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TECH TIPS: Use Google Voice for private phone calls

By Suzanne Trimble

If you are anything like me, you cringe at the sight of your personal phone number on the U.S. Courts’ Web page, the court file … or, like last week, when I had a defendant call my personal cell phone from jail. In my district we are strictly prohibited from using the government phone for transcript business, so I thought my personal number or another phone plan were the only options — until a colleague told me about Google Voice. And did I mention it’s free? 

Here’s how it works:

From your Google account you set up a Google phone number. This is your new phone number. Google Voice will forward calls to your personal phone number when someone calls your new number and send messages to your email address, both audio and transcribed. Google Voice may also be managed via a phone app available at the app store, which you can download for free.

Below is a step-by-step guide for creating and using a phone number on Google Voice:

  1. Log in to your Google account or create a Google account.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the screen there is a square of nine squares. Click on that and choose Voice. You may need to scroll down to the bottom and click on “More from Google” to find it.
  3. Click on “For Personal Use,” which directs you to a drop-down menu.  Click on “Web.”
  4. Select your new telephone number. On “Select Google Voice Number,” choose the city and state of the number of your preference, then select the number of your choice from the list of phone numbers. Follow the prompts to verify the number on the next screen.
  5. Let Google Voice know where to forward your calls. “Enter Number to Link” is the next option. Simply enter the number, then click “Send Code” to verify the number. This sends a code to the forwarded number by text. Enter the code you’ve received by text and click “Verify.” If this was done correctly, the next message will say “Phone Number Added.” Click “Finish.”
  6. Set up voicemail. Now that we have a phone number, let’s set up our voicemail greeting. You should be on the Voice screen now. In the upper left-hand corner is the “Main Menu.” Click on this icon. Click on “Legacy Google Voice,” click on “Voicemail & Texts,” click on the link “New Google Voice.” Follow the prompts for “Record a Greeting.” Make sure the correct microphone is set in the upper right-hand corner. Don’t forget to name and save your greeting. Your new greeting should be displayed.
  7. There are many other options in the Main Menu worth checking out.
  8. You did it! Now try it out!

Suzanne Trimble, RPR, CRC, is an official court reporter based in Sanford, Fla., and a member of the NCRA Technology Committee.

Have a technical question? Send it to the NCRA Technology Committee at