Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Ernests Embutnieks
Have you been looking for the best apps that can help you digitize handwritten texts? Well then, get ready to cross paths with the resources you’re after.
Modern-day note-taking has evolved to a great extent. From students to teachers and even working professionals have instilled the habit of digitizing their workstations in one way or the other. Thankfully, the practice of digitizing handwritten notes has also seen considerable improvement over the years.
There are many utilities meant to convert handwritten documents into digital texts. To understand how they work, you’ll first need to know about a term called OCR. In case you haven’t heard of it before, OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a term coined for the technology that recognizes text from images.
In this following write-up, we’ll look at eight of the best, most promising apps for converting handwritten notes into text. These apps use the OCR technique and detect the characters before transforming them into the desired typeface. To make sure you find yourself in the best position to choose one, we’ve prepared the good and the bad aspects that are packed with each tool.
Best Applications To Turn Handwritten Notes To Text
We’ve gone through all the applications that currently can turn handwritten notes into text. I used an iOS device, an Android, a Windows PC, and a laptop running macOS for my testing.
Available for: iOS, Mac, Windows, Android
You can download and get more info at Evernote
To begin with the list of the best apps for converting handwritten pieces to digital text, we’ve got Evernote. Available for both Android and iOS devices, this app is among the most efficient utilities for quickly capturing handwritten ideas.
Thanks to Evernote’s built-in camera, you can seamlessly scan your handwritten notes and get them converted in minutes.
Why So Special?
- Apart from getting your pieces of information converted. Evernote bags a healthy amount of possibilities. This includes writing notes and highlighting the desired section with changing fonts and colors.
- Evernote allows users to add tasks directly to notes.
- Grouping notes by a number of factors is made easy with Evernote.
- Uploaded notes are available anywhere, anytime, even without an active internet connection.
- With Evernote, you can upload high-quality media that scales up to 200 MB in size.
- Cross-platform compatible
- Amazing Range of features
- Vivid search options
- Paid plans are expensive
Using Evernote OCR
- Launch Evernote
- Click on the + icon in the bottom right corner.
- Select Camera
- Snap the handwritten document
- Wait for the green tick to appear and tap on it.
- You can then choose the note title and proceed.
- Head back to the Evernote dashboard and start operating on your handwritten document.
In my opinion, Evernote works great for handwritten notes simply because the entire operation of converting handwritten content into text is seamless and intuitive. And that’s why I ranked it at the top of my list.
Plus, Evernote came into the game far earlier than any of the applications we’ve mentioned. Therefore, they’ve had the ability to refine and fine-tune their process to a much greater extent.
2. Microsoft OneNote
Available for: Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, web
You can download and get more info at Microsoft OneNote
With Microsoft OneNote, you’re looking at a tool that offers the most straightforward approaches to digitizing handwritten pieces. All you need to do is snap a page and offer OneNote some time to get the job done.
However, it is crucial to ensure that the data you provide must be legible enough for the tool to get hold of. Coming from the home of Microsoft, OneNote shifts the overall handwriting-to-text conversion utility to the next level.
Other Features of Microsoft OneNote:
- It helps organize data in Notebook
- OneNote features a Web Clipper that allows users to extract information right from a web page.
- Seamless text searching. You can use the Ctrl+E key combination and enable the search panel.
- The tool is well optimized for every MS software
- It packs a powerful free version
- You’ll need to pay for an extra storage option.
Using Microsoft OneNote:
- Launch the app and head over to the draw tab.
- Navigate and click on the Lasso Select button.
- Drag and select the handwriting you want to convert.
- From the available options under the Draw tab, choose the one that says Ink to Text.
Microsoft OneNote is quickly catching up to Evernote. They have a great iPad application, which is primarily where most use their Apple Pencil to convert hand-written notes to text anyways. So, in a few months, we wouldn’t be surprised to see OneNote being rated as the best application simply because of the number of updates they bring in.
Available for: iPad, Mac, iPhone, and iPod touch
More info at their website Notability
Whether you’re a student or a working professional, Notability is a perfect utility that works alike in both situations. In simple words, those who seek an easy-to-use note-taking tool that can help them convert handwritten pieces into digital texts seamlessly need to have a look at Notability.
The tool isn’t limited to basic handwritten information, as it can help users extract necessary data from images, GIFs, and even web pages.
What Makes Notability Special?
One thing that makes Notability sit apart from the rest is the multi-note feature. As the name suggests, multi-note functionality enables users to operate on more than one note at a time.
- Great user interface
- Super efficient search functionality
- Brilliant handwriting recognition
- Reasonable pricing
- Poor voice note navigation
Converting Handwritten Notes to text using Notability
- Get yourself inside the homepage of Notability.
- Open a note and click on the lasso tool.
- Hover over to the handwriting you wish to convert and select the portion.
- Click on the option that says Convert to Text. You can click anywhere on the converted section to bring the necessary edits.
- Finally, tap on Convert Selection.
Notability is one of those applications that you just can’t get rid of once you get used to them. I’m a huge fan of the seamlessness and speed. But, the fact that you constantly need the premium version is a bit of a nuisance.
4. GoodNotes 5
Available for: iPad, iPhone, Mac
You can download the app and get more info at their site GoodNotes
GoodNotes 5 is an iOS-exclusive, robust tool for digitizing handwritten texts. Offering a great degree of customizing ability, this tool defines the overall document creation process like a professional. No matter if you’re after a searchable notebook, drawing, or illustration, GoodNotes 5 is designed to help you in any situation.
Besides bringing all the basic utilities to the table, GoodNotes 5 amazingly aids in crafting vectors out of the written text. In addition to that, the tool incorporates a search engine meant to locate any desired section within the notes effortlessly. To put it in other words, GoodNotes 5 is not just any other handwriting recognition tool; it is more than that.
- Well optimized for both generations of the Apple Pencil
- Seamless handwriting conversion
- There is no free version.
Using GoodNotes 5
- Launch GoodNotes 5
- Tap the Lasso tool located inside the toolbar.
- Select the handwritten notes for conversion.
- Tap on Convert.
- After that, hit the share button in the upper right corner, followed by clicking the Copy option.
GoodNotes being iOS / Apple ecosystem exclusive is its biggest caveat. The fact that it isn’t truly cross-platform and doesn’t bring anything unique to the table is why I don’t like it as much. Yes, the application is functional and gets the job done. But why compromise when there’s a better alternative out there?
Available for: iPhone, iPad, Windows, Android, Chrome OS
Marketed as the future of note-taking, Nebo promises to be the smartest take on assigning beautiful notes, and rightfully so.
Loaded with features to fall in love with, the app can transform usual handwriting and portray those as typed texts. Nebo is designed to serve all the possible spheres of life, ranging from studies to work.
- It helps turn handwritten notes into professional documents.
- You can seamlessly add PDFs to your notebooks and mark them with annotations.
- The tool packs an infinite canvas where you can write and draw freely. Users can also copy the created content for future usage.
- Supports more than 60 languages
- Packs useful gestures
- Supports scanning Math & Chemical equations
- It features a custom dictionary
- Drag & drop ability is not great
Nebo for Handwriting Conversion:
- Launch Nebo
- Grab your stylus
- Write whatever you want inside Nebo.
- Once done, double-tap your writing and turn it into text.
Nebo’s the most beautiful application on this list. There is no doubt that it looks extremely good. But, I would prefer using other applications simply because Nebo lacks some features and creature comforts that I’ve gotten used to, such as the ability to drag and drop.
6. ABBY FineReader
Available for: iOS, Android, Web
Source: Abby FineReader
ABBY makes you look at a platform that can help you digitize content in 198 languages accurately. Being multiple languages compatible lists ABBY Fine Reader among the best apps of all time. However, one thing that sets this tool a bit off is the fact that operating it can be troubling at times. Nonetheless, it is indeed a robust tool for modern-day needs.
- Start off by scanning the handwritten notes.
- Now save the document in a PDF format.
- Launch ABBY fine reader and open the PDF
- Wait for the app to deconstruct the document, followed by capturing the text automatically
- From there, you can copy or edit the document.
ABBY FineReader is an application that I wouldn’t recommend unless and until you use it to follow a specific niche case. In my opinion, it is somewhat slow – and does not operate properly.
7. Bonus: Scribble
Available for: iPadOS 14+
Don’t want to download an additional tool for digitizing handwritten texts? Well then, I’ve got a piece of good news for those who’ve invested in an iPad/iPad Pro that packs iPadOS 14. Scribble, a feature added to modern-day Apple tablets, helps convert handwritten information into typed text. Although inbuilt with the system OS,
Scribble loads up with a bunch of abilities that even a number of premium tools fail to provide. Scribble operates fast enough and digitizes handwriting right away; something really deserves appreciation.
Currently Compatible With:
- iPad Air (2020)
- iPad (2020)
- iPad Pro 11 (2020)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)
- iPad (2019)
- iPad Mini (2019)
- iPad Air (2019)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
- iPad Pro 11 (2018)
- iPad (2018)
- iPad Pro 10.5 (2017)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)
- iPad Pro 9.7 (2016)
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2015)
- Launch the Settings menu
- Scroll your way down and select the Apple Pencil option
- From there, tap the toggle next to Scribble to activate it.
- The best way to employ Scribble is with Notes. Launch it and tap to show the Markup toolbar.
- Under the Markup toolbar, locate and tap the Handwriting tool
- Now, when you write something with Apple Pencil, Scribble will automatically convert the same into typed text.
Best Apps To Scan Documents And Turn Them Into Text
If you have documents that are already in text format and want the ability to edit them, here’s a list of the best applications that let you do so.
Available for: iPhone, iPad, Android
Pen to Print is another brilliant utility that reads manuscripts once scanned and converts them into flexible digital texts. The main purpose of using the term flexible for highlighting the converted text is that the same can be desirably edited and stored on either your iPad or Android devices or within any cloud service of your choice.
Pen to Print packs a super-efficient Optical Character Recognition engine that can extract text from various sources, including letters, school notes, and more.
- It offers a minimalist and elegant design
- Syncs across iCloud
- Works with over 50 languages
- Sync may require a subscription
Using Pen to Print
- Open Pen to Print
- Click on the + icon and start scanning your notes.
- After the app successfully reads your document, you can go over the text line-by-line.
- Correct errors if needed.
- Export the text and share the same through various platforms.
- Save the text on your device by clicking the dedicated icon.
2. Google Keep
Available for: Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, web
Having talked about the one from Microsoft already, let’s have a look at a free tool from Google that integrates with the Google Lens functionality and comes out as a promising digitized note-taking utility.
Google, in recent years, has been trying its best to create an easy-to-use digital workstation for users worldwide that offers the most minimalist approaches besides being loaded with all the necessary features; Google Keep walks along similar lines.
Remember: Google Keep is entirely free to use. Moreover, the platform is free from ads as well. You can sync and keep all your works right at your fingertips and access those whenever you want to.
- Free to use
- No ads
- Seamless Google services
- Some features are limited.
How to Use Google Keep OCR:
- Launch Google Keep and Scan your image that has the handwritten text.
- After that, tap on the three dots located at the top-right end of the screen).
- Press the option that says Grab the Text.
3. Readiris 17
Whether you’re on Mac, iOS, or Android, Readiris 17 is designed to offer the best possible way of scanning handwritten pieces of information into text. Readiris is among the popular OCR apps that have been developed to help users carry out text conversion in the most seamless manner. The fact that Rediris supports multiple formats enhances its efficiency to the next level.
Using Readiris 17:
- At first, you’ll need to scan your document by simply clicking on the Scan option located at the top left of the app’s menu. Alternatively, you can insert any of your scanned documents followed by clicking the Open button.
- Now right-click the file and allow Readiris to automatically convert the information and export those to the edit-ready document.
Another super-efficient OCR app built for the Mac environment. Extending support for over 23 languages, Prizmo offers brilliant work when we talk about recognizing texts, no matter it is handwritten or simply scanned.
However, your notes should be clear enough for the app to process. Prizmo is considered a great all-around OCR solution primarily for being flexibly accessible from both Mac iPhone and the iPad.
- Login to your iPad
- Find and open any of your documents or photo containing the text you wish to convert
- Crop and have the document desirably adjusted
- Navigate to the top right corner of the taskbar and click Recognize
- Now all you need to do is wait.
5. PDF Scanner
PDF Scanner, an online/offline utility that recognizes and converts scanned text in minutes, needs no detailed introduction. Capable of operating with content written in more than 100 languages, PDF Scanner is robust. Moreover, the app also allows its users to customize their text before they finally save it.
Using PDF Scanner
- Launch the app
- Press the + button
- Now use the App’s inbuilt scanner, or simply import the desired document from your device library.
- Next, wait for the software to convert the image into digital text.
And with that, we’re done discussing the eight best tools that help convert handwritten documents into digital texts. In this article, you’ll find the most detailed analysis of the finest available apps that embeds optical character recognition ability for digitizing handwritten data in the most promising manner.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I Take A Picture Of Writing And Convert It To Text?
Yes, you can take a picture of writing and convert it to text using an application like OneNote. By using OCR (Optical Character Recognization), handwritten words can then be converted into text quite seamlessly.
Should I Use OneNote Or Evernote?
If you already use Evernote, keep at I. Otherwise, we recommend switching to OneNote instead, as it is updated more frequently and has better OCR (Optical Character Recognization). And, is completely free as well.
Can OneNote Transcribe Handwriting?
Yes, OneNote can transcribe handwriting in its newer versions. This feature is available across the board and allows you to seamlessly convert what you write into editable text using OCR.
I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.