Speech-To-Text Dictation

I have begun dictating to my iPhone’s Notes app, which automatically transfers to the Notes apps on my computer. After a quick proofread, the text can be copied and pasted to formal documentation. Speech-to-text dictation will require practice, but it can become surprisingly useful. Once you learn a few commands and develop an articulate “dictation dialect” you will be ready… to save time.


SAFETY and CONFIDENTIALITY are my two greatest concerns; accuracy of spelling or punctuation are non-issues which will be corrected later. DO NOT make dictating your notes a dangerous distraction, such as while driving in the car. You should dedicate 100% of your focus to the road, pedestrians, and the unexpected. I will present enough speech-to-text commands to theoretically enable you to dictate an entire note without typing, but you will still need to look down at your phone now and then, delete a little something, type some correction by hand, etc. Also, DO NOT dictate identifying or sensitive information in a public place, nor document private info through any applications which have any chance of being shared or made public.

Below are some key commands that Siri will use to format your message. You can find even more by searching online. Following this list, a SOAP note example has been provided to demonstrate a transcript of the dictation used to write it.

Common Commands

New line” moves to the next line, like hitting enter or return once.

New paragraph” moves down two lines, giving space before starting your new paragraph.

Cap” capitalizes the next word.

All caps” makes every letter in a single word capitalized (which works best to dictate “all caps m t hyphen b c began group…” to notate “MT-BC began group”).

Hyphen” inserts only a hyphen; “dash” inserts space hyphen and space between words. To dictate MT-BC you would speak, “All caps m t hyphen b c.”

You can dictate punctuation, such as “period,” “comma,” “colon,” “forward slash,” “ellipsis,” “quote” and “end quote,” or “open parenthesis” and “close parenthesis.”

You can use some short-hand, as well. Say “etcetera” and Siri will produce “etc.,” say the letters “eg” or “ie” and she will format “e.g.” or i.e.” respectively.

When dictating clinical documentation, you may be using SOAP, DAR, or other formats. To write “O” instead of “Oh,” say “letter o.”

Dictation Applied: Documentation and Transcript

Here is an example of how you can use these commands towards writing a SOAP note. Below is what the note will look like, followed by a transcript of how the note was narrated using Siri’s speech-to-text dictation. The transcript is formatted for your comprehension, but you will simply read everything as written. Don’t be intimidated – this is a skill that can quickly become a second language.




S: The MT-BC began group at the Awesome Example Hospital. Group included… (Note would continue – this is just a dictation demonstration.)

O: Document more efficiently, sound like a robot talking to your phone even though THIS IS AWESOME!!!, etc.

A: Introduced benefits of dictation, emphasized importance of safe and confidential use, listed verbal commands most relevant to speech-to-text documentation purposes, and provided an example of a SOAP note.

P: Use time saved from typing to do more thing! Comments, questions, and other post ideas welcome!


zero one forward slash twenty-eight forward slash sixteen

new paragraph

s colon cap the all caps m t hyphen b c began group at the cap awesome cap example cap hospital period

group included ellipsis open parenthesis cap note would continue dash this is just a dictation demonstration period close parenthesis

new line

letter o colon cap document more efficiently comma sound like a robot talking to your phone even though all caps this all caps is all caps awesome exclamation point exclamation point exclamation point comma etcetera

new line

a colon cap introduced benefits of dictation comma emphasized importance of safe and confidential use comma listed verbal commands most relevant to speech hyphen to hyphen text documentation purposes comma and provided an example of a all caps soap note period

new line

letter p colon cap use time saved from typing to do more things exclamation point

comments comma questions comma and other post ideas welcome exclamation point


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