The Microsoft.com Speech website Microsoft Speech SDK

SAPI 5.1

Getting Started for First-Time Users

The following topics introduce the Microsoft Speech SDK (SDK) to first-time users and explain its contents and features:

What is the SDK?

Microsoft Speech SDK is a software development kit for building speech engines and applications for Microsoft Windows. Designed primarily for the desktop speech developer, the SDK contains the Microsoft® Win32®-compatible speech application programming interface (SAPI), the Microsoft continuous speech recognition engine and Microsoft concatenated speech synthesis (or text-to-speech) engine, a collection of speech-oriented development tools for compiling source code and executing commands, sample application and tutorials that demonstrate the use of Speech with other engine technologies, sample speech recognition and speech synthesis engines for testing with speech-enabled applications, and documentation on the most important SDK features.

What can I do with the SDK?

You can use the SDK components and redistributable SAPI/engine run-time to build applications that incorporate speech recognition and speech synthesis.

Automation Support
SAPI 5.1 supports OLE automation. That means languages other than C/C++ may now use SAPI for application development. The languages themselves need to support OLE automation. Common languages which may be used includes Visual Basic, C#, and JScript. See Automation Interfaces and Objects for additional information. Overviews for automation and understanding the API suite for SAPI is found at Automation Overview. This is also a good starting point for programmers new to OLE automation programming.
Speech Components and Services
Included in the Speech API architecture is a collection of speech components for directly managing the audio, training wizard, events, grammar compiler, resources, speech recognition manager, and TTS manager for low-level control and greater flexibility. The Speech API also enables support and manages shared recognition events for running multiple speech-enabled applications.
SDK Tools
The tools in the Tools directory assist with the verification and testing of SAPI development. This directory contains source code and project for compliance testing and may be modified to fit your needs.
SDK Samples
The Microsoft Speech SDK includes samples that can be used as a reference for creating speech-enabled applications. The compiled samples and demonstration applications are available on the Start->Programs->Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1 menu. The binary and source files, projects, are available in the Samples folder of the Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1 folder. A description of each sample, installation, and set of usage instructions is provided.
Coexistence and Third Party Support
Microsoft Speech API 5.1 has been designed to coexist on the same device with prior versions of the Microsoft Speech API (versions 3.0, 4.0, 4.0a, and 5.0). Microsoft is also working with many of the top speech recognition engine vendors on providing SAPI 5 support. Visit the Third Party Products page for more the latest list on SAPI 5-compatible engines.

For more information on setup, see the Microsoft Speech SDK Setup 5.1.

What is covered in the SDK Documentation?

The Microsoft Speech SDK documentation provides information for both the experienced speech developer and the beginner. It is located in the Start->Programs->Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1 menu.

Programmer's Guide

The Programmer's Guide provides information on the following Microsoft Speech API topics:


SDK Samples, Tools, and Tutorials
This section includes descriptions and references for the samples, tools, and tutorials for the SAPI 5 SDK.
Engine Compliance Testing Reference
The Testing Reference describes the compliance testing requirements for engine vendors porting their speech engine to SAPI 5.
White Papers
The White Papers include technical background articles on the technology. They also include sample code that addresses more specific programming solutions.

What is not covered by the Speech SDK?

The Microsoft Speech SDK is not an enduser application, GUI, or voice-user interface (VUI) development environment with menus, buttons, toolbars. It is a development kit which allows programmers to write applications incorporating speech into them. Tools are provided in the SDK which may be run from the MS-DOS® command line (e.g., gc.exe) or with executable applications. The Microsoft Speech SDK assumes knowledge of programming for C, C++, or a language which supports OLE automation such as Visual Basic, or C#. SAPI has a strong reliance on COM. Although direct experience with COM or COM programming is not required, understanding COM principles will make programming and application design easier.

How can I start using the SDK?

The organization of the Speech SDK documentation is similar to other traditional Microsoft SDKs. The Finding Information section of the Microsoft Speech SDK documentation contains important information on how to use the documentation's Help Viewer, including use of the toolbar buttons and full text search, and finding a Help topic, and much more.

Visit the Microsoft® Speech.NET Technologies home page frequently. Here you can find the latest news and updates to the SDK and the Microsoft speech engines.

If for some reason you cannot locate a particular type of documentation in the help system, please e-mail sapi5@microsoft.com to fill a request.

Removing the SDK

If you want to remove the SAPI SDK from the computer, use Add/Remove Programs properties from Control Panel (Start->Settings->Control Panel). It is not advised to delete individual files. However, only one version of the SDK may be installed at a time. Attempts to install a newer version of SAPI with a previous edition already loaded will prompt the installation package to remove SAPI first. After removing SAPI in this manner, the installer may be run again and the new version will be loaded.

What special things do I need to know?

If you are developing an application that intends to use the Microsoft speech setup files, your Setup.exe needs to install the Microsoft Windows Installer if it is not already present. Please go to Windows Installer 1.5 download page, or Platform SDK Start Page to download the Windows Installer SDK and search for "Windows Installer".