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Microsoft brings its digital ink to the iPad with OneNote handwriting update

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Microsoft is bringing its digital inking and handwriting features to the iPad today. In a new update to the OneNote iPad app, Microsoft has added the option to switch on a handwriting mode. You can use a third-party iPad stylus or even your fingers to draw out notes, and there are options to modify the thickness of the digital ink and its style. OneNote for iPad also includes palm rejection by allowing you to set how you usually hold a pen. It’s a neat trick that worked well during our limited testing.

While the software maker has traditionally kept these inking features exclusive to Windows, that started changing when Microsoft shipped an Android version of OneNote with the handwriting feature last year. “We’re constantly working to make our interface more natural for note-takers,” says a spokesperson for Microsoft’s OneNote team. “OneNote for iPad reflects lessons we’ve learned over the years by from studying and understanding how people use pens.” Those lessons include color options, a digital canvas that’s endless, and options to use two fingers to scroll while you’re writing.

OneNote iPad inking 660px

Alongside the handwriting update, Microsoft is also bringing its optical character recognition (OCR) to all versions of OneNote. OCR allows you to search for text within any image inserted into a notebook saved on OneDrive. The text processing takes around five minutes per photo until it’s fully indexed, and this will be searchable across OneNote on PCs or Macs, phones, and tablets.