FIX: Oops there was a problem with dictation in Office

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Having the chance to control your computer by voice seemed like an unearthly scenario a few years ago. That’s no longer the case.
  • If you experience dictation issues in Office applications, let us tell you from the start that there are several methods to address them.
  • Running the Speech troubleshooter and inspecting mic drivers are often successful. However, you may choose to use a voice recorder such as Adobe Audition for professional quality.
  • Don’t hesitate to access our dedicated PC Software Hub for more interesting articles. 
Oops there was a problem with dictation in Office fixes

Using speech instead of typing has more than one advantage. Lots of users strongly prefer dictation and, even though it’s still an unbrushed feature, it’s getting better with some help from AI technology.

Let’s take Microsoft Office as an example. Once you get used to it, it’s much easier to dictate your text to Word than to write it down for some users.

Sadly, some users run into issues with dictation as the Oops, there was a problem with dictation suddenly appeared. There are various reasons for this occurrence and we made sure to try and fix it in the steps below.

How can I fix dictation issues in Office applications?

  1. Use a voice recorder instead: Adobe Audition
  2. Run the Speech troubleshooter
  3. Inspect mic drivers
  4. Repair Office installation
  5. Reinstall Office

1. Use a voice recorder instead: Adobe Audition

install Adobe Audition

Instead of having to deal with the message stating Oops there was a problem with dictation, using a voice recorder seems like a better option to take into consideration.

You need to know from the very start that the industry’s most powerful tool for audio digital editing can be mastered with ease even by newbies.

Therefore, fear not if you lack any previous experience. Adobe targets the music enthusiast audience with its impressive digital audio workstation tool, yet its capabilities go far beyond the musical field.

Keep in mind that you may switch between different sharp-looking interface layouts with ease. Moreover, you grab the app through the Creative Cloud suite.

This means that you’ll get the chance to quickly manage all your Adobe products from a single place, which sounds like heaven if other Adobe apps are already part of your routine.

Download Adobe Audition free here

2. Run the Speech troubleshooter

Let’s start by eliminating your mic as a possible instigator. The first step you can try is using the built-in Speech troubleshooter. This troubleshooter should run a series of tests in order to find out whether your mic is properly configured or not.

It might not help you overcome the issue if drivers are at stake. That requires a manual approach.

Here’s how to run Speech troubleshooter in Windows 10:

  1. Press Windows key + I to open Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.
  3. Select Troubleshoot from the left pane.
  4. Expand the Speech troubleshooter and click Run the troubleshooter.speech troubleshooter

3. Inspect mic drivers and permissions

The second important thing we’ll need to inspect before moving to Office-related troubleshooting is the mic driver. Most recording devices will work immediately as Windows Update will deal with drivers.

However, that’s not always the case so you’ll need to install them manually. For starters, let’s reinstall generic drivers and move from there:

  1. Right-click Start and open Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Audio Inputs and Outputs section.device manager audio inputs and outputs
  3. Right-click on your mic (or mics if you see multiple devices) and choose the Uninstall device option.
  4. Reboot your PC and get back to Device Manager.
  5. Drivers should update automatically but you can always do it manually by right-clicking on the mic in the aforementioned section and installing the drivers.

Windows Update also tends to breaks drivers, so rolling back is not exactly a bad idea. On the other hand, the best way to make sure is by acquiring drivers from the OEM’s support website.

Once we’ve dealt with drivers, let’s check permissions. Make sure that Office has permission to access your mic. You can do so by following these instructions:

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Choose Privacy.
  3. Select Microphone from the left pane.
  4. Under the Choose which apps can access your microphone, toggle on the Office.

4. Repair Office installation

If the audio recording device isn’t an actual problem, we can move to Office troubleshooting. The best way to resolve all and every Office issues is by repairing the installation.

This is a common solution and it won’t take too much of your precious time. As many other cases showed, the installation of 365 Office and its predecessors tend to go corrupt.

That’s why we suggest navigating to Control Panel and repairing the installation. Here’s how to do it:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type Control and open Control Panel.
  2. Choose Uninstall a program.
  3. Right-click on the Office and click Repair.

5. Reinstall Office

Finally, if none of the previous steps helped you address the problem, we suggest performing a clean reinstallation. You can find the setup on the official Office website and download it rather simply.

But, beforehand, let’s uninstall Office from your PC by following steps from the previous solution. Instead of choosing Repair, select Uninstall from the contextual menu.

After that, just run the installer and sign in with your credentials. After that, you should be able to use dictation in Office programs without any further issues.

On the other hand, if you’re still unable to do so, consider contacting the official support and stating your issue.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Just in case you have any alternative solutions or possibly a question or two, don’t forget to post them in the comments section below. We’ll be glad to hear from you.

FAQ: Learn more about dictation in Office

  • Does Windows 10 have dictation?

Yes, it does. To start dictating, simply select a text field and press the Windows key + H keyboard shortcut to open the dictation toolbar.

  • Why is dictation not working on Word?

With a little research, many users discovered that dictation is not working on Word due to faulty mic drivers and permissions. Refer to this dedicated article for handy fixes.

  • Why does dictation not work on Mac?

As a first step dictation doesn’t work on Mac, check microphone settings. You may also go to the Dictation tab and disable this feature, then re-enable it for a fresh start.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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