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Handy writing recognition apps

Quallies are more than familiar with hurriedly scribbling down fieldwork notes, only to be faced with a stack of paper the following day, and the mammoth job of typing the notes up. Coupled with the time pressure of report writing, this process often feels tedious andeven a little outdated. Thankfully, there are apps which can help.

Of the free handwriting recognition software available, ‘Pen to Print’ is one of the highest rated. It aims to save you time, and eliminate this middle step, by converting handwritten notes into digital text. Simply photograph the pages, and the app does the rest, ideal after writing notes of in depth interviews.

Word of warning, the results aren’t always 100% accurate, and need reviewing. The clearer the writing, the better, bad news for those with messier handwriting. It’s also worth noting that these kind of apps cope best with printed lettering so avoid cursive. That said, results can be good, especially when they’re free, with the potential to save some precious post-fieldwork time. Perhaps worth trying next time you need to type up notes?


Katie Laws
Insight Manager, Relish Research

This article was first published in InBrief magazine, January 2019
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2019