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Handwriting Recognition

Handwriting recognition technology is rocketing away at the speed of light.

To take advantage of handwriting recognition on PC’s you just need a capacitive (avoid resistive) touch screen with a fine-tipped (keep away from dome-tipped) stylus. To download a HTG information sheet on the differences between these screens and styli click HERE). The software is built into Windows, so you do not have to pay extra for it.

Windows 10 handwriting recognition can only be described as ‘sock-blowing’.

I started using Windows handwriting recognition from Windows 95 and in each successive release of Windows, Microsoft has dramatically improved the accuracy of the software. The latest Windows 10 handwriting recognition can only be described as ‘sock-blowing’.

Generally, you can use the technology to enter data into any program: your patient management system, Microsoft Outlook emails, websites, Microsoft Word or Excel; you can hand write into anywhere that you can use your keyboard to enter data into.

To do so (with Windows 10), you first touch the small ‘Touch keyboard’ icon (see illustration below) which is usually located in the bottom right of your screen. This pops up a window that is akin to a chalkboard on which you write your text.

You then use your stylus to touch the point (example: client number or the spot on the MS Word document, etc) that you wish to enter the data into.

Start writing onto the chalkboard and as you write, the system converts your handwriting into text and enters that directly into your application.

For those who cannot type quickly, and especially for those who write out their notes for someone else to type, this technology quickly comes into its own.

If you make mistakes, there are numerous ways to correct them. There is no need to train the system to understand your handwriting; it does so beautifully out of the box but you can improve its accuracy by training the system through the following steps:

1: Start Settings, then, using the search bar on the top left corner, type ‘Language’

2: Click on ‘Language’ and the traditional Control Panel should open

3: Next to your primary language, click ‘Options’

4: Click ‘Personalize handwriting recognition’

5: Select ‘Target specific recognition errors’ or ‘Teach the recognizer your handwriting style’

See how the system was able to accurately decipher my nearly incomprehensible word “handwriting” in the illustration below – even I could barely decode what I wrote! This shows the power of the technology. After training the system a few times to comprehend my illegible scrawl, it managed to do it on its own.

Handwriting is likely to be slower than typing for anyone who can type rapidly. However, for those who cannot type quickly, and especially for those who write out their notes for someone else to type, this technology quickly comes into its own.

This technology is ideal for replacing manual form filling which usually involves workers laboriously handwriting data onto paper forms out in the field or factory. These forms then are passed to someone else to punch into the system thereby incurring double handling and the chance of transcription errors.

By converting to handwriting recognition using electronic forms on tablets, the system not only reduces or eliminates transmission errors and double handling, it also allows the user to benefit from software smarts that can be programmed into the system.

For example, the forms can feature pull–down menus, check boxes or radio buttons to reduce data entry and enhance accuracy through standardization.

Or automatic workflows can be built into these electronic forms to save effort and ensure that nothing falls through cracks. As an example, if a worker selects ‘Y’ to the question ‘Information pack requested?’, the system could automatically email the contact details of the customer to the marketing dept with an instruction to send out the pack. Or if ‘Follow up appointment needed?’ is answered with a ‘Y’, then the form automatically pops up the next question of ‘In 1, 2 or 3 months?’ and even automatically books the appointment and sends out a reminder.

The powerful combination of handwriting recognition with electronic forms is enabling many businesses to not only save labour but also to improve customer service

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