Microsoft is now testing powerful “Voice access” feature on Windows 11. The feature has been made available to insiders in Dev channel with Build 22518.
The Voice access feature allows navigation and interaction with Windows, including opening and switching applications using your voice. It also supports browsing the web, reading and authoring mail, emulate your standard inputs like keyboard and mouse via voice.
The good news is that Voice access is supported without an internet connection. The feature currently supports English-U.S. language only, so the Windows display language should be set to English-U.S.
One can access a complete list of commands by asking “what can I say?” when voice access is listening. You can also access the complete set of voice access commands by clicking here. Read full details provided by Microsoft below.
Introducing Voice Access
Voice access is a new experience that enables everyone, including people with mobility disabilities, to control their PC and author text using their voice. For example, voice access supports scenarios like opening and switching between apps, browsing the web, and reading and authoring mail. Voice access leverages modern, on-device speech recognition to accurately recognize speech and is supported without an internet connection. Voice access supports English-U.S. language only, so the Windows display language should be set to English-U.S., otherwise voice access may not work as expected.
You can find voice access in Settings > Accessibility > Speech. When you turn on voice access for the first time, it will prompt you to download a speech model for the on-device speech recognition. Once it is downloaded, you can choose a microphone you want to use with voice access and start using your voice to control your PC.
You can choose to auto start voice access the next time you sign-in to your PC in settings. You can also use voice commands or keyboard shortcuts (Alt + Shift + C and Alt + Shift + B) to control whether voice access is listening or not listening.
To do this Say this Get voice access to start listening to you “Voice access wake up”, “Unmute” Put voice access to sleep
(It’ll only respond to “voice access wake up” command)
“Voice access sleep”, “Mute” Completely stop voice access from listening to you
(You can use mouse or keyboard to click on the microphone button to change its state)
“Turn off microphone”
Voice access includes an interactive guide that explains how to complete common tasks using your voice.
In addition to the interactive guide, you can access a complete list of commands by asking “what can I say?” when voice access is listening. You can also access the complete set of voice access commands here.
Voice access gives real-time feedback of what voice access heard so that you know which word was not recognized correctly.
Navigate Windows with your voice
You can navigate and interact with Windows, including opening and switching applications using your voice. You can also emulate your standard inputs like keyboard and mouse via voice.
For example, the following table includes how to complete common tasks:
To do this Say this Open a new application “Open [application name],” e.g., “Open Edge,” “Open Word” Switch to an active application “Switch to [application name] ,” e.g., “Switch to Edge” Manage your Windows “Minimize window,” “Maximize window,” “Close window” Click an item, like a button or a link “Click [item name],” e.g., “Click Start,” “Click Cancel” Right click an item “Right-click [item name],” e.g. “Right click Start” Double clicks an item “Double click [item name],” e.g., “Double click Recycle Bin” Scroll in a specific direction “Scroll down” or “Start scrolling down” Press a key or key combination “Press Escape,” “Press and Hold Shift,” “Press tab 3 times”
Voice access number overlays make it possible to interact with items which don’t have a name and they also put you in control when there are more than one matching items to a command.
To do this Say this Show number overlays “Show numbers” or “Show numbers here” Click a numbered item “Click [number]”, e.g., “Click 1”, “Double click 1”, “Right click 1” Hide number overlays “Hide Numbers,” “Cancel”
In addition, to interact with inaccessible UI and achieve precise mouse movement with grid overlay:
To do this Say this Show the grid “Show grid” or “Show grid here” Drill down into the grid “[Grid number],” e.g., “1” Click an item at the centre of a grid “Click [grid number],” e.g., “Click 1” Mark an object to drag “Mark [grid number],” e.g., “Mark 1” Drop the marked object into a location “Drag”
Author text with your voice
In addition to navigating Windows, you can dictate and edit text with voice access:
To do this Say this Insert text in a text box “[Text]”, e.g., “hello world” Select the last text you dictated “Select that” Select specific text in a text box “Select [text]”, e.g., “select hello world” Select previous or next character(s) or word(s) or line(s) or paragraph(s) “Select next word”, “select previous two lines” Delete the selected text or last dictated text “Delete that” Delete specific text in a text box “Delete [text]”, e.g., “delete hello world” Capitalize the first letter of a word “Capitalize [word]”, e.g., “capitalize hello” Capitalize all the letters of a word “Uppercase [word]”, e.g., “uppercase hello” Change all the letters in a word to lowercase “Lowercase [word]”, e.g., lowercase hello” Place cursor before/after specific text “Move before [text]”, e.g., “Move before hello world” Move cursor to beginning/end of a word or a line or a paragraph “Go to beginning of line”, “go to end of paragraph”
Tips for best recognition quality:
- Try to speak as clearly as you can
- Work in an environment with minimal ambient background noise if possible
- To prevent system audio (e.g., media playback or people speaking on a call) from being picked up by voice access, it is recommended to use headphones/earbuds or mute your system audio when voice access is actively listening
Be sure to check the known issues section below for known issues with voice access. We look forward to you trying out voice access and would love to hear your feedback and suggestions in Feedback Hub (Win + F) under Accessibility > Voice access. You can find the link to the Feedback Hub on the voice access help menu as well – use the voice command “Open Voice access help” > “Click Give feedback” to get there.