I am dealing with physical problems from the keyboard/mouse, so discovering Apple dictation has been amazing. However, I work a lot in Google Docs and Gmail... and Google Chrome (or any web browser) does not let me use all of the commands that Apple's dictation provides. It's missing essential selection, navigation and editing commands that are available when using an Apple app like TextEdit. Those commands are essential for moving the cursor around and making fixes without the keyboard. The only solution that's been working for me has been to type in TextEdit, and then to copy and paste into the browser. But this is not a real solution.

It would be nice to stick with the native (and free) Apple dictation software on the mac, so does anyone have an idea to get these dictation commands to work in a web browser for use with gmail and google docs?

Edit: I found that Safari lets you use Apple's dictation with gmail, but still not with Google Docs.

  • Chrome doesn't follow the Mac toolbox structure like Safari or TextEdit does. I've not tested, but that may be your solution.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 29, 2016 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


Google docs uses a custom javascript application that disables the services component of the Mac (that lets the built in Mac voice dictation work.). If you want to use voice dictation in Google Docs, you have to use there build in functionally, and you MUST use Google Chrome.

From Google:

For an easy way to put words on a page, you can type with your voice in a document. At the moment, this feature is only available in Chrome browsers.

Here's how to activate the type with your voice function for Google Docs.

  1. In a Chrome browser, open a Google Docs document.
  2. Click the Tools menu -> Voice typing...
    Go to Tools menu, then click Voice typing.
  3. A pop-up microphone box will appear. When you are ready to speak your text, click the microphone or press Cmd + Shift + S on your keyboard.
    Grey mic icon in a box will show up on the left edge of screen.
  4. If this is the first time you've let Chrome use your microphone you will get a little pop-up from the top of the screen asking to OK Chrome using your microphone. Hit Allow to enable the microphone in Chrome.
    First time use pop up, hit Allow to use.
  5. Once you click in the Click to Speak box, the mic icon will turn orange and appear in a circle.
    Click grey mic icon, mic enabled turns orange
  6. You can now dictate into your Google Docs. As you do the mic icon will show when it detects sound with an outer ring.
    Mic Animation Talking
  7. When you're finished, click the microphone again.

From Google:

While voice typing in Google Docs is only available on computers, many Android and iOS phones and tablets have built-in microphones that you can use with a document. Look for the microphone icon on your mobile keyboard.

For more information you can check out the Google Help Documentation here:
Typing With Your Voice.

  • That's nice, but google's voice typing also lacks selection, navigation and editing commands. And it leaves you stuck inside Google docs without being able to use Apple dictation for other things, like controlling applications on the mac Jan 29, 2016 at 22:24
  • @JonathanCakes unfortunately that's the best solution I've been able to come up with when working with Google Docs. It's all on Google and the way they developed Google Docs. People blame Apple for not letting it work, but everything I can find points to Google not letting it work in the underlying code. Just try doing a standard Right Mouse Click in Google Docs. You can't because they've disabled that as well. It's one of the main reason why I do all my "typing" outside of Google Docs, and copy and past it in. If I compute up with an alternative solution I'll post it put here.
    – kenjikato
    Jan 30, 2016 at 0:38
  • I appreciate that very much. You inspired me to try again with other browsers and I found that using Safari, Apple's dictation works fine in Gmail. But sadly, not Google Docs like you said. Jan 31, 2016 at 4:25

You can make custom commands for any key bindings you would use in Gmail and Google Docs. For example, here is a command for moving the cursor to the end of the line in Gmail.

enter image description here

You can find this menu under Accessibility>Dictation>Dictation commands>+

So, so long as you have key bindings for the stuff that you want, you will be able to manually create voice commands. There are lots of key bindings for Gmail, and I believe with some investigation you could find Chrome add-ons for navigating links within pages.

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