Siri dictation guide

A visual guide to the most popular dictation Siri commands to use with your Apple device. Ideal if you want to use text dictation on your iPhone.

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

Dictation can be used on any Apple device with Siri installed. From the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers, through to the HomePod and Apple Watch.

Dictation can be used instead of a keyboard for entering text into many default and third-party apps.

Below is a visual guide listing many of the most popular dictation commands you can use with Siri. Ideal if you want to try text dictation on your device for sending messages, emails, or taking notes.

If you’ve used any kind of voice recognition software before, many of these commands will be familiar.

Enable dictation on your iPhone

Ensure Dictation is turned on by opening the Settings app and tapping Keyboard > Enable Dictation. The switch should be toggled to the On position.

Enable Dictation

How to dictate text using Siri

You can trigger dictation by using the “Hey Siri” voice command or by tapping the microphone icon at the bottom right of your device’s keyboard when it is active.

Hey Siri, dictate a text message
Dictation Microphone

If you specify a specific task that involved a particular app, Siri will automatically ask you what you want to say without the need to mention dictation.

Hey Siri, send an email to my sister

As you talk, the words you speak appear on the screen. To finish your dictation, stop speaking, then tap the keyboard button iPhone keyboard.

Making dictation corrections

If Siri isn’t sure about a word it heard, a blue line will appear underneath it, then you can check it for accuracy.

  • To make a correction, tap on the underlined word, then select the correct spelling.
  • To replace a word, double-tap it, tap the microphone button, say it again, then tap the keyboard button to stop dictation.
  • To replace a section, select what you want to replace, then tap the microphone button and speak again, then tap the keyboard button to stop dictation.
  • To add more text, tap where you want to add new text, tap the microphone button, then speak again, then tap the keyboard button to stop dictation.

Deleting text using Siri dictation

Dictation on iOS doesn’t include a way to delete letters, words, or lines of text. However, from iOS 13 upwards, an accessibility feature called Voice Control can be enabled. This opens up many more ways to communicate with your iPhone verbally, one of them being the ability to delete text while dictating.

To enable Voice Control:

  • Open Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control.
  • Toggle to On.

How to change the dictation language

To change the language that dictation uses on your iPhone, press and hold the microphone button when the keyboard is showing, then slide your finger up to select the language you want to use.

Siri Dictation Commands List

When dictating, you can include punctuation and formatting by saying what you want as you speak. For example:

Hi Jane comma I will be there soon exclamation mark

…becomes…

Hi Jane, I will be there soon!

Basic formatting

Command Action
New line Move to the next line
New paragraph Start a new paragraph
Cap Capitalize the next word
Example I like 'cap' sunshine > I like Sunshine
Caps on ... caps off Capitalize a section of text
Example 'caps on' twenty types of flower 'caps off' > 20 Types of Flower
All caps on ... all caps off Make part of what you say uppercase
Example I 'all caps on' love summer 'all caps off' > I LOVE SUMMER
No caps Make the next word lowercase
Example I like 'no caps' Capitals > I like capitals
No caps on ... no caps off Make sure part of what you say is all lowercase
Example We like the cities 'no caps' London and Sydney 'no caps off' the most > We like the cities london and sydney the most
Space bar Prevent a hyphen from appearing in a normally hyphenated word
No space Prevent a space between words
No space on ... no space off Prevent a section of text from having spaces between words

Punctuation

Command Action
"Period" or "full stop" Place a "." at the end of a sentence
Dot .
Example The number pi is three 'dot' one four > The number pi is 3.14
Point .
Example The 'point' number pi is three 'point' one four > The point number pi 3.14 (note the subtle difference between saying 'point' and 'dot' dot works between words)
"Ellipsis" or "dot dot dot" ...
Comma ,
Double comma ,,
"Quote" or "quotation mark" "
"Quote ... end quote" or "quote ... close quote" Place quotes around a section of text
Example She said 'quote' see you next week 'end quote' > She said "see you next week"
Apostrophe '
Exclamation point !
Inverted exclamation point ¡
Question mark ?
Inverted question mark ¿
Ampersand &
Asterisk *
Open parenthesis or 'left paren'* (
Close parenthesis or 'right paren'* )
Open bracket [
Close bracket ]
Open brace {
Close brace }
Dash -
Example This - is - my - cheese (note the difference in spacing between this and when saying hyphen)
Hyphen -
Example This 'hyphen' is 'hyphen' my 'hyphen' cheese > This-is-my-cheese (note the difference in spacing between this and when saying dash)
Em dash
Underscore _
E.g. (pronounced as "e g") e.g.
Example 'e g' when you learn to ride a bike > E.G. when you learn to ride a bike
i.e. (pronounced as "i e") i.e.
Example 'i e' when you learn to ride a bike > I.e. when you learn to ride a bike

Symbols

Command Action
Percent sign %
Copyright sign ©
Registered sign ®
Section sign §
Dollar sign $
Cent sign ¢
Euro sign
Yen sign ¥
Degree sign
Caret ^
At sign @
Pound sterling sign £
Pound sign #
Greater than sign >
Less than sign <
Forward slash /
Backslash \
Vertical bar |

Emoji

Command Action
"Smiley" or "smiley face" or "smile face" :-)
"Frowny" or "frowny face" or "frown face" :-(
"Winky" or "winky face" or "wink face" ;-)

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.

TutorialsiPhone