Hands-free

Windows 11 Voice Access lets control your PC with your voice

You can control the entire Windows 11 with your voice using the new Voice Access feature.

Windows 11 Voice Access

Microsoft introduces Voice Access, a new Windows 11 feature that enables anyone (including people with mobility disabilities) to control their laptop or desktop computer using their voice.

The feature is available starting build 22518, and when using it, you can use your voice to open and switch apps, browse the web, dictate emails, and much more. The best part is that the feature uses on-device speech recognition to recognize speech, and it even works when there’s not an internet connection.

The feature only supports the English-U.S. language, which means that the Windows display language should be set to English-U.S. Otherwise, the feature may not work as expected.

You can turn on Voice Access from Settings > Accessibility > Speech. If you are setting it up for the first time, you will need to download a speech model for the on-device speech recognition. Once the package has been downloaded, you can choose a microphone to use your voice to control Windows 11.

Voice Access settings
Voice Access settings

The Speech settings page also includes an option to auto-start Voice Access the next time you sign in. 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.

Here’s the list of commands you can say with Voice Access:

  • “Voice access wake up”, “Unmute”: Get voice access to start listening to you.
  • “Voice access sleep”, “Mute”: Put voice access to sleep.
  • “Turn off microphone”: Completely stop voice access from listening to you.

You can learn about how to use the feature using the interactive guide, where you will also find a list of all the commands to use with Voice Access.

Voice Access guide
Voice Access guide

Navigating the Windows 11 experience is quite simple. Here are a few commands you can say:

  • “Open [application name],” for example, “Open Edge,” “Open Word”: Open a new application.
  • “Switch to [application name],” for example, “Switch to Edge”: Switch to an active application.
  • “Minimize window,” “Maximize window,” “Close window”: Manage your Windows.
  • “Click [item name],” for example, “Click Start,” “Click Cancel”: Click an item, like a button or a link.
  • “Right-click [item name],” for example “Right-click Start”: Right-click an item.
  • “Double click [item name],” for example, “Double click Recycle Bin”: Double click an item.
  • “Scroll down” or “Start scrolling down”: Scroll in a specific direction.
  • “Press Escape,” “Press and Hold Shift,” “Press tab three times”: Press a key or key combination.

If there are items without names, you can still interact with them using the number overlay feature with these commands:

  • “Show numbers” or “Show numbers here”: Show number overlays.
  • “Click [number]”, for example, “Click 1”, “Double click 1”, “Right-click 1”: Click a numbered item.
  • “Hide Numbers,” “Cancel”: Hide number overlays.
Show numbers command
Show numbers command

These commands will let you interact with inaccessible UI and achieve precise mouse movement with grid overlay:

  • “Show grid” or “Show grid here”: Show the grid.
  • “[Grid number],” for example, “1”: Drill down into the grid.
  • “Click [grid number],” for example, “Click 1”: Click an item at the center of a grid.
  • “Mark [grid number],” for example, “Mark 1”: Mark an object to drag.
  • “Drag”: Drop the marked object into a location.
Show grid command
Show grid command

On Windows 11, Voice Access also lets you dictate and edit text with your voice using these commands:

  • “[Text]”, for example, “hello world”: Insert text in a text box.
  • “Select that”: Select the last text you dictated.
  • “Select [text]”, for example, “select hello world”: Select specific text in a text box.
  • “Select next word”, “select previous two lines”: Select previous or next character(s) or word(s) or line(s) or paragraph(s).
  • “Delete that”: Delete the selected text or last dictated text.
  • “Delete [text]”, for example, “delete hello world”: Delete specific text in a text box.
  • “Capitalize [word]”, for example, “capitalize hello”: Capitalize the first letter of a word.
  • “Uppercase [word]”, for example, “uppercase hello”: Capitalize all the letters of a word.
  • “Lowercase [word]”, for example, lowercase hello”: Change all the letters in a word to lowercase.
  • “Move before [text]”, for example, “Move before hello world”: Place cursor before/after the specific text.
  • “Go to beginning of line”, “go to end of paragraph”: Move cursor to beginning/end of a word or a line or a paragraph.

The new feature is still a work in progress, and Microsoft points that to get the experience, you need to try to speak clearly, work in an environment with minimal background noise, and it’s recommended to use headphones to prevent the system from picking up system sounds.