handwriting to digital docment

I need some advice. I most certainly like to hand-write versus typing into a word document. It is obvious to me that not only do I think better writing by hand, that I am also much faster. However, I need to have these documents in a word (or digital format). I am not a tech person; currently not even using a cell phone (yes there are some in the world). What cold I do to have the satisfaction and speed of handwriting and yet getting these documents on my laptop.


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No real good solutions


The most obvious one--years ago, would have been the Apple Newton MessagePad. It directly converted handwriting to text, and was an amazing tool at that. But what with time moving on, even if you can buy a good one, in good working condition, getting the information out of the Newton, and into a modern computer is a task that even I am no longer willing to undertake (I was a Newton user from 1994 until 2005, and still own several)

There are the Samsung Note phablets. They come with a stylus, and you can take handwritten notes, but I don't know how good they are, nor do I know if they convert to text.

There is the iPad, and several handwriting apps, but again, I don't know how good they are at that, nor how well they convert.

I believe that both Windows and MacOS have handwriting recognition. On the Apple, it's an updated version of their print recognizer from the Newton days, and it works--if you have something like a decent Wacom tablet. But then there's a disconnect between where you write, and where you see it (write on tablet, see on screen). That disconnect I found very difficult to get past, so I never seriously bothered, other than trying it with my daughter's Wacom just to see that it actually worked. Also, I don't know if it's still shipping on the latest OS updates like Yosemite or will be in El Capitan. And that's the Mac. I don't know about Windows.

IMO, if you are willing to bother with older hardware and Windows software, your best bet would be to try a Newton. For pure handwriting, and ease of editing and manipulating everything, nothing beats the Newton. There are some older articles on the site here that discuss this, but I don't know of anything in the past couple years that could help getting a Newton communicating with modern computers.

I hope that someone has better info. I would like to do the same myself, and keep trying new software, both on iOS and Android.

Handwriting recognition on the iPad

Hi all,

I have used an app called Notes Plus with an in-app purchase ($10) for handwriting recognition. I works pretty well, provided you don't have horrible handwriting like me. When I take my time, it's pretty accurate.

Just a thought....


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

"Smart" pens

There's the idea of the smart pen. A special pen (with camera right behind the point) records your handwriting movements as the ballpoint tracks over a special notebook. Then you sync the pen with your computer and it digitizes your notes as you wrote them. Some pens even have software that takes it to the next step and does the OCR processing.

I haven't used one myself simply because a) I am not a big fan of ballpoints and b) to use one, you have to use the special paper/notebook. Still, search for reviews on smart pens and see what you find.

Dragon software

Thanks for the feedback.I am probably going with Dragon software.

My observations / findings -

Long story short, there are several smartphone/tablet apps, like Notes Plus, that do a decent job of converting reasonably neat handwriting into ascii text. The downside I have found is that you must do your writing on the device. You cannot take an image of a handwritten page and convert it. THAT technology does not yet exist. EverNote claims to be able to scan such images to a point where you can search for terms in "hand-written" notes, but I have not yet test driven it.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***

Evernote is about 90% with my atrocious handwriting

I've been pleased with the handwriting recognition on things I've scanned or photographed. It's not perfect (at least, not with my handwriting), but it's not bad. It's a shame there is no way to "teach" Evernote - i.e that really is the word "project". It's also a nuisance to have to scan or photo every written page, tho.