Better handwriting conversion

Good evening,

I am using Agenda since over one year massively for my work and I especially love the opportunity to sort via date or via project.

One thing is still not as convenient as I would like to have it and I could imagine that many other users have a similar experience:

The handwriting recognition is still very poor (I use it mainly in German and English). And the reason is not my handwriting, but basically that the program has problems with words that are unknown. Especially for business application, there are many abbreviations and special words which makes notes via Pencil very difficult to write (or to correct very often via keyboard).

I still see the Myscipt recognition much better (use e.g. in Nebo) - and I haven’t seen any improvement over the last 1,5 years vs. myscript.

So integration of a better recognition (either another tool like myscript or using AI to improve the recognition) would be great…

For now, I look into buying a keyboard on Amazon prime day :wink:
But I hope you take it on the agenda :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback!

We are using Apple’s standard built in Scribble technology for recognizing hand writing, so we don’t have any control over it ourselves. It could be that if you add words to the system dictionary, it may get better.

Hand writing recognition is seriously difficult, and really requires lots of resources, like Apple’s, to do it. Apple are working more with AI, and I hope that will just improve things over time.

Awe did look at myscript several years ago, and had a chat with them about it, but the prices were prohibitive for our app, which is not solely about handwriting.

One thing you can consider is that I believe nebo/myscript have a software keyboard which you can use in other apps. So you write on the keyboard area on screen, and it inserts the words. Maybe that can be an option.

Kind regards,

The problem with using Scribble is that its language support is pitiful and is unlikely to improve - I’m fairly certain that they will never bother to support e.g. polish, dutch or norwegian. Unfortunately the iPad is probably the device least suited to on-screen typing which makes the app oddly inconvenient on the iPad.

I have checked and unfortunately MyScript no longer provides a separate keyboard app. Would it be possible to offload their licensing cost directly to us - the users? I for one would be willing to pay for good handwriting conversion on the iPad.

I would expect language support for Scribble to increase over the next couple of years as it’s one of the areas that benefits from on device AI models.
For supported languages, such as English, French, German, Spanish and even language like Chinese that use
Non - Latin character sets, it’s really quite good in iPadOS 18.

I agree that it doesn’t make sense that you try to develop something in that area. So either Apple does improve it or another tool which would be integrated would do the job.

Update: Damn that this is not available anymore. :frowning:
But I agree: Would it be an option to charge it to the users…


We are not too keen to charge everyone more for a feature that is limited to a subset of customers. And adding a separate purchase is also quite a bit of work, and perhaps even confusing or annoying to existing premium customers who expect to get the features.

The good news is that Apple seem to be focused on this stuff. They are bringing Smart Script in iOS 18, which — if you haven’t seen yet — is effectively a word processor for handwriting.

In order to do this, they have developed all sorts of AI techniques, and I would expect that to also be used in Scribble. So I think it is just a matter of time before Scribble gets much better, and hopefully we may even be able to adopt smart script in Agenda at some point. (Where is the EU when you need them? :slight_smile: )

Smart script looks nice, but given the rate at which they are adding languages it will take at least a decade before they get to Polish, if ever. They still haven’t bothered to translate Siri so I’m not particularly optimistic about us getting Scribble or Smart Script. Funnily enough, if they just added an option to disable automatic autocorrect in Scribble that would probably be enough to make it usable in any language that uses latin characters.

I see your point about annoying existing premium customers, though maybe it could be presented as some sort of “external integration”? As in, the integration is included in premium, but the used is responsible for the cost of external processing.

Actually, come to think of it, external integrations where we could pay for some external service to do some additional processing of our notes seem like an interesting, though probably hard to implement, proposition - imagine if the users could automatically translate their notes with deepl or ask Chat-GPT to summarise a note without leaving the Agenda app.

Thanks for the feedback!

Re: translation and summarization, Apple are adding that this year, and I expect we will use their solution in Agenda, so should not be any need to pay for ChatGPT.

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I don’t recall if it’s new in iOS/iPadOS 18 or not, but I can select text, long-press or right click, choose Translate, and have it translated. There’s an option to Replace with translation, too.

(And Polish is in the list for that one).

And it’s on-device if you download the languages.

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