Getting Started With Live (Auto-Generated) Transcription in Zoom


Live transcription uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) to caption Zoom meetings/webinars in real time. Participants will not see the Live Transcript option unless the host enables it once the meeting/webinar begins.


  • This feature is not available in Breakout Rooms or Zoom on Linux OS.
  • This feature does not create captions in the Zoom cloud or local recording. Captions only appear during the meeting/webinar. Hosts who want captions to appear in the cloud recording should ensure audio transcription is turned on in their Zoom account settings.
  • Currently, live transcription only supports English, and the accuracy of the feature depends on many factors, such as background noise, volume and clarity of the speaker’s voice, and the speaker’s lexicon/dialect.

Enable Live Transcription

Important: Live transcription does not automatically qualify as an ADA accommodation. If ADA accommodations are required, CART transcription services are the best recommendation. 

If you are the host…

  1. Start/join your Zoom meeting or webinar.
  2. Click Live Transcript from the Zoom toolbar along the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click Enable Auto-Transcription.

Live Transcript menu in a Zoom Meeting of host, red box around Enable Auto-Transcription button

Tip: Click Disable Auto-Transcription from the same menu to turn off live transcription.

Unfortunately, there is currently no option to automatically have live transcription turned on for every meeting you host.

If you need to turn off the participants’ ability to save the transcript from the meetings/webinars you host, you can do so from your Zoom account settings. However, this will turn off the ability for all future meetings/webinars you host.

  1. Go to and log in to your U-M Zoom account.
  2. Click Settings from the left navigation menu.
  3. Click In Meeting (Advanced) under the Meeting tab.
  4. Toggle Save Captions to off.

Save Captions toggle in Zoom account settings webpage

If you are a participant…

Once live transcription has been enabled by the host, you will have the option to choose how you want to view the transcription. You can also request the host to enable live transcription if it is not already turned on.

From the Live Transcript menu in the Zoom toolbar, you will have three options:

  • Show Subtitles - Display the captions on your Zoom screen.
  • View Full Transcript - Display the transcript in a separate window in real time with both the speaker's name and a time-stamp visible. (We recommend this setting as best practice.)
  • Subtitle Settings - Open the settings window where you can adjust the font size of both the captions and the chat window.

Live Transcript menu in a Zoom meeting of a participant, red boxes around Live Transcript button and menu options

If you would like a copy of the transcript, click View Full Transcript and then click Save Transcript. A copy of the transcript will be downloaded to your computer. (Note that this option may not be available if the host has turned off this ability.)

Note: The transcript saves up to the moment you click Save Transcript. We recommend clicking Save Transcript just before the meeting ends to ensure you have the transcript from the entire meeting.

Tips for Using Live Transcription

  • Use an external microphone - External microphones (separate from your laptop) can greatly improve audio quality, and speakers are encouraged to use one.
  • Speak slowly - Speaking slowly allows for a more accurate match between the transcript and what is being said verbally and allows others to follow the transcript or captions.
  • Take turns/pause before speaking - Zoom's active speaker tracking is used to identify the speaker. When another individual begins speaking, it can take a second or two before Zoom updates the transcript to identify the new speaker.

If live transcription isn’t a good fit, refer to Videoconferencing Captioning Tools for Zoom for more information on the other transcription tools in Zoom to determine which works best for your specific situation.

Last Updated: 
Wednesday, July 13, 2022