragon Anywhere for free, and there is a 1-week free trial, but you’ll need to buy the app to continue using it. However, consider what it offers in return and base your decision off of that.
Dragon Anywhere styles itself as a professional-grade app, and with good reason. With 99% accuracy rating, coupled with voice editing tools, and formatting, Dragon Anywhere stands out by giving you no time limits. You might be in the car and need to write a quick business report. Fire up Dragon Anywhere and dictate while you commute to work.
Even better, if you’re looking to switch over to a larger workspace, like a desk, with Dragon Anywhere you can sync your smartphone to any supported desktop computer and continue your work without your workflow being disrupted.
If you’re looking to share your work with employees and co-workers, Dragon Anywhere has you covered with its cloud service. And of course, it comes with security.
3. Google Assistant
Google Assistant, while not specifically a dictation app, does have a more compact dictation feature. It’s nothing special, but worth mentioning to individuals looking for something smaller.
Google Assistant can be great for parents by offering speech-to-text functions for calendar dates, reminders, and even lists. If you aren’t looking for a dictation app with a whole array of tools, just the bare essentials, Google Assistant should be your go-to.
Google Assistant is free.
Microsoft took its sleekly designed software, OneNote, and imported to smartphones. On personal computers OneNote already offered the option to dictate, and now that it’s on smartphones, that feature hasn’t been removed.
Now, you can paste OneNote to your smartphone’s home screen with its widget and start dictating to your heart’s content with the same level of freedom as its PC counterpart.
OneNote is free.
5. Voice Notes
Continuing the trend of short-burst dictation is Voice Notes. Think Google Assistant only a few steps up. Voice Notes doesn’t just dictate your words, but also save the audio file. Speaking of files, you can import and export notes as you please.
Like Google Assistant, Voice Notes comes with its own reminders. With the option to set them like alarms, Voice Notes will alert you to these reminders, continuously if you so choose.
Unlike Google Assistant, Voice Notes offer you organizational tools very reminiscent of highlighters and notebooks. You can customize your dictation into categories and even colored tags.
Voice Notes is free, but contains in-app purchases and ads.
Taking a more hybrid approach is SpeechTexter. Dictation and speech-to-text are a given, but SpeechTexter can even be used to convert speech into text for messages, emails, and tweets (Twitter slang for “live post”).
SpeechTexter’s best feature, arguably, is the ability to work offline, not just online. However, there is a caveat to understanding before using it offline: SpeechTexter is useless offline unless you download all the necessary language packs while you still have online capabilities. To do so, head into your SpeechTexter’s settings.
1. Scroll until you find Languages and Input.
2. Select Keyboards and Input Method.
3. Then select Virtual Keyboard.
4. Select Google Voice Typing.
- Choose Offline Speech Recognition.
Here, you’ll have a list of languages. By selecting specific ones you want, it will then download those language packs.
SpeechTexter is free, but contains ads.
7. ListNote Speech-to-Text Notes
Another entry that piggybacks off of Google’s speech recognition software. ListNote Speech-to-Text Notes offers a bit of everything with categorized dictation, color organization tags, and password protected notes. Password protection is optional and only reveals the first 20 words so you can locate specific notes easily with its search feature.
ListNote Speech-to-Text Notes is completely free, but the downside is you’ll see ads.
There are dozens of speech-to-text apps that fit many niches. If you’re looking for a more business-minded form of dictation, especially if you run your own business and you aren’t afraid of its price tag, Dragon Anywhere is highly recommended.
For more niche, quick and general use dictation apps, Voice Notes and SpeechTexter are worth looking into.
If you’re looking for every-day use dictation apps, try out Speechnotes, OneNote, and ListNote Speech-to-Text Notes.
Last but not least, if you only need a dictation app for personal reminders and small notes, Google Assistant can assist you.