Making sense of OneNote’ OCR

OneNote’ ink to text is one of its most impressive feature, and although I don’t use it a lot, it was a welcome improvement when it was introduced to the App version last summer.

In addition to converting ink to text rather flawlessly, OneNote UWP manages to differentiate font sizes and colors, and keeps the portion of text highlighted.

Your Ink is not searchable instantly, but you can ink to text at once.

Oddly, whereas the handwritten text can be converted instantly, it takes some time to be able to search for ink. Actually, you need to be online, and it takes no less than 5 minutes to go back and forth to OneDrive before you can search for your ink.

Also, converting twice gives odd results :

Not so smart, actually !


What’s more of a concern, is that text inked in OneNote UWP can’t be “inked to text” in OneNote desktop. Nor is it searchable there…

The opposite is not true nevertheless, meaning any handwritten text in OneNote desktop is searchable in OneNote UWP :

But results are shown differently, whereas the text was handwritten in the UWP or Desktop version.


This indicates clearly that OneNote UWP’ ink format is not fully compatible with the desktop version… (or retro-compatible, since the desktop version is older).

One last detail : OneNote UWP highlights the first result in grey, and the subsequent in yellow :

Note on the right side of the above picture (OneNote desktop) : text handwritten in OneNote UWP (on the right column) is not parsed by the search command.


LIRE AUSSI  Diagrams

Sometimes also, the search if shown differently (as a selection in a box) :

Note also that the left pane says “no result for your search”, despite two occurence found, and “highlighted” ?!


As a conclusion, I would not dare to use the same wording than Microsoft, which says that “OneNote for Windows 10…dramatically improved ink-to-text option”, but it’s great to have this feature finally available in OneNote UWP !


Further reading : Free vs Paid OCR article from MakeUseOf

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