How to convert handwriting to text with OCR to PDF.

A woman uses a mobile device to convert handwriting to text using OCR for PDF

Convert handwriting to text via OCR to PDF documents for easy editing.

Have you ever wished you could copy and paste text from handwritten notes into a computer program? Good news — you can easily do it with the help of OCR technology.

OCR can convert scanned handwriting to text in seconds. Read on to learn how OCR works and how you can scan handwriting into computer-readable PDF text.

So, now that you know you can convert handwriting to text with OCR, you may be wondering, “What is OCR?

What is OCR scanning?

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that turns “flat” documents — such as images or non-editable PDFs — into editable text files. It scans a document page and recognizes the letters, numbers, and symbols, recreating them in a machine-readable format. OCR can even work on handwriting to convert sheets of notes into editable PDF files.

How to convert handwriting to text.

Now that you know what OCR scanning is, you may want to know how to convert handwriting to text with OCR. You can convert handwriting to text by using any of the following methods — you can use an OCR scanner app, convert handwriting to text using your mobile device, or convert OCR to PDF text online using Adobe Acrobat.

Digitize your handwriting with an OCR scanner app.

An OCR-capable scanner is the easiest way to scan handwriting to machine text. If you don’t have a scanner, you can also use a mobile scanner app with OCR features to convert handwriting automatically. Adobe Scan, for example, works like this:

  1. Open the scanner app.
  2. Point your mobile device’s camera at a handwritten document.
  3. Save the scanned file.

After scanning, you can edit or convert the PDF like any regular PDF file.

Convert handwriting to text using your mobile device.

Some phones have built-in OCR capabilities and can convert handwriting to text.

You can use your iPhone’s OCR handwriting features by following these steps:

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Create a new note or open an existing one.
  3. Tap the camera icon.
  4. Choose the Scan Text option from the pop-up menu.
  5. Point the camera toward the handwritten text as it opens.
  6. Allow the camera to read and analyze the text. The gray insert button will turn blue.
  7. Tap insert.

Convert OCR to PDF text online using Adobe Acrobat.

You can easily convert OCR to editable PDF text with Adobe Acrobat.

Here’s how to edit your scanned documents:

  1. Open a PDF that contains a scanned image in Acrobat.
  2. Click the Edit PDF tool in the right pane. Acrobat automatically applies OCR to your document and converts it to an editable copy of your PDF.
  3. Click the text element you wish to edit and start typing. The new text will match the look of the original fonts in your scanned image.
  4. Choose File > Save As and type a new name for your editable document.

You can also use the Edit PDF tool in Adobe Acrobat online services to work with your scanned OCR documents online.

Acrobat makes reformatting your work a breeze. While Adobe’s tools can quickly convert text, there are some ways you can make it an even smoother process to transform your handwritten documents into text.

Tips for scanning handwriting to text smoothly.

You can easily convert handwriting to text via OCR technology. By using a free scanner app like Adobe Scan, a smartphone, or an online OCR option, you can scan the handwriting with your smartphone. From there, the technology will recognize the text and translate it into text on a document.

Although OCR can recognize handwriting, the writing has to be reasonably neat in the first place. OCR relies on uniformity to recognize text, and — like people — it can have trouble reading messy handwriting. Here are some tips to make OCR scans more successful:

In a nutshell, the closer your handwriting is to a digital font, the better OCR can recognize it. But you may be able to convert even smudged or messy writing, so it’s always worth a try.

Is quality compromised when you scan handwriting to text via OCR to PDF?

Quality can potentially be compromised in your work if it’s not created in a neat fashion. When scanning handwritten documents, it’s important to ensure the handwriting is legible, as the OCR technology may not be able to pick up certain words otherwise. OCR requires uniformity in order to convert text properly.

More resources on OCR and PDFs.

Once you learn how to convert handwriting to text via OCR to PDF documents, here are additional resources to work with: