Best handwriting recognition apps for your iPad

Do you remember the old days, we we used to write things by hand rather than tap away on a keyboard or touch screen? Never fear, you can get back in practice (on your iPad of course), using some cool handwriting recognition apps!

Since I work on the iPad or computer all day, I’ve realised that my handwriting is getting very scribbly and I am not happy with it. Because of this, I decided to look online for handwriting recognition for the iPad, and was very pleasantly surprised to find lots of apps which can transform your handwriting into notes. These apps are really easy to use: you write either using an iPad stylus or your finger, and the app simply transforms it into text. Isn’t that amazing? With so many apps for this, I’m obviously not the only one who misses the handwritten letters, paper notes and cards of the “old days”.

Handwriting recognition wasn’t always so good. Apple’s first attempt on the Newton MessagePad struggled convert the user’s handwriting (written on the screen using a stylus) into digital text. Things improved with Graffiti, developed by a Russian team that then went on to produce the excellent Evernote. Now, we’re spoilt by a number of companies like Vision Objects who develop apps that will transform your handwriting into notes. Let’s dig into them!

In my research to find the best apps in handwriting recognition, I’ve found MyScript Memo, 7Notes and Sketch Rolls are all very attractive options.

1. MyScript Memo

This is a little app that has the most accurate handwriting recognition that I've ever used.

What does this app do? It converts your handwritten text into searchable, shareable and exportable documents. You can delete, insert or remove spaces, write in portrait or landscape mode and then export the digital text to Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Gmail or copy/paste to any other text application on your iPad. You can write using any stylus or your finger. MyScript Memo is available in 31 recognition languages (including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, English, Spanish, French and many more). MyScript Memo uses a proprietary algorithm that converts your handwriting from the iPad or iPhone into text. It has a very smart feature – a movable and adjustable palm guard that allows you to cover the area where you put your hand on the screen. It also has an eraser to remove the useless words or paragraphs.

How much does it cost? MyScript Memo is FREE!

2. 7Notes HD

This is a another great app for handwriting recognition!

What does this app do? Even if you are writing with your finger or with a stylus pen, this cool app will convert your handwriting into digital text (or it can mix handwritten and digital notes if you want). It is a little bit more creative than MyScript Memo and allows you to style the notes and integrate images or websites as well. It has a lot of utilities like different font size, auto scroll, line colours, predictive writing, dictionary and automatic save. You can email, save, print or post these notes to Facebook and Twitter, or send them to Dropbox and Evernote. 7Notes HD was created by MetaMoJi, a company with more than 30 years of experience in the language and document processing software business. The biggest quality of this app, from my point of view, is its fantastically accurate ability to identify words written with a finger rather than a stylus (as all the other apps recommend us using).

How much does it cost? Initially this app is free, but if you want to use the premium version which offers landscape mode, a zoom window plus the conversion of handwriting to digital, then it costs £6.99.

3. Sketch Rolls 

This is one of my favourite handwriting apps because the result is so similar to paper writing!

What does this app do? It is a very accessible and easy to use app, and the ink flow is smooth, so your notes are easy to write. This app is different than the others because you don’t write on a simple sheet of paper, but rather on an extendable roll. It feels like writing on an ancient paper manuscript. You can add up to 300 rolls per project, so it gives you a lot of place to store your resources. You can export note pages to PDF or to an image file. Sketch Rolls includes different size of pens, multiple colour inks, an eraser and an undo/redo button. The designers have created a tutorial which shows you how to use the app’s cool features, so you are instructed straight from the beginning.

How much does it cost? If you want to use this app, than you need to pay £1.49 for it, but is definitely worth every penny! I am curious if others have needed such apps, so maybe you can share the handwriting recognition apps that are you using!

April 01, 2013