Taking Notes on Your #iPad - Handwriting Recognition

Update: Looking for Android friendly handwriting recognition apps? Read this blog entry instead.
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You've read of those that say, "Yeah man, I don't carry a keyboard with my iPad. That's not what a tablet is for man. Go use a laptop or something if you want retro keyboard input!" Perhaps that's a bit of a exaggeration. As much as I love my keyboard, being able to switch from handwriting to text on an iPad would be pretty neat. I hadn't given it much thought until a friend called me up and asked if it was do-able.

My colleague, who often asks questions that result in blog entries, inquired, "What's the best iPad app that works with a stylus?" She then expanded on her needs: "I need something that will allow me to write (with a stylus) comments then email that out." You know, I love specific questions like that.

At a certain point as a blogger, having asked many questions myself, I find that I'm in search of questions like this. Although the Internet is full of responses to how-to questions, and that quantity sends me the message that what I write is worthless because it is easily accessible, I find it fun to do...like a gardener who doesn't hope to feed the world, just enjoy the simple pleasure of hands in the dirt.
Source: http://goo.gl/4AfiY

Over the last few days, several folks have responded to my initial question with these suggestions:
  • Penultimate ($.99) - One of the main benefits of Penultimate, which I own, is it's connection to Evernote, how easy it is to embed images from your Camera Roll. The only thing I don't like is that it lacks AudioNotes recording ability, making it a "why bother?" app. I can only hope it will improve with time.
  • Notability ($.99) - Watch this review via YouTube
  • Paperport Notes (Free) - It's OK, but not something I'd use every day.
  • Ink Flow (Free with limited options) via Jfro_Z - I have to admit, I liked this one the most although it can only export to JPG/PDF via email. Still, quite nice.
  • Course Notes ($3.99)
  • Update per Comment by Alison: WritePad ($3.99) - From their web site: WritePad is a text editor for iPhone that utilizes advanced handwriting recognition input for the English language as well as iPhone keyboard for text entry, and includes spell checker, context analyzer, and standard editing operations such as copy, cut, paste, etc. WritePad’s primary handwriting recognition-based input method integrated with the text editor and developed specifically for iPhone and iPod Touch. It recognizes cursive, PRINT, and mixed handwriting styles.
There are other apps, but right now, Ink Flow  appears to be the winner for just notes that can be exported as images. Of course, this doesn't really get at the handwriting recognition my colleague was looking for. Some apps that might address that include:
  • Smart Writing Tool ($8.99) - Ouch, quite expensive.
  • MyScript Memo (Free) (check video below) - From their web site: With MyScript Memo, take your notes on the go using your handwriting and convert them to digital text that you can export and share with Evernote®, Facebook®, Twitter®, Gmail or copy/paste to any other text application. MyScript Memo is available in 31 recognition languages (including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, English, Spanish, French and many more).

The winner overall that meets the needs of my colleague? MyScript Memo! Check out these screenshots:
I quickly wrote "Test of the Emergency broadcasting system" and you can see that it captured it very quickly using their online system. Then, I sent it to myself via email as shown below...nifty!

What note-taking app with handwriting recognition are you using?

On an unrelated note, you might visit my iPads in Education Google+ Page. Why not add more clutter?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Alison said…
I use WritePad because it not only allows me to hand write with a stylus, but then morphs your handwriting into typed text. It is amazingly accurate and then can be synced to Evernote, Dropbox, google docs, etc. I think it is 4.99 but there are in app purchases if you want to use it with other languages besides English. It's awesome.
Bob said…
I would prefer that the recognition happen on the iPad. If it doesn't work in airplane mode it's handing the job off to a server.
Tim said…
I was disappointed to discover the ipad has no handwriting recognition built in as standard, coming from Windows which has had good handwriting recognition built in since XP.
Lowell said…
Ditto, Tim.
I just bought an ipad mini and have been searching for how to turn my scribbles to text. A friend showed me how well it works on his Samsung Android phone.

Why didn't Apple make it standard on the iPad?

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