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Best notes app for handwriting recognition  



Just got the new iPad Pro. Any recommendations for a good note taking app with handwriting recognition that works well for someone with bad handwriting? I have messy handwriting so looking for something that can convert my scrawls to more readable text. Thanks.

3 Answers

I use, and recommend, Notability for taking notes. It has the ability to do handwriting recognition & conversion to text on a selection but it also has the ability to search the handwriting without having to convert it first - so depending on what your use case is, you might not even need to convert? See attached example image.

Notability also has a companion app for the Mac, and I synchronise between the two using iCloud. The combination of iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Notability has meant I no longer use paper and pen and all of my client notes are immediately available to me on any device. 

It also allows you to record audio while taking notes (eg. for lectures) and you can insert photos easily (good for documenting the state of things). I now couldn't live without it!

notability handwriting search

I'm a big fan of GoodNotes because of its ability to work with PDF files containing hyperlinks (to other parts of the document). This allows for creating more advanced organizers and notebooks. But in terms of handwriting recognition, it isn't automatic... you write on the page, circle the handwritten text to select it, and then indicate you want to convert it to text. This creates a new selection that is text-based.

GoodNotes also has a macOS component that allows me to access my notes created on my iPad.

Nebo on the other hand allows direct handwriting to text conversion as well as setting a style to that text. I don't have much experience beyond that in Nebo so I don't know how well it works for other aspects of digital notetaking.

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This post was modified 2 years ago by Graham McKay

Interesting recommendations.

Has anyone had success using note taking apps with a non-Pro iPad (2017)?  I’ve attempted it in several different apps with a passive stylus - one with the small tip and clear disk, as well as one with the usual soft nub - with pretty sad results.

I don’t really even need translation to text, just the ability to write legibly in the apps.  I’m assuming the passive stylus is the weak point, but would like some input from others who have tried this.