Express Scribe is a popular software programme for people who do transcriptions as a job. There are two versions; a free basic one that works well, but is limited in compatibility, (for example it does not work with video playback in MOV, WMV etc.), and a paid version called pro. Check the formats the free one can be used with, to see if it covers all the types you need, and if not, to buy the pro version.

Whichever version you choose, there are 6 basic and easy steps to learning how to use Express Scribe:

  1. Load Audio Files into Express Scribe

There are three options to choose from for this; one is automatic and the program checks for new audio files at timed intervals. Another is to manually load the file by clicking on the ‘Load’ button and browsing your computer for the file, just like many other programmes. The last option is to transfer your file from an exterior source to your computer, using an Audio Cable or USB, again just like uploading music or pictures to your computer.

  1. Play Uploaded Recordings

You can play a recording by pressing the F9 key to start, and F4 key to stop, but easier than that is to simply press the ‘Play’ and ‘Stop’ buttons on your screen. If you purchased a compatible foot pedal you can use this too. Pressing the middle pedal starts the audio and releasing it stops the audio.

If there is no sound, from the menu select ‘Options’, then ‘Playback’ and make sure the soundcard you have on your computer is selected and the volume at a good level.

  1. Rewinding and Forward Winding
  • To rewind the recording, press and hold down F7
  • To fast forward press and hold down F8
  • To go to the start, press the Home key
  • To go to the end, press the End key
  1. Using the Interface

You can resize the Express Scribe window to suit. Full size shows everything; toolbar icons, file list, play controls and notes.

You can also drag the ‘Play Control’ up so the toolbars are no longer showing and you only have the play and dictation list.

There is a ‘Scribe Mini’ icon on the main toolbar which reduces the screen to postage size, or you can customize your screen using the ‘View’ menu and choosing icons, tools etc. that you wish to see or remove.

  1. Transcribing

When you play the recording the pad for writing should be visible. This is found in the ‘View’ menu as “Show Typing Pad”.

Note: You need to click once in the typing pad with the mouse to activate it before typing.

You can also use any other programme for transcribing while Express Scribe plays your audio.

  1. Deliver Transcription

You can send the completed work by email, or, provided you downloaded and typed using Express Scribe, mark the file as ‘Done’ and click on the ‘Dispatch’ icon.

Express Scribe makes transcriptions easier and like any programme, once you get used to how it works, you will find it reduces the time a job takes you and makes your life easier.