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Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


MS Teams live captions are here!

By Samantha Ahern, on 27 March 2020

We are pleased to announce that automatic captioning for MS Teams meetings is now available.

However, it is only available to those using the Desktop App version of Microsoft Teams and captions are only available in English US at present.

The automatic captions need to be enabled at an individual user level during the Teams meeting and are not saved, they are not available in a recording of the meeting.

Note: Captions cannot be activated or recorded when starting a call from a chat.

To clarify, you can and should be able to activate captions when you schedule a meeting that is associated to a calendar or someone creates a meeting associated to a calendar and invites you. Thus, in order to guarantee that you provide the accessibility (captions) to your colleagues, give preference to scheduling a meeting instead of starting just a call from a chat.
Teams Meeting control panel.

Meeting control panel

To turn on the automatic captioning whilst is a MS Teams meeting, click on the three dots in the meeting control panel.

Select Turn on Live Captions (preview, English US only). Live captions should now appear.

To turn of the live captions, click on the three dots and select Turn off Live Captions.

As the live captions are automatically generated there will be some inaccuracies. However, you can help improve the accuracy by:

  • Speaking clearly, slowly, and directly into the mic. As your distance from the mic increases, captions may become less accurate.
  • Avoiding locations with background noise.
  • Avoiding having multiple people speaking at the same time.

Things to note:

  • If someone is speaking with an accent, captions may be less accurate.
  • Obscenities will be starred out.
  • Teams may use a meeting’s subject, invitation, participant names, and attachments to improve caption accuracy.

More information about and how to use MS Teams is available in the UCL Teams Support Centre  including more information about live captions, in addition colleagues from the Digital Accessibility Hub have produced a Teams Accessibility Guide – Teams_AccessibilityToolsGuide_v3




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