Any advances in hand-writing recognition for scanned/photos of docs?

Thinking about hand-writing, and a way to digitize that to text.
I’ve found older threads here on the forum, and on the googles, but nothing very definitive. Either iOS, iPadOS or macOS, doesn’t matter.

related thread on morning pages

For those doing handwriting but wanting digital, would a RocketBook be useful?


Thanks for the suggestion.
I’m choosy about my pens and papers. I guess if it were life or death I could use a Frixion pen, but not otherwise.
It would be nice if their app would work for other paper and pen.
They have free PDFs that can be printed and used with their app. I might try to cobble together something that will work with my paper (like an overlay).

Scan the document to PDF. Upload to Right-click the PDF and choose Open With > Google Docs. The handwriting will be converted to text.

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I tested this, and the result dropped my jaw literally.



Drive → Docs

dang Google, you are so good, but you are still Google!


It seems, I am not alone on this one. I am known for refusing to sign with the ubiquitous disposable ballpoints. “You need to sign this” (Hands me some document and a ballpoint). Answer: “No”. :smiley:

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Has anyone tried either Livescribe+ or Moleskine Smart System?

Yes! I have a large archive of Livescribe notebooks and extracted PDFs – used it solely for business meetings not personal journalling. I drifted away from Livescribe as iPads improved, Pencil got better, etc. But the product for years was my go-to for note taking.

The current Livescribe Symphony model looks very nice. Stores 1,200 A4 pages before syncing. Very tempting. Though for me that’s probably just being nostalgic.

I recently received my reMarkable 2 – after waiting most of the year for the company to ship it. I have very mixed feelings about. I didn’t return it because I like the feeling and form factor. But it has to be used in bright light or daylight. The pad surface is dark grey – it does not look at all like the images in their adverts. Exporting docs is clunky. The only way to get handwriting recognition is to email pages to yourself. I asked their support about all this – the answer was “yep; you’re right”.


There is an IOS app called “Pen to Print” that converts cursive to print. It uses the devices camera to scan the paper note then gives you editing and saving options. Its free to try but to do anything with the transcribed text you have to pay.

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I used to use Rocketbook and have created a similar workflow using Google OCR/Handwriting recognition. Now I can write on any piece of paper and either take a photo or scan and it ends up in my Devonthink along with the scan and text from Google. The results are good enough that I can search on keywords.
I have uploaded the scripts to github. I have it working with Scanner Pro, Box , Hazel & DEVONthink .
Here is an example -

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That’s awesome!
Exactly the workflow I had hoped for. Will give it a try!

@hirenhindocha I found cdf, but wonder where I can get convert?

“Convert” is part of ImageMagick.

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Well I’m in the 10th Circle of Danté’s hell now.
I’ve installed PyCharm CE with Anaconda plugin, as well as anaconda using homebrew, and conda using homebrew. Still get an error ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'google' even though I have installed google-cloud-vision and several other google packages for good measure.
Any advice appreciated.


Homebrew, Python, oh boy


create an issue in the GitHub repo, and ask for install instructions, as I don’t see any.

Ahh I’ve never successfully installed any package for use in PyCharm except from within the PyCharm interface. You also have to be sure you are installing it the version of Python you expect to run. (I have 3 versions of Pythin installed on my development machine.) Normal command line installs put it in some weird system place that PycCharm can’t access. At least that’s what I found out.

Also, I’ve never ever gotten anything installed via homebrew to run at all on any Mac I tried it on. So I never even use that as an option now.

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I’ve updated the github with INSTALL instructions.

My apologies.


Yeah, I think the PyCharm stuff doesn’t work from the command line. I could be wrong.

Homebrew has been my go-to package manager for years, and haven’t had any trouble. I abandoned MacPorts because it just made a mess of things, require root access, etc.


I had to pip install google-cloud-vision after setting up the environment, then authorize the API, and the test code works!

Thanks @hirenhindocha for all the help!