Android iPhone and iPad

WritePad for iOS & Android Turns Your Handwritten Notes to Digital Text

Bakari Chavanu 05-05-2014

If you still use handwritten notes but like the idea of going paperless The Beginner's Guide To Going Paperless With A Mac, iPad and iPhone I don't have the stats to prove it, but I think the money I save by going paperless practically pays for my Apple devices. Read More , your iPad can bridge the gap between handwritten notes and digital text.


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It’s perhaps the only app of its kind that converts your handwriting notes to digital text as you write. This handwriting recognition software has gone from strength to strength over the years, and it’s definitely worth trying if you prefer to handwrite instead of type notes on a touchscreen.

How WritePad Works

WritePad allows you to handwrite anywhere on a document page, and when you lift your finger or stylus pen, it converts your handwriting to digital text. You still need to write words horizontally, but they don’t have to be written on the same line, and you don’t have write an entire sentence before the conversion takes place.

WritePad 2

You also need to write in complete words, because WritePad uses a built-in dictionary to check spelling of converted words, which will suggest spelling corrections and synonyms. And yes, the app will recognize cursive writing, though obviously it gives better results with print writing.


WritePad 1

You can use finger gestures to, for example, backspace and delete a character, add a space, activate the Return key, undo the last handwriting recognition, copy and paste selected text and more.

WritePad gestures

Another quick finger gesture brings up a special punctuation keyboard, useful for handwritten punctuation that WritePad doesn’t recognize.


WritePad keyboard

There’s also a shorthand feature in the toolbar for quickly pasting pre-typed text (like names, addresses, special words and phrases.) There are further shortcuts that allow you to write the “date,” and circle it, which adds the current date as digital text.

IMG 1181

If you need more precise handwriting, you can use the special writing pad that provides a preview of digital text and word options before they are applied to the note document. You can only write a few words at at time in the pad space, so you might not find it better than writing on the larger note space.


WritePad pad

And as you might expect, WritePad also contains a traditional keyboard that can be used alongside the handwriting recognition features.

As I tested the app, the only feature I  longed for was automatic return, instead of using the assigned Return key finger gesture, for creating a list of items.



Saving and Preferences Features

WritePad has dozens of other features for inserting text, pasting current location, creating calendar events, and spell checking words. All of your documents are automatically saved, and they can be managed into folders. Documents can be exported to PDF, shared on Twitter and Facebook, as well as iMessage and directly to a printer.

WritePad documents

Documents can also be synced automatically between other devices using either iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and iTunes. And there are dozens of preferences, including options for autohiding the toolbar, autocapitalization, a selection of theme colors for the UI, palm rejection, and phone number and URL detection.

WritePad also supports 16 other languages, each of which can be purchased as an in-app download or in iTunes App Store.

A Very Powerful Notepad

Even if, like me, you rarely handwrite anything anymore, WritePad is still a handy app to have for when you want to quickly take lecture notes, brainstorm ideas, and simply write without typing. It should work with any type of stylus Stylus Showdown: Back To School Review and Giveaway It's Back-To-School month, and all through the month you've had chances to win great back-to-school items such as the ASUS VivoBook X202E touchscreen laptop, the Timbuk2 Power Q laptop backpack and a custom-made budget gaming... Read More , and I found it pretty accurate for text conversion, especially when using print handwriting.

Developers have produced downloable PDF documentation for each version of WritePad, available on PhatWare’s support website.

What do you think of WritePad? Have you used any similar apps? Leave your thoughts in the comments, below.

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  1. Robert Post
    January 22, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I have used Windows for Pocket PC and Windows Mobile, writing everything in with a stylus, for over 15 years, and that is one thing I really REALLY miss with my new Android phone. I wish someone could copy the "letter recognizer" feature they had because that, for me, was idea. But I am thinking I may learn to like this..... and it HAS to be better than one finger typing ... although I admit I find the Samsung Predictive Text feature to be awesome. I hope this is as good.

  2. Len Villasenor
    June 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I just read your article on the Apple version of WritePad. I am using a Nexus 7 which is smaller than your iPad and WritePad works great, although it is a little different on the Android platform. WritePad can be used as an alternate keyboard on ALL programs that utilize the keyboard--thus any other note program or productivity suite. In the android version you can type rather fast in the allocated handwriting area and it will convert it to text. Thus I really like using WritePad as a primary keyboard input especially on Handwriting applications, because one can have sections in cursive and use the WritePad for conversion to text. It is easy to also utilize the microphone to dictate to text as well so one has access to multiple input possibilities. I have found this to be a great program on the Android platform. It is as simple as writing the word and it is converted to text.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      June 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Len, thanks for letting us know what you think about WritePad and how well it works on the Android platform. Other readers will probably find your feedback useful. Thanks.

  3. Linda R
    May 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I love to use a stylus for both writing and graphics. I use a bluetooth enabledWacom stylus.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Linda, thanks for your feedback. I've never heard of the bluetooth Wacom stylus. I'm curious, how do you use it for WritePad?

  4. Fred H
    May 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Any export functions? For example, can you export to PDF or send your notes to Evernote directly?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Fred, sorry to just be responding to your question. Yes, as I point out in the article, documents can be exported to PDF and via email.

  5. sgtret
    May 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Android $9.99....

  6. Michael L
    May 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Android version is $9.99 not $4.99 as stated. No way am I shelling out $10 thought about it at $5.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Michael, thanks for that price correction. I'll see if I can get my editor to change it.

  7. Paul B
    May 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I dont know, I can type faster than I can write. I'd rather just type it up on an iOS or android device than to use a stylus.

    Aint nobody got time for WritePad.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      May 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Paul, I hardly handwrite anything anymore either, but I don't always like typing on the iPad, especially when I don't have an external keyword, or when I can't use voice dictation because other people are around. So I occasionally use WritePad for making lists and brainstorming ideas, and for avoiding typing for a change. I don't use it a lot, but I do appreciate that such an app was created. Thanks for your feedback.