How to convert handwriting to text in OneNote

If you prefer to write when taking notes, you might be interested to know that OneNote allows you to convert your handwriting into text. Changing your writing to text helps you search through your notes at a later time. So, in this article, we’ll guide you through how to leverage OneNote’s Ink to Text tool.

Convert handwriting to text:

  • Click on ‘Draw’ on the top menu.
  • Select a brush type and click on ‘Touch to Draw.
  • Write something into the main body of the page.
  • Click and hold to drag a select box around your writing.
  • Right-click the selected writing.
  • Then select ‘Ink to Text’ from the dropdown menu.

Please continue reading our visual, step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about changing your handwriting to text in OneNote.

How to draw in OneNote

You can draw in the web and app versions of OneNote. However, you will need to use the app/desktop version to convert your writing into text. Please start this guide by opening your OneNote app.

  • First, create a new section by clicking on the window (left or right click).
left or right-click.
Optional:




















Right-click the section name and select Rename from the dropdown menu.



Add a relevant page name at the top.

  • Click on Draw on the top menu.
  • Select a brush type.
  • Then select Draw with Touch if you’re using a pen.
Tip: Click the Pin icon in the bottom right corner of the top menu to keep it open.
Draw > Select brush > Click Draw with Touch.
  • You can modify the brush by clicking on Color & Thickness.
Color & Thickness.
  • Write something in the main body of the page.
Write in the page.

Convert handwriting to text

  • Next, click and hold to drag a select box around your writing.
  • Right-click the selected writing.
  • Then select Ink to Text from the dropdown menu.
Select the writing > Right-click the writing > Select Ink to Text.
  • You can also press Ctrl+A on your keyboard to select all contents.
  • Right-click the selected writing.
  • Go to Convert Ink in the dropdown menu.
  • Then select Ink to Text.
Use Ctrl+A to select the writing > Right-click the writing > Go to Convert Ink > Ink to Text.

The result:

The result.

Convert handwriting to math

The option to convert handwriting to math is available in the app and web versions of OneNote. First, we’ll look at doing this in the app version. To start this guide, click on Draw on the top menu, select a brush type, then click on Draw with Touch.

Tip: Click the Pin icon in the bottom right corner of the top menu to keep it open.

Handwriting to math (app version)

  • Draw any mathematical equation in the main body of the page.
  • Click and hold to drag a selection box around the equation.
  • Then right-click the select box and select Ink to Math from the dropdown menu.
Select the writing > Right-click the writing > Select Ink to Math.
  • You can write into the yellow box, erase, or select brush strokes to edit.
  • When you’re happy with the preview at the top, click the Insert button.
Insert the Math.

The result:

The result.

You will need Math Assistant (MA) to solve the equations. However, only the web version of OneNote comes with MA as standard.

Handwriting to math (web version)

A great feature on the web version of OneNote is the math assistant, which can solve your equations and also convert them from writing into text.

  • Go to Draw on the top menu.
  • Select the pen tool.
  • Modify the thickness of the brush if required.
Draw > Select brush.
  • Next, draw an equation in the main body of the page.
  • Use the marquee select tool on the top menu. (1)
  • Click and drag over the equation. (2)
  • Then click on Math. (3)
Write an equation > Select marquee tool > Select the writing > Click the Math button.
  • Math assistant will open on the right side of the window.
  • Click on Select an action, then select Evaluate from the dropdown menu.
Select an action > Evaluate
  • You can now click and drag the solved equation into the main body of the page.
  • Finally, click Ink to Math to convert your writing into text.
Evaluate equation and drag the result into the main body of your page.
EvaluateReturns the answer to the equation.
FactorReturns the factor of the answer. If the solution to the equation is 9, the factor will be 32 since 3 x 3 = 9.
RoundReturns the answer rounded to the nearest whole number.
FloorReturns the answer rounded down to the nearest whole number.
CeilingReturns the answer rounded up to the nearest whole number.
Other options are available depending on the type of equation you are trying to solve. You can also view the steps involved in solving more complex equations.

Click on Settings in the bottom right corner of the Math Assistant to solve for complex numbers or change the angle measurement to degrees, radians, or gradians.

Settings.

Convert handwriting to shape

The ink-to-shape tool is available in the app version of OneNote and can turn sketches into perfect shapes. You can use it to correct your drawings automatically, and it works with common shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, ovals, rhombuses, pentagons, hexagons, parallelograms, and trapezoids.

  • Click on Draw on the top menu.
  • Then click on Ink to Shape or go to Convert > Ink to Shape.
Tip: Click the Pin icon in the bottom right corner of the top menu to keep it open.
Convert > Ink to Shape.
  • Select a brush and click on Draw with Touch.
Select a brush > Draw with Touch.

OneNote will now automatically convert your drawings to shapes.

Change your drawings to shapes automatically in OneNote.

Conclusion

While the web version of OneNote comes with Math Assistant, it currently lacks the range of available tools in the app version. There are Math Assistant add-ins for OneNote (2010 and 2013). However, this feature is still not available for OneNote 2016.

You can convert your writing to text, shapes, and math in the app version of OneNote. But if you need to solve math equations, we suggest taking notes in the app version and typing the math equations in a textual form. You can then copy and paste the text equations from the app into the web version of OneNote to use the Math Assistant.

Remember to use an asterisk * instead of an x for multiplications when typing out an equation. For example, instead of 2×3, type 2*3.

Thanks for reading.

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John Gleave

John Gleave has been a researcher, content writer, and senior editor at Business Tech Planet since 2022. John was formerly a data analyst and web designer with expertise in several programming languages, such as JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, CSS, SQL, and more! With a passion for writing and technology, he has now focused his skills on crafting tech guides for BTP. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.

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