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How to Use Siri Speech-to-Text on iPad and iPhone to Dictate Articles and Blogs

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No more hours of typing away...

No more hours of typing away...

Siri Speech-to-Text on iPad & iPhone

I have been an iPad owner for a few months now and am already sold on all the cool things it can do.

Apple released a new updated operating system to the iPad and iPhone: iOS 6. This alerted me to the existence of a function called Siri which allows you to control your iPad and iPhone using voice commands. This speech-to-text feature of Siri was originally introduced on iOS 5.1 for the iPhone 4s and came preinstalled on the new iPad; however, the update to iOS 6 has apparently improved its functionality and accuracy.

I write professionally. After a few hours, I realize how great it would be if I could use Siri speech-to-text as a dictation device and speak rather than type my articles. This article is my first effort at doing just that.

How to Set Up Speech-to-Text for Siri

First, let me quickly describe how to get Siri up and running on your iPad or iPhone.

You can use Siri speech-to-text on pretty much any app that has a keyboard and is running iOS 5.1 or above. You also need an internet connection to use voice dictation because of the high levels of data processing power required for natural language processing. This shouldn’t be a problem on the iPhone as you will probably have a data package included with your tariff; however iPad users might be limited to using Siri speech to text at home.

  1. First go to settings> General > Keyboard> Dictation and enable Siri.
  2. Once enabled, a small microphone button will appear next to the space bar. Simply press this button. A pink bar will appear on the microphone to show it is on.
  3. Speak, press the button again to turn it off, and your words will magically appear on the screen.

Fantastic! Well nearly anyway…

Microphone icon: Look for this icon on your keyboard.

Microphone icon: Look for this icon on your keyboard.

How Does Siri Speech-to-Text Perform?

The first time I used Siri speech to text the words that appeared on the screen didn’t even resemble what I had said, however after a bit of trial and error I realized that it was much more to do with my generally poor diction, speaking too fast, slurring, etc.

You really need to speak clearly and slowly, but once you get that the hang of it it’s amazing how accurately it picks up what you say. It obviously struggles with some complicated words and some not-so-complicated words but generally, I was very impressed.

I found that when dictating through Siri speech to text, I would get most of the text right, but punctuation was difficult. There is a whole dictionary of commands for full stops, commas, brackets, paragraphs, etc. but until you have actually learned all these it makes the whole punctuation side of things challenging.

I found myself having to go over the text after it was written to correct some of the words and add punctuation. The result was that it probably took me longer to write this article than it would if I had typed it up. “frowny”. :(

That said the quality towards the end of the article had significantly improved so I was obviously getting better. It really is a case of practice makes perfect. The more you use Siri to dictate and the better you learn the punctuation, the quicker, easier and more accurate your results will be.

This is what you'll see

This is what you'll see

What Do You Need and What Else Can You Do?

To make the most of Siri speech-to-text, you also need an app to actually write in. You could use Notes, Notability, or there are several free or paid apps like Dragon Dictation which are dedicated dictation packages. I tried several of these options and found that the quality of voice capture varied wildly.

I found Dragon Dictation to be the worst and found that the best results came from using the messages app. I’d open a new message, address it to myself, and speak away. When I had finished, I’d email it to myself, touch up the text and punctuation, and off you go. Remarkably easy.

Another way you could use Siri speech-to-text on your iPhone or iPad is to dictate directly into an iPhone or iPad blogging app. As long as Siri is enabled, the microphone icon will appear on your keyboard. I have never tried to write an article on an iPhone, but I would imagine that it would be a real pain using such a small keyboard and trying to negotiate through corrective text. Using speech-to-text would eliminate much of that pain and you could literally blog on the move.

Using Siri Speech-to-Text in Other Languages

Siri speech-to-text also allows you to dictate to other languages. This can be done by going to Settings> General>keyboard>Keyboards>Add new keyboard. Add the keyboard for the language you would like to speak, French for instance, and then speak away in French and Siri will pick it all up seamlessly. Although I doubt it could do much with my awful French accent so I imagine native speakers would do much better. There are also numerous translation apps like Google Translate that can do this sort of thing, these could also be worth a go.

What Would You Say to Siri to Write a Summary?

When speaking to Siri, you'll need to use words for punctuation. Here is an example of what you'd say:

In summary comma if you are serious about dictating your articles and blogs comma then Siri could be the future period It probably took me a little longer than typing comma but this was the first time I tried it comma and I'm sure there is great room for improvement period I will definitely persevere as I think this could really revolutionize the way we write articles period new line new line I'm obviously improving comma as I managed this paragraph comma punctuation and all period period period new line new line Please leave a comment to let me know if you have any luck with Siri yourself period

Siri Speech to Text Commands (How to Speak to Siri)

SayTo do this

new line

go to next line, like return

new paragraph

start a new paragraph


to make the next word start with a capital letter

caps on … caps off

to make all words start with capital letters

all caps

makes the next word all upper case

all caps on … all caps off

all words between the 2 commands will be all capital letters

no caps

makes the next word all lower case

no caps on … no caps off

makes all words between the 2 commands appear in lower case

“period” or “full stop”

enters a period or full stop


, enters a comma

double comma

,, enters 2 commas



quote … end quote

quote.. Say quotation … end quote


adds an apostrophe

exclamation point

! Adds an exclamation point

inverted exclamation point

¡ adds and inverted exclamation point

question mark

? Adds a question mark

inverted question mark

¿ adds an inverted question mark


& - adds an ampersand


* - adds an asterisk

open parenthesis

( - adds an open parenthesis

close parenthesis

) - adds an close parenthesis

open bracket

[ - adds an open bracket

close bracket

] - adds a close bracket

open brace

{ - adds an open brace

close brace

} - adds an close brace


- adds a hyphen

em dash

— - adds a em dash


_ - adds an underscore

percent sign

% - adds a percent sign

copyright sign

© - adds a copyright sign

registered sign

® - adds a registered sign

section sign

§ - adds a section sign

dollar sign

$ - adds a dollar sign

cent sign

¢ - adds a cent sign

euro sign

€ - adds a euro sign

yen sign

¥ - adds a yen sign

degree sign

° - adds a degree sign


^ - adds a caret

at sign

@ - adds a at sign

pound sterling sign

£ - adds a pound sterling sign

pound sign

# - adds a pound sign

greater than sign

>  - adds a greater than sign

less than sign

<  - adds a less than sign

forward slash

/ - adds a forward slash

back slash

\ - adds a back slash

vertical bar

| - adds a vertical bar

“smiley face”

- adds a smiley face

“frowny face”

- adds a frowny face

“winky face”

- adds a winky face

e g

e.g. - adds an e g

I e

i.e. - adds an I e



This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 dommcg


DeAnna on September 17, 2018:

Thank you for posting this--very helpful!

Harshit on October 15, 2017:

In case Siri typed something wrong , how can I delete it

E- on December 31, 2016:

I really just want a setting to where you can automatically use keyboard to talk to Siri; cause some people are unable to speak. It would be way easier for me.

dommcg (author) on September 28, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by, Siri is a great tool that really gets underused.

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on September 16, 2013:

Really informative and helpful. Expect more such hubs. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Roman on June 13, 2013:

I wondered about microphone icon too.

so i have made research on it and posted my results here: it might be helpful for you.

dommcg (author) on February 14, 2013:

Thanks, i hope they help you to use Siri more effectively.

Samith Jhon from Los Angeles, California on February 14, 2013:

Your hub give me valuable information and I will try to use these tips.

dommcg (author) on January 18, 2013:

Thanks Geovanni, i took me a while to get to grips with it, but it has really revolutionised the way i write. You're a braver man than me if you attempting to use it in different languages. Good luck and thanks for the comment.

Geovanni Redido on January 18, 2013:

I got my iPad4 last few days and I am really having fun with SIRI. Thanks for this hub. Good experiences shared are the best teacher. The commands are also very very useful.

I am using as many language as I can to learn also the correct pronunciation especially, Frence, German, Korean and Japanese.

dommcg (author) on November 27, 2012:

Thanks for the update Rain Defence. I still use Siri as i find i've got a lot quicker at it now. At first it's a bit of a struggle, but when you've dictated a few hubs or articles and you have learned the punctuation it can really make life easier.

Rain Defence from UK on November 26, 2012:

Are you still using Siri then? I found that after a bit of experimentation with Siri, I don't find myself using it any more. Maybe I will in its next incarnation when it is a little more advanced.

dommcg (author) on November 13, 2012:

Thanks for the comment Kerdon. I use it a lot now, let me know if it saves you any time.

Kerdon from Ireland on November 13, 2012:

Just tried it out on my iPhone - it works remarkably well.

dommcg (author) on November 12, 2012:

Thanks Yogakat, i've found it very useful, it can be a bit of a struggle at first, but once you've had a few goesit can save a huge amount of time.

YogaKat from Oahu Hawaii on November 12, 2012:

Useful and interesting info . . . gonna give it a try. I am Siriʻs biggest fan when it comes to driving and directions.

dommcg (author) on November 01, 2012:

Thanks DoctorDarts, it's also good for putting the initial structure together, planning your main themes and then finishing it off and editting it on your computer. Cheers

DoctorDarts on November 01, 2012:

Good post. Could be useful for writing with say, your headphones plugged in whilst moving around your home working on stuff...yet writing at the same time.

dommcg (author) on October 10, 2012:

Excellent point Rain Defence. The beauty is that it is already integrated into their app. If Siri is installed then you can start a new hub on your iPhone or iPad start Siri and speak away. Your voice will then be captured as speech, much easier than typing away on a tiny screen.

Rain Defence from UK on October 10, 2012:

I think hubpages could integrate this into their app. Well I don't know if they could but its got to be worth a go eh?

dommcg (author) on October 09, 2012:

Thanks Liz, I think with a bit of practice it could really speed up the whole hubbing and writing process.

Eunice Elizabeth from Vancouver, BC on October 09, 2012:

Fabulous idea !! I am an Apple fan...just got the Iphone 5.

I did give Android a try with my tablet, ummm don't like it.

Ipad is my next purchase so i can give this fabulous Siri dictation a go.

Thanks for the command legend.

Voted useful & up