60+ dictation commands available on your iPhone or iPad

I use the dictation feature on my iPhone a lot – far more than I use Siri really. In fact, it sometimes seems that Siri and the keyboard dictation uses different voice recognition engines as what you access via the keyboard icon is often far more accurate.

In case you are not aware, the dictation is available on your iPhone or iPad everytime you use a keyboard. It is accessed by clicking on the small microphone icon to the left of the space bar.

Dictation Keyboard Icon

Although less private, dictating is far faster than typing with your thumbs. The trick is to know all of the commands that your phone understands and so I thought I’d compile a list from every source I could find. This should be the complete list, but if you find any others that are not here – please let me know in the comments or via my contact page.

The complete list of iPhone and iPad dictation commands.

Command Result
New line New line (next line)
New paragraph New paragraph (will have a gap between lines)
Space bar
Cap Capitalise the next word
Caps on.. [section of text] ..caps off Capitalise a section of text
No caps Make the next word lowercase
No caps on.. [section of text] ..no caps off Next section of text that you speak will not be capitalised
All caps Make the next word all uppercase
No space on.. [section of text] ..no space off Prevent a section of text from having spaces between words
Period or Full stop .
Quote or “quotation mark”
Semi-colon ;
Apostrophe
Colon :
Comma ,
Double comma ,,
Question mark ?
Inverted question mark ¿
Exclamation point !
Inverted exclamation point ¡
Forward slash /
Back slash \
Open quote
Close quote
Open parenthesis (
Close parenthesis )
Open brace {
Close brace }
Open bracket [
Close bracket ]
Dash
Hyphen
Em dash
Underscore _
Cent sign ¢
Euro sign
Pound sign £
Dollar sign $
Yen sign ¥
Point .
Dot .
Ellipsis or “dot dot dot”
Equal sign =
Greater than sign >
Less than sign <
Percent sign %
Ampersand &
Asterisk *
At sign @
Hashtag #
Copyright sign ©
Registered sign ®
Degree sign °
Caret ^
Section sign §
Trademark sign
Vertical bar |
Frowny or “frowny face” or “frown face” 🙁
Smiley or “smiley face” or “smile face” 🙂
Winky or “winky face” or “wink face” 😉
E.g. (pronounced as “e g”) e.g.
i.e. (pronounced as “i e”) i.e.

 

I’ve also uploaded these dictation commands as a PNG or PDF for future reference.

22 Comments

  1. Hi Matt, nice article thanks. What about backspace and delete some commands deletion commands, any ideas since I haven’t found anything best Charles

  2. As well , thanks Matt, have same need as Charles–for backspace, delete letter / word / sentence parGraph. Voice commands. Any clue if thesis inthey works for inbuilt dictation on the iPad Pro ?
    Richard

  3. Lovely. Thank you so much. [I think there’s a typo on the ‘degree sign’.]
    Piers.
    Yes, it would be nice to have a delete or backspace command.

  4. Hi Cynthia

    I’ve had a look around and it doesn’t seem that you can add bullets. I think that the reason for this, at least for now, is that the focus here is more about “voice to text” and a bit less on formatting – you also can’t add bold or italics.

    However, you could use either the dash or the asterisk to at least simulate bullets in the text your are creating perhaps?

    “this is a list of bullets, new paragraph, asterisk this is bullet one, new line, asterisk this is bullet two, new paragraph”

    Hope this helps,
    Matt

  5. Hi Linda.

    I couldn’t get “star” to create an asterisk when I tried it just now, but will have another look and update this post when I can get it working.

    Thanks for commenting.
    Matt

  6. Not that I have found. This should be dealt with by Siri/Apple with their natural language processing technology but I appreciate that it doesn’t always get it right.

  7. Have you experimented with these commands in iOS 11?

    I have not been able to get the No Space On/Off Or No Caps On/Off. to work at all.

  8. thanks for all the info Matt! I’ve run into a problem – my iPhone has refused to display “Erin” when dictating a text message and instead replaces it with “Aaron” 100% of the time. I’ve done the “shortcut” trick to auto replace “Aaron” with “Erin” but this works only when text has been manually entered – and does not work when the text appears through dictation. I’ve been dealing with this problem for 2 years (only way I know to get around it is having to spell out each letter individually to get the name Erin to appear, even then the system places a blue underline below it and wants me to change it to Aaron, totally sexist! Just kidding!! I would find that joke a lot more funny had it not caused so much frustration for me over the last 2 years) So ANY help I can get would be great!!!

  9. Hi. Try the following – I’ve just tested this and it seems to work fine.

    1. Add a contact in your iPhone Contacts app with the first name of the word how you want it spelled (e.g. Erin). If you already have this person as a contact, skip to the next step.
    2. After typing in the first name, scroll to the bottom & tap “add field” then tap “Phonetic First Name”. Scroll back up and you’ll have a new field under the name of phonetic first name.
    3. Tap that phonetic first name field and dictate in the word. This will tell the voice capture how the name “sounds” then tap done to save it. (It could be typed, but dictation ensures you get the spelling matched precisely.)
    4. Double-tap the home button to bring up the app switching screen. Swipe up over the Contacts app to force close it. Also, swipe up over whatever app you want to use voice dictation with immediately, to close that too. This forces the apps to reload the settings for dictation ASAP so your fix is ready for use.

  10. Yes, there does seem to be a problem in iOS11 – certainly with British English dictation.. seems like they have messed around with it for some reason.

  11. Hi Chad – use Siri to send the message rather than the keyboard dictation (e.g. “Send a text to Chad”).. you can then dictate the message and then Siri will ask if you want to send it.

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