Using Speech on your phone

Make a call, send a text message, take a note, open an app or find something online using just your voice? You can! With Speech, you can do all these things and more.

To use Speech

  1. Press and hold the Start Start button button on your phone to start Speech. Tap HelpHelp icon to see some examples of things you can say, or say "Help" to have your phone read the examples to you.

    Speech dialogue box
    When you open Speech, your phone listens for a voice command


    When you first start Speech, we ask you if you want to enable the speech recognition service. If you accept, the words you speak and supporting data, including recent contact names, will be sent to Microsoft to provide and improve the service. You can turn it on or off at any time by going to SettingsSettings icon > Speech and tapping the Enable Speech Recognition Service checkbox. For more info about speech recognition, see the Windows Phone 8 Privacy Statement

  2. Here are some of the things you can do with your voice:

    To Say this

    Call a contact

    "Call contact name"

    (where contact name is the name of someone in your contact list)

    Example: "Call Lisa Miller"

    If the person has only one phone number in your contact card, the call will start. If there are multiple phone numbers for the contact, you'll see an option to choose which number you want to call.

    Call any phone number

    "Call phone number"

    (where phone number is any phone number, whether it's assigned to a contact or not)

    Example: "Call 07700 987654"

    Redial the last number


    Send a text message

    "Text contact name"

    (where contact name is the name of someone in your contact list)

    Example: "Text Lisa Miller"

    This will start a text message to that person, then you can say your message. When you've finished speaking, you can say "Send" to send it, "Add more" to add more info to your message or "Try again" to say your message again.

    Take a note

    "Note what you want to note"

    (where what you want to note is the text you want to include in your note)

    Example: "Note Pick up bread on the way home"

    Your note will be saved and opened in OneNote. Then you can view and edit the text in your note, or tap the Audio noteAudio note to play it.

    Call your voicemail

    "Call voicemail"

    Open an app

    "Open app" or "Start app"

    (where app is the name of any app on your phone, such as "Calendar", "Maps" or "Music", or apps you have downloaded from the Store)

    Example: "Open Calendar"

    Searching the web

    "Find search term" or "Search for search term"

    (where search term is what you're looking for)

    Example: "Find pizza"

    Bing will show you search results based on what you said, such as a map with nearby pizza places.


    • To use Speech while the phone is locked, go to SettingsSettings icon > Speech and select the Use Speech when the phone is locked checkbox.
    • If you want to cancel a Speech command, press the BackBack icon on the hardware button button on your phone or say "Cancel" on any listening screen.
    • Some apps support voice commands. To see if you have any apps on your phone that do, press and hold the Start Start button button to start Speech, tap HelpHelp icon, then flick left to Apps.


    Some voice commands, such as texting a contact or searching the web, will not work unless the speech recognition service is enabled. To turn it on, go to SettingsSettings icon > Speech, then select the Enable Speech Recognition Service checkbox.

  3. When you've finished speaking, tap Go, or just wait a couple of seconds.

Dictate an email message

When you're in email view, you can dictate an email message instead of typing it.

  1. In the App list, tap the name of your email account.

  2. Tap NewNew icon, then enter a recipient name in the To line.

  3. Tap Subject, tap SpeakSpeak icon, then say the subject.

  4. Tap in the body of the message, tap SpeakSpeak icon, then say what you want to include in the message.

  5. Tap SendSend icon.

Use Speech while in a call

You can also turn on Speech while in a call to use certain voice commands.

  • Press and hold the Start Start button button on your phone to start Speech, then say one of the following:

    • "Press number" (where number is a number from 0 to 9) to press a number on the numeric keypad in order to use voicemail or an interactive voice response menu system.
    • "Call name" (where name is the name of someone in your contact list) to put the current call on hold, then call someone else.


Using your voice to make a phone call also works through a Bluetooth headset.

Other Speech commands you can turn on

In your phone's settings, you can turn on additional Speech commands and functions, including announcing caller ID for incoming calls and texts. You can even tell your phone to read a text message you receive, then dictate and send a reply.

  1. To turn on Speech for accessibility, tap SettingsSettings icon > Ease of access, then turn on Speech for phone accessibilityOn icon. This enables the following:

    • Announcing caller ID for phone calls. When you get a call, your phone will announce the name or number of the caller.
    • Speed dialling. To assign a speed dial number, say "Save speed dial" and then follow the instructions. After you've assigned some speed dial numbers, you can use the "Call speed dial" voice command to call them. Say "Call speed dial number" (where number is the assigned speed dial number).
    • Turning call forwarding on or off using Speech. Say "Turn call forwarding on" or "Turn call forwarding off".
  2. To have your phone announce and read incoming text messages, tap SettingsSettings icon > Speech > Read aloud incoming text messages, then choose when you want to hear announcements for incoming text messages – never, always or only when using a Bluetooth and/or a wired headset.

  3. When your phone announces an incoming text, you can say "Read it" or "Ignore". Then you can dictate and send a reply.


Speech may not be available in your country or region.

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