Express Scribe Free Version 5.40 Drops Support Of Much Loved Audio File Formats

Express Scribe from NCH Software - Free Edition Limits Audio File Playback Options, Removes Video

Express Scribe from NCH has undergone some major changes over the last few weeks. Not cosmetic changes but under the hood changes which will likely affect you if you have been a long time Express Scribe user, especially if you have gone from an older version to version 5.40.

Gone now in the free version of Express Scribe is support for the following very common file formats:

  • .dss from Olympus, Grundig & Philips
  • .dvf from Sony
  • All video file formats

A large number of other less common audio file formats have been removed from the free version leaving only playback of .MP3, .WAV, .WMA .AIF/.AIFF & .DCT on both Windows and Mac in the free version of Scribe. A full list of audio and video files that will play in the Express Scribe Free & Express Scribe Pro can be found here: NCH Express Scribe Free & Pro File Format Compatibility Chart

I close look at the Express Scribe version history also shows that in version 5.40 free edition “Non-AltoEdge foot pedals should not be available in free version” meaning if you are one of the many people who have purchased a Philips 2310 or 2320 USB foot control  it will no longer work with the free edition at this release level. We actually dropped selling the Philips USB foot pedals for use with Express Scribe a long time ago and have been directing all customers to buy their pedals from the online shop linked to the Express Scribe web site.

There are quite a few changes that I can see will affect a very large number of transcription typists around the world with the update to version 5.40 so my advice would be, buy the software. Express Scribe is an essential tool for any transcription typist, the cost of the software is small (around AU$36, US$35, GBP23) and hey we have all been using it for free for years so it’s the least we can do right.

Click here to buy Express Scribe Plus or click the add to in the right column.

11 thoughts on “Express Scribe Free Version 5.40 Drops Support Of Much Loved Audio File Formats”

  1. Thanks for this information Dave. I recently upgraded to the Pro (paid) version of Express Scribe and hadn’t seen any difference to the free version I was using before – but this explains it.

    I have noticed though that some ds2 files don’t play correctly in ES, after a few minutes the sound cuts out. Also, it sometimes doesn’t want to open DSS files – simply won’t show them in the list of files when I know they’re there. Luckily I have Start Stop and Byte Scribe as backups!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this information. I guess it’s high time I buy the software. I’ve been using for quite a while now and it is the only software I use for transcription. I really apreciate the info.

    Thanks again!

  3. Hello Rhonda

    Thank you for your comment.

    Maybe just hold off a little, I have heard of a couple of people who have had some issues playing .ds2 audio files in the paid version of Express Scribe. This maybe teething problems for NCH as this is their first foray into paid transcription software. Keep an eye on the NCH Software Express Scribe version history and maybe wait until it goes past the current version of 5.40

    Click here for the Express Scribe version history


    Dictate Australia

  4. I just found out about these changes with Express Scribe. I was taken by surprise when my ES 4.35 had a problem and I uninstalled, then I installed a new version from NCH.

    But then all I got was the trial version of the Pro and after it expired it didn’t recognize my foot pedal anymore so I had to purchase the Pro version very quickly.

    So this was just a surprise to me, that’s all.

  5. A further problem is that my understanding is you can buy the Pro version and supposedly have an “unlimited license,” but you cannot use it on multiple computers at the same time even in your own home. It can only run on one computer at a time. You have to literally delete it from one to run it on another, and it has something in the software that tracks that. I got this info from NCH’s own FAQ section.

  6. Hello,
    I am new to transcription, I just started this new assignment with my church where i have to transcibe our testimonies and sermons. Please which part of the express scribe or dragon software can do this for me. I need something that will produce the final file in pdf or word format for me.

  7. Hello Larry

    Thanks for dropping by and for your comment.

    Have a look at this post, it will help you:

    Express Scribe is your best option, record with a good quality voice recorder (not a dictaphone). Something like the WS-812 from Olympus is good.

    You won’t be able to use Dragon, you will have to manually listen and type with the help of Express Scribe. Dragon only works with one, trained voice and requires high quality audio input.

    As for converting to PDF. If you are on a Mac it’s built into the operating system. If you are on Windows there are plenty of free tools that will let you print anything to PDF format.

    Hope that helps.


  8. Thanks Dave for the quick reply. How much is the express scribe software? I see so many versions and types. We are a pretty big church and we record these sermons directly using mixer and audio equipments. So, you are saying the software will take the audio file i feed it and transcribe it to a word document for me, right!

  9. Hey Larry

    There are only two versions of Scribe – Free and Pro. The free version will only let you transcribe common/free/open audio formats like .mp3 and .wma – you only need the paid Pro version if you want to transcribe more pro/obscure audio formats like .ds2 and .dvf from Sony. If you use a good quality voice recorder like the Olympus WS-812 or DM-3 then they record in .mp3 (as do most voice recorder) so you will only need the free version.

    Beware the upwell … NCH love to push their other software products and try for the upsell. Can’t blame them, they give Scribe away free and their software is good but just beware. From memory they actually give you the Pro version for 30 days then after that it expires and then look like you have to pay for the Pro version. In fact all you need do is downgrade to the free version. This is not obvious but on Windows goto add/remove programs and start the uninstall process for Express Scribe. A pop-up window will then give you the chance to downgrade instead of uninstalling. Sneaky but I guess that how you get sales.

    The Pro version of Scribe is around US$30 / AU$20

    Hope that helps.

    Dictate Australia

  10. I’ve the same problem. Paid for Scribe but it stops after 4-5 mins. Please help. I’m completely backed up with work.

  11. Hello Marie

    To fully support .ds2 audio you will need to bite the bullet and invest in the proper software, be it from Olympus, Philips or Grundig. To get you out of your current hole you can download and use for 60 days the full functioning Olympus ODMS R6 transcription module. This will let you transcribe your ds2 audio without issue and is free for 60 days. Please note only the Olympus USB foot controls will work with this software (RS-28 and RS-31) so you will need to use hot keys to control audio playback, i’m assuming you only have a Scribe compatible pedal.

    Details on the free trial including the download link is here:

    I hope that helps.


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