The handwriting tool is part of the touch keyboard in Windows. You can use it to write on the screen with a pen or similar, and it will convert that handwriting into text.
The handwriting pad is really easy to use, but these tips will make it easier to enter text with a pen on a touch screen device.
You can open the handwriting tool through the touch keyboard. The touch keyboard can be opened by clicking the icon on the Windows 11 taskbar. If you don’t see the keyboard icon in the taskbar, right-click on the taskbar and select Show touch keyboard button.
After opening the touch keyboard, click on the settings icon (it looks like a rectangle with a gear) and select the Handwriting (rectangle with a pen) option. The keyboard will turn into the handwriting pane. If you have an app like MS Word open, your handwriting panel will gravitate toward this app. This lets you know that the text you type will be entered into the app.
Handwriting tool can convert your writing into text as fast as you can type. But there are some tricks you can use to make typing faster and easier.
The first is the net. When you want to delete a word, you do not need to click on the delete button to the right of the writing area. Instead, draw a line across the incorrect word to delete it.
If you type a word that should actually be two words, or if the tool doesn’t add a space where it should contain, don’t worry. To split one word into two, simply draw a small V over the point where you want to separate the words.
You can use a similar technique to connect two words that should be one. Draw an arc or curved line from the last letter of the first word and the first letter of the second word. The space between the words will then be removed.
If you misspelled a word, you don’t actually need to delete it and write it again. Instead, simply type the correct letter over the incorrect letter.
How to improve handwriting recognition on Windows 11
The more you use your handwriting tool, the better your handwriting will be recognized. However, you can help speed up the learning process by using word suggestions as they come up.
Suggestions will only appear if the tool doesn’t know the exact word or letter you’re trying to type. If you use the suggestions to select the correct word, you help teach her your writing style.
The handwriting tool can recognize words written in several languages if the correct language is selected. You can choose a different language by clicking on the “More” button to the right of the handwriting tool. In the side panel that opens, press the Language button to choose a new language.
If the language button is greyed out and cannot be clicked, it means that you do not have any other language packs installed on your computer. You can add a new language pack in Settings > Time & Language > Language & Region. Select Add a language, and choose a language from the list. Check if the handwriting feature is available and select it before installing it.
If you don’t see the language you want to use in the list, you may need to install it as an optional feature. See our guide on how to add or remove optional features in Windows 11 for more details.
How to write special letters and numbers
You can write special letters and numbers in your handwriting tool, but it can sometimes be difficult to get them to recognize all of them. Fortunately, the handwriting tool features a special popup character and a numeric keypad.
Click on the More button and then click on the Special Character button. The keyboard slides out, and you can tap the number or letter you want to insert into the text. To close the keyboard, press the Handwriting button or anywhere in the visible handwriting area.
Adding special characters in Windows 11 can be confusing at times. If you want to know more about it, check out how to add special characters to documents in Windows 11.
The Handwriting tool will automatically apply to the currently selected script application or program. It will float above the app, usually near the bottom of the window.
When placed this way, it can sometimes obscure the text and make it difficult to work effectively. To make the block lower than the page, you can pin it to the bottom of the screen.
Tap the dock icon next to the X at the top right of the handwriting tool. The widget will snap to the bottom of the screen and extend to full width. The text app you’re using should snap to a higher position than the handwriting tool, so there’s no overlap between the two.
The default font that the handwriting tool uses to display your writing is called ink-free. This is a handwritten font. If you prefer, you can change it to a structured font style.
- Tap on the Settings icon and select More Settings > Pen & Windows Ink.
- The Settings app will open, where you can choose Use your handwriting to enter text.
- Use the dropdown menu next to the font to choose Segoe user interface. This is a written line.
- Available font options may vary in different countries. There must always be at least two font styles available.
If you want to learn more, check out How to customize fonts in Windows 11.
How to change the size and style of the handwriting board
The default style of the handwriting tool will be matched to the general Windows theme you are using. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change the style and size of both the handwriting pad and the touch keyboard.
- Tap on the Settings icon and select Theme and resize to see the touch keyboard customization page. These settings affect both the keyboard and the handwriting tool.
- Use the slider at the top to change the height and width of the handwriting tool.
- Keyboard theme section contains many predefined themes. Some change the window color, others affect the window and background colors.
- You can also create a custom theme. This allows you to choose individual colors for the keys, window, text, and background.
The handwriting tool in Windows 11 has been improved a lot and is now a great way to enter text on touch screen devices. Learning these basic tips will not only make text entry faster, but it will also make using a Microsoft Pen or another pen a lot less frustrating.