Live captions helps everyone, including people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, better understand audio by providing automatic transcription.

Live captions is available in Windows 11, version 22H2 and later. For more information on Windows 11 22H2 new features, and how to get the update, see What's new in recent Windows updates. Not sure which version of Windows you have? See: Find Windows version.

In this article

Live captions integrates with the Windows desktop, so you can read captions while working in other apps. Captions can be provided for audio even when disconnected from the internet. You can personalize how captions are displayed, and you can include microphone audio to make in-person conversations easier. 

Screenshot of live captions (launched from quick settings Accessibility flyout) generating captions for a video playing in the web browser.

Turn on live captions 

To turn on live captions, do one of the following: 

  • Turn on the Live captions toggle in the quick settings Accessibility flyout. (To open quick settings, select the battery, network, or volume icon on the taskbar.)

  • Press Windows logo key + Ctrl + L.

  • Select Start > All apps > Accessibility > Live captions.

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Captions, and turn on the Live captions toggle.

When turned on the first time, live captions will prompt you to download live captions language files to be used by on-device speech recognition. 

Personalize how captions are displayed 

To choose where captions are displayed on your desktop:

  1. Select the Settings button in the live captions window.

  2. Select Position.

  3. Choose either Top, Bottom, or Floating on screen.

    • When you choose Top or Bottom, the captions window will appear as docked to the top or bottom screen edges in reserved space on your desktop, and other apps will not be blocked by the captions window. When docked to the top, you might find that live captions works well while sharing video in a virtual meeting or conversation, whereas in other cases, such as viewing videos, docking to bottom might work best.

    • When you choose Floating on screen, the live captions will appear in an overlay window which you can reposition as needed to avoid obscuring other apps in use.

To show more lines of text in the captions window, increase the window size by using the mouse, touch, or keyboard.

Make captions easier to read 

  1. Select the Settings button in the live captions window.

  2. Select Caption style. The Accessibility settings for Captions opens.

  3. Under Caption style, do one of the following:

    • Select a built-in style from the dropdown menu. Use the Default built-in style to have captions displayed with colors appropriate to your device’s dark or light mode setting in Settings > Personalization > Colors > Choose your mode.

    • Select the Edit button to create a custom style that works best for you.

Use your microphone 

To caption your own speech: 

  1. Select the Settings button in the live captions window.

  2. Select Caption options, and turn on the Include microphone audio option.

Any audio captured by your microphone will be captioned, provided that no other audio on your device is being captioned. For example, if you use live captions to caption an online meeting with another person, if you both speak over each other, you will only see the captions for the other person while the other person is speaking.

Note: When you next turn on live captions, this option will be turned off.

To check your device’s microphone configuration, see Settings > System > Sound and review the Input options. 

Get the most out of live captions 

  • To mask profanity, go to the Settings menu, select Caption options, and turn on the Filter profanity option.

  • To improve captioning accuracy when using the microphone, make sure to minimize background noise in your environment and speak directly into the microphone.

  • To ensure minimal delay in captions or if you notice that captions are not appearing, try closing unused apps to maximize performance.

    • Resource-intensive apps (for example, apps that share video) might impact the real-time behavior of live captions, leading to delays in captions, or even dropped captions. If this happens, consider limiting some app functionality while depending on live captions (for example, turn off any background effects or other special effects applied to shared video).

FAQ and troubleshooting

Live Captions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Troubleshooting live captions or voice access setup issues

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