Outlook has included dictation capabilities for some time, and users love that it makes emailing faster and more natural. This past summer, Microsoft announced new voice commands that take email dictation in Outlook to the next level. Check out these new commands, along with a review of some favorite Outlook dictation features you may have yet to discover.

Accessing Email Dictation in Outlook Features

First, a quick review of the basics. To access the dictation features, create a new email or reply to an existing email. Then click the Dictate button (with the microphone icon) on the Message tab. Start talking. Speak clearly and conversationally. You can pause when you need to. And if you pause longer than 20 seconds, Outlook will pause the dictation feature automatically.

Use logical commands for formatting. For instance, you can say commands like the following:

  • “delete” – to delete the word or punctuation mark just before the cursor
  • “underline last sentence”
  • “start numbered list” or “exit list”

To access the dictation feature, users just need a stable internet connection, a Microsoft 365 subscription and a device or computer with a mic.

Email Dictation in Outlook

Easily Add Email Recipients

Users can now add email recipients using the following simple commands from anywhere in the email:

  • “add [name] to email”
  • “add [name] to cc line” / “cc [name]”
  • and “add [name] to bcc line” / “bcc [name]”

The “[name]” command supports first names as well as full names. For example, when you say “cc Jane,” Outlook will look for the first Jane in your contact list and add that recipient to the CC line.

Use @mention to Tag a Contact

In a similar fashion, users can highlight a contact using the voice command “at mention [name].” This prompts several actions. First, Outlook adds the mentioned contact to the To: line of the email if they were not included previously.

Next, Outlook highlights the mentioned contact’s name in blue in the message. The mentioned contact will also see an @ flag next to the message in their inbox. Users can easily filter their inbox to display mentioned mail and respond as needed.

Send an Email Hands-free

With the ability to send an email via voice command, users can interact with email completely hands free. Simply dictate your email, including recipient names. Then say “send email.” When the “Ready to send it?” dialog box appears, say “Yes.”

Effortless Punctuation

Users have two options for adding punctuation. Many users have grown accustomed to saying the name of the punctuation mark as part of the dictated sentence. For instance, “Remember to order plates comma cups and napkins period” results in “Remember to order plates, cups and napkins.”

Email dictation in Outlook also offers an auto punctuation feature. With auto punctuation, Outlook adds commas or periods according to the speaker’s pauses. To turn auto punctuation on or off, click the Dictate button on the Message tab. Then click the Settings icon and select or deselect Enable Auto-punctuation.

Email Dictation in Outlook

Enhanced Email Dictation in Outlook Mobile

In June, Microsoft announced new capabilities for Outlook mobile. Currently available for IOS, these features will soon come to Android devices, as well. In addition to email dictation, the new capabilities use AI to determine the context of your voice commands and respond appropriately.

For example, you can tap the microphone icon in Outlook and say “Set up a meeting with Chris Hale for Tuesday at 9:00am to discuss marketing budget.” Outlook will find the Chris on your contact list and create the invitation. Quickly review the invitation, say “send it,” and go on your way.

In addition, users can now use voice commands to conduct a natural language search. For instance, you could say, “Find email from Harriet about yearly budget meeting.”

Get the Most Out of Your Outlook Experience

Microsoft continues to make enhancements to its Microsoft 365 applications to drive productivity and strengthen security. The Outlook experts at Messaging Architects can help your organization take full advantage of the features available.

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