iPad Pro OneNote Pencil Notes how to manage & convert to text?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by judahde, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. judahde macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2015
    My major use case for the iPad Pro (IPP) is to reduce the amount of crap I haul around from meeting to meeting, so taking notes on the IPP is of primary concern. I use OneNote and I'm not interested in discussing other applications, so start another thread if you want to go there.

    So, in the OneNote for the IPP (and OneNote on a Mac), how does one:
    1. Convert handwritten notes into text, and
    2. Grab sections of handwritten notes to move them around and align with typed notes?
    For instance, I keep a Journal in OneNote. I type very fast so keeping up with a stream of consciousness is not an issue for me. I like to keep the newest entries at the top of the Journal. So, with a keyboard and text entries, all I do is place the cursor at the top, hit Return a couple of times then start today's entry at the top. With text it autospaces just fine.

    The issue with handwritten (Pencil) notes is they are treated as a separate object from the text entry. Keeping all of this aligned is a chore.

    One thought is to covert to text, but unlike the Windows version of OneNote, I don't see a Draw tab on the Ribbon to lasso the Pencil notes and convert. Am I missing something?
  2. judahde thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2015
  3. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Conversion from handwriting to text is supported on the Windows desktop version (not on the "modern" touch-enabled version). The Windows desktop version, however, is pretty awful to use in a tablet mode on a device like the Surface. Being s desktop app, the buttons and menus are designed for a mouse, not a finger. I have a Surface Pro 3 and it pretty much requires me to use the tablet-friendly "mobile" version of OneNote (nearly identical to the iPad version) to write notes, then sync the notebook and open again in the desktop version to manipulate. It's an awkward multistep process and would have been faster and simpler to just type in the first place. And because it requires a Windows machine to accomplish all that you want, you could still capture the handwriting on an iPad then use a Windows machine to do the post-processing.

    While what you want can't really be done in one step on the iPad Pro, it's not that much better on the Windows/Surface side either.
  4. Atomic Walrus macrumors 6502a

    Sep 24, 2012
    The OneNote brush engine on iOS is also one of the laggiest options available (for some reason it's not the same as the brush engine they use on any other platform and has a lot of added smoothing/interpolation). Not sure how much you care about that, but you'll have a much better writing experience in a different note application because of this lag. I'm pretty used to OneNote from the Surface Pro so this was disappointing... it's almost like MS doesn't want the experience to be as good on non-Windows platforms, but I can't see that being a viable strategy so it can't be true.
  5. JonSarge3108 macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2015
    What would you use to take notes ?
  6. judahde thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2015
    xraydoc & Atomic Walrus, I agree with your posts. I had a SP3 with very much the same experience.

    OneNote, using keyboard input on a desktop or laptop, handles all of my needs. The only missing "hole" was written notes and I create A TON of notes in meetings. My plan was to scan them daily (I have and highly recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner), but.... I would never get around to it. So, I ended up carrying the SP3 and my paper notebook.... then just the paper notebook.

    I am loathe to go to a Surface Pro 4. It's a fine machine but for my purposes, I've invested in the Apple infrastructure and want stay there.

    So, in light of my pre-admonishment to not discuss other Note taking apps, I'm going to start a new thread to ask about other Note taking apps.
  7. nannup macrumors newbie


    Dec 10, 2007
  8. JonSarge3108 macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2015
    Yup - it works.


    Left hand side cropped to hide some private headings.

    Attached Files:

  9. BillMoller macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2016
    I'm using an iPad Pro 9.7" with an Apple Pencil and OneNote, synchronizes through OneDrive to my desktop OneNote 2016. The "Ink to Text" feature does nothing, while "Ink to Math..." seems to convert (as well as it can... looking for math). Has anyone else experienced this?
  10. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I recall reading an article stating that ocr for handwriting in one note was arriving across all platforms - i'll have to track it down. I'm typing this on a surface pro three - so does that mean i can open teh desktop app once in a while to have to scan and make handwritten notes searchable?

    The answer is at least a sort of. If i open the written notes in the desktop app i can search them. I don't know if that index then carries over to the windows 10 tablet version. The resources consumed by the desktop version are much much much greater. Due to heat and poor battery life i limit the surface processor to 65% on battery with a custom power scheme - and man it's laggy, surprisingly so is firefox to a degree, while chrome is not.

    Ayway, those with access to the desktop version of one note - you may be able to get the searchable index by just launcing once in a while . I'm not sure what the admonishment thing was in discussing other apps - but GOODNOTES on ios creates searchable handwritten notes without uploading to the cloud like evernote - it works very well.
  11. LukeToh, Jul 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017

    LukeToh macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2017

    This is probably too late a reply, but what the heck...maybe it will help someone else.

    You have to enable Tablet PC Components on Windows 7.

    1) Press the Windows Key and type in Turn Windows features on or off, or go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows features on or off.

    2) Scroll down and check the box next to Tablet PC Components.

    3) Click OK.

    On Windows 10, I think you need to Press the Windows Key, type in Region and Language settings, select English, click on Options, and download the Handwriting option.

    Only then will the Ink to Text work on OneNote.

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