How To Use Google Voice Commands In Google Drive

Yesterday, we posted about some of the lesser-known Google tools that you can use in your classroom. One of the tools we mentioned was voice comments – which allows you to add voice commentary to the documents you’re working on in your Google Drive. We’ve gotten a few messages from folks who wanted to know more about how to use this fun little tool, so here you go – a step by step on how to add voice feedback to your documents.

Go to your Google Drive

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Once in your Drive, click on “Create”. That will engage a drop-down menu. Select the last option on the bottom “Connect More Apps”

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You’ll see a dialog box appear, and a search box at the top right. Type in “voice comments” and select the application of your choice. I’ve chosen Kaizena, as you can see below. Click on the blue “connect” button (which has turned green in my screenshot below and says ‘rate it’, since I have installed it).

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You’re connected! Head back to your Drive and right click on the document you wish to open. Go to “open with” and then select Kaizena (or whatever other voice commenting option you’ve chosen). I’ve selected a guest post that was shared with me awhile back from the lovely Dawn Casey Rowe.

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Your selected document will open (in a new window, as is normal with Google Drive). Once you’ve opened a document, use your mouse to highlight something to give feedback on. When you’re done highlighting, a small box will pop up offering you three options, a link to resources you think are relevant, typed feedback, and voice feedback. Select the voice feedback option (that looks like a microphone).

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You’ll need to allow the program to access your microphone. A dialog box will pop up – make sure to click ‘allow’ inside that dialog box before clicking on “Done! Let me record”.

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Once that’s all set, you’ll see a small box with two options – record and cancel. Click record and start speaking. You’ll see the white bars in the middle of the box turn a greenish blue as you speak, and a small timer on the left bottom corner of the box letting you know how long you’ve been jabbering away. Click “stop” when you’re done (which replaces “cancel” in the bottom right corner).

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When you create voice feedback, the dialog box below shows up on the left side of your screen. You can scroll through each comment with the buttons at the top that say previous and next, and you can hear each comment by pressing the play button (forward arrow). You can also return to this box if it disappears by clicking on a highlighted area in the text (which indicates a comment has been made on that portion).

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Additionally, each time you make a comment, you can choose who that feedback is shared with (if the document has been shared with multiple users). So if you’re sharing documents with a group that is collaborating on a project, you can share your commentary with the whole group, or you can share commentary individually for each writer if you choose. When you highlight text to comment on, you’ll see the option on the left for who you want the feedback to be shared with.

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Go forth and comment! Enjoy!


  1. Hindie Becker Dershowitz

    March 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I just tried following your directions to add Voice Comments to my Google Documents. When I searched voice comments nothing appeared. I had to search for Kaizeni

  2. Carla

    May 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I was able to access and use Kaizeni to open my document, but once in there all I get is a blue arrow, and no little box with three options.