I get a lot of questions about dictation in Windows Speech Recognition for Vista.  One of the most frequent questions is why dictation doesn't work in a particular application.  The short answer is that dictation relies on a technology called Text Services Framework to interact with applications.  If the application doesn't support it, then dictation doesn't work well.  There is a very basic form of dictation support that can be activated when you check 'Enable Dictation Everywhere' in the Options submenu of the speech recognition context menu (right-click on the speech recognition UI).

 What applications support Text Services Framework? Well, I know that the following applications definitely support Text Services Framework:

  • Microsoft Word 2003, 2007 (possibly XP; I haven't tried it)
  • Wordpad
  • Notepad
  • Microsoft Publisher 2003 and 2007 (I haven't used earlier versions)

I also know that the following applications do NOT support Text Services Framework:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Microsoft Works
  • Microsoft Word 2000 and earlier

Dictation should work in any program that uses plain text controls or richedit controls, as well.