Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Archive for January 21st, 2009

Using handwriting recognition in other programs

Posted by rosiemacalpine on January 21, 2009

Most IWB software (including Promethean) include some sort of handwriting recognition. This means that if you write a word on the board, it will turn it into text.

I used handwriting recognition frequently to tidy up my messy writing in Activstudio. Then I started look for other ways to use it on the board. Here’s some examples of when it can come in handy:

  • Edit a Word document at the board
  • Write directly into excel cells
  • Write a web address or search term into a browser
  • Complete online games or learning activities where text is required in a field.

Here’s a few ways to use handwriting recognition outside your software.

1. Ritepen

Once you’ve installed the Ritepen software on your computer, you will have a pen icon in your start bar. Simply click on it to write. Here’s an example from their website. The only thing I don’t like about Ritepen is that it does “write anywhere” which then makes it difficult to interact with other parts of the software as you have to keep turning the pen on and off. I think a text box would be a nice option. It’s $30 US for a single licence which is very reasonable.


2. Office XP

It’s possible to turn on handwriting recognition if you are using Office 2003 and then use it in any Office software (Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc) and Internet Explorer. Instructions can be found here. When I used XP, I thought this was a great feature and used it all the time.

3. Windows Vista/ 7

With the arrival of Vista, Windows took handwriting recognition out of Office, and put it in the OS. (Unfortunately, that means you won’t have access to Windows handwriting recognition if you use Office 2007 but Windows XP which is a common combination.)

But Vista’s new handwriting recognition is very neat. Once it’s turned on, you have a tablet bar hovering at the side of your screen. Click on it to pull it out and write in it. Then you can use handwriting recognition in any program with a text field. Click here to view the instructions for activating it. As you can see by the screenshot, it is quite generous to those with messy handwriting!


To turn it on:

1. On the Microsoft Windows Start menu, click in the search box.

2. Type the word tablet

3. The Tablet PC Input Panel will then appear in your start menu.

4. Click on it to turn it on.


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