So, I thought I’d write a little introduction to using handwriting recognition on Surface tablets to make you aware of how it works and, maybe, get you pointed in the right direction to master it.
As you might expect, handwriting recognition works better on a Surface Pro/Pro2 due to the inclusion of a Wacom stylus but it will also work just fine on a Surface RT/2 using a finger or capacitive stylus.
The Handwriting recognition on Surface tablets uses something called the Handwriting Panel which is really just a specific mode for the on-screen touch keyboard. When set to handwriting mode, your Surface will allow you to print text using a stylus or finger, which it will then convert to text and insert into your application or document.
Handwriting Recognition on Surface Tablets: Handwriting Panel
Next, I’ll go over using the handwriting panel. In this example I’m using Notepad in desktop mode but it will work fine with Modern applications as well.
In fact, some modern apps customize the handwriting panel slightly to make it more useful when working in that application.
For example, the modern version of IE will automatically fill in “http://www._________.com” when you select the address bar to make it a little more web-centric.
Open the handwriting panel:
- Open a document or application and bring up the onscreen keyboard appears.
- Once the on-screen keyboard appears, tab the keyboard mode button in the lower right corner. It will look like the illustration to the left (unless your Surface is set to a different language, in which case it will have the appropriate language code on the button)
- A popup will appear. Tap on the 3rd icon from the left
The keyboard will be replaced with the handwriting panel as shown on the screenshot below. That’s it. pretty easy, huh? You can switch back to one of the other keyboard modes by repeating the procedure and choosing one of the other icons (the one on the left is the default).
Using the handwriting panel:
Now that the handwriting panel is selected, all you have to do is write on one of the lines using your finger or stylus. Notice that it tries to convert it to text as you go, so you don’t have to worry about inserting mistakes into your document.
If you make a mistake or if the word isn’t recognized correctly, just scratch it out and it will be deleted. When you’re happy with the sentence, just tap Insert.
Rinse and repeat as necessary 😉
You will find that for the most part, the handwriting on Surface tablets is remarkably accurate; although, I find that at times it will have problems with certain words or punctuation.
I hope you found this introduction to handwriting recognition on Surface tablets helpful. I really only touched the basics and if you play with it a bit, you’ll find tips and tricks that will help with your own handwriting recognition.
As always, if you have questions or comments, please let us know.
Tim Rolston 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.