Handwriting OCR
June 12, 2010 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a handwriting OCR program for OS X. [not evernote]

I thought evernote could pull it off, but it doesn't - like not at all. (Here's an example pdf, and here's what evernote got out it.) I'm looking for handwriting OCR software that works on OS X, preferably under $100. I use a S300, so it should work with pdf's or images because the S300 is not TWAIN compliant. Also, I am not looking for a pen recorder, I'd prefer to use any paper and any pen.
posted by Brent Parker to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yeah, you're asking for the impossible. I've looked at a lot of OCR architectures - principally OCROpus, but several others - and that handwriting sample you've given is not going to be readable in any way by any of them. The last time I saw a handwriting recognition software that worked well enough to decode the sample you've given, it was the Apple Newton. There hasn't been anything good enough since then.

And even the Apple Newton couldn't have decoded the handwriting there on a first go. The Newton worked well because it learned handwriting, so you'd have to spend a lot of time teaching it. And I don't know of any software on the market now that does that, although maybe someone else does.

I'm guessing what you're asking for doesn't exist yet, and maybe never will.
posted by koeselitz at 9:40 PM on June 12, 2010

I'm thrilled when OCR on a scanned typed document works half decent. I don't think you'll ever find handwriting recognition that is worth the hassle any time in the near future, regardless of what platform you're on.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:27 PM on June 12, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, you're asking for the impossible.

Well on windows I ran Softwriting for my handwriting recognition. It worked really well. Sure, with my occasionally connected words it crapped out on me, but by and large - it was about 90% -95% correct. I just would rather not run XP on a virtual machine if I didn't have to for one app.
posted by Brent Parker at 11:17 PM on June 12, 2010

Looking around, there are actually several products now that do machine learning.

Softwriting is one of these. So you should know that Softwriting didn't just understand what you were saying at first; it had to be taught, and even if they made the training pretty seamless, there was some need for it to figure out how you in particular write. If you fed that page of handwriting you've offered to a fresh, brand new install of Softwriting, it would probably understand just as much as Evernote did.

I wish I knew OS X well enough to recommend something, but I don't.
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 AM on June 13, 2010

« Older Please help me identify and apply this skill   |   Make these shoes look brand new again Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.