Improve Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition For Surface

Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition

One of the really cool features on Windows 10 on a Surface is the handwriting recognition capability. For example, you can use the Office 365 version of OneNote to make handwritten notes then convert them to text. In addition, you can use the writing panel option of the onscreen keyboard to hand write commands in lieu of typing them out.

Handwriting Panel

However, if you’re like me, you don’t always have perfect handwriting. In fact, most of the time, my handwriting is nearly illegible – especially if I’m writing something quickly. As a result, sometimes, my Surface can’t correctly identify what I am trying to write.

Fortunately, Microsoft included a feature to let Windows learn how you write, so that your Surface can more easily recognize your handwriting. Using this feature, called Handwriting Personalization, you can actually train your Surface (or other Windows 10 PC) to learn your handwriting style or rectify any particular symbol, pattern or letters that the computer often mistakes.

Improve Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition: How To Do It

The following steps will help you to train your Surface to better learn your handwriting:

  • Search for Language and select the Language Control Panel result.
  • Once the Language window appears, select Options. If you have more than one language installed, pick the one you wish to train.

Improve Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition

  • Select Personalize handwriting recognition.

Improve Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition

  • Once you do, you will see the following options appear.

Improve Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition

At this point, you have a choice to make. You can either…

  • Target Specific Recognition Errors: Do this if you’re having problems with Windows recognizing a specific letter, number, or symbol. For example, if it keeps confusing your “0’s” with “D’s” (as shown below). After you select this option, you will be given more options to help narrow down what your Surface needs to learn in order to recognize your writing.
  • Teach The Recognizer Your Handwriting Style: Do this if Windows is making all kinds of mistakes. Be aware that this will be a lengthy process as it will require you to provide over 50 different handwriting samples to learn how you write.

Windows 10 Handwriting Recognition

Once you’ve chosen an option, just follow the on-screen instructions. At the end of the process, don’t forget to save the changes when prompted to do so. If you don’t, you’ll have to do it all over again.

After you finish, though, your Surface should make fewer mistakes when trying to interpret your handwriting.



is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director). He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.


  1. Is it possible to add words to the dictionary? It refuses to accept my first name. I will see that it correctly interpreted my handwriting, but then the autocorrect changes it to something else every time. It gets very frustrating.

      • I am having the same problem. My first name is Dannielle with 2 n’s. I can write my name one letter at a time and watch the preview. If gets to Danniell and as soon as I write the last letter is corrects to Danielle… One n.

  2. Tim, you have accurately described the process that gets a person to the tutorial set up to teach your Microsoft pc how to recognize a person’ s script and convert it to typed text properly. Also I can confirm that taking the time to rewrite the 50 sentences in this exercise does improve the correct recognition of a person’s script. I know this because it did when I used it with my Pro 3 with Windows 8.1, However, I’ve used this process, which I actually learned before I read your article on three Pro4’s with windious10, two were returned for unrelated problems, the process you described gets you to where the next step should be the tutorial, but on each Pro 4 it stopped short of actually providing the tutorial. The actual tutorial is missing! Since you did not say which pc and operating system you were using it must have been before the Pro4 and Windows 10.
    AIso and this is from doing the tutorial on the Pro3, it does not correct the PC’s tendency from having your words leave out the spaces and treating them as all one word and it does not seem to keep the pen from stopping at times, nor does it help with punctuation.
    Hope you can pass his. issues along to someone who can fix them.

  3. When I am trying to write sentences to update it, it says 1 of 0 available and won’t show me sentences to write. How do I fix this?

  4. I am looking for tips and advise on shortcuts, etc. while using my handwriting recognition in windows 10. I figured out how to erase a mistake by slashing through the word, but I cannot find anything else. Do you know where I can find a tutorial on how to use the handwriting feature. I am mostly using the handwriting recognition in OneNote.


  5. Has anyone come across an issue where the first letter that is written appears briefly and disappears when moving to 2nd letter? Using a Surface Pro 4 on Win 10 1511 build (I know, I know but its an enterprise build)

  6. The “personalize handwriting recognition” feature worked like a charm but unfortunately is now broken since July/August (on all Surface Pro 4 at least) as it has been reported many times on sites like, forum.windowscentral and reddit just for mention some. Type “sp4 broken handwriting personalization” on a serach engine and you’ll find them. To Tim Rolston or anyone of his collaborator I’d ask their support in spreading this scandal by writing an article about it if possible because I feel outrageous against all the owners of a Surface device that this feature hasn’t been repaired in 4/5 months. Thanks.

    A Surface Pro 4 owner

    • This. How is this not more of an issue? OneNote on Surface Pro 4 could be great, but breaking the handwriting recognition really REALLY sucks…

    • This problem still persists in 2017. I think it’s also worth noting that Microsoft have significantly dumbed handwriting recognition down in Windows 10. You can only write on one line and adding new words to the handwriting dictionary is no longer available as you write. The process described here was the only way to customise the handwriting experience but now even that is no longer possible.

  7. It is utterly shameful that Microsoft is blatantly ignoring Surface Pro 4 Owners! No, not just shameful, but HORRIBLE for their bottom line! If they only knew just how many people I have personally talked out of purchasing a Surface Pro 4 since I got mine, they’d have a hit out on me.

    Even with all its quirks, I take mine EVERYwhere. Little things like hand-writing my list and taking it with me grocery shopping, taking notes in various configurations at my nephew’s Scouts meetings, using the Sketchpad or Bamboo Paper to illustrate an idea/concept/how-it-works, etc. are what having this “futuristic” (and expensive) device are all about.

    As you can imagine, people are always curious and a great many of them don’t hesitate to ask questions. I have worked in IT most of my life and still geek out over pretty much any kind of tech-talk so I always indulge their curiosities. But for every “super-advanced-neato-wow-cool feature” I show and tell them about, they also get the lowdown on one of its many “quirks” (as I like to call them).

    I DO “lovemysurface” Pro 4, but no one has ever walked away from one of these impromptu Q&As with their wallet out and a sparkle in their eye heading down to the Microsoft Store or Best Buy. Interestingly, I also “lovemyHTCphone” (currently on my 6th, each slightly more advanced than the last) and no fewer than 10 of my friends and family members have upgraded to HTC over the past few years…

  8. I’ve gotten into Settings then Language Options without any problems but under Handwriting it tells me “there are no handwriting options for this language”. Which makes no sense to me because I’m using English (United States), same as this example. Anyone know how to fix that?

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