Finally, handwriting recognition comes to the Kindle Scribe

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When I reviewed the Kindle Scribe, I described summarised the review with this:

The first generation of the Kindle Scribe offers a really satisfying pen and paper experience. Some missing features hold it back, but could easily be fixed with a software update.

Nick Broughall, Kindle Scribe review

This week, Amazon has gone a fair way to filling those missing features, with a software update that can convert your handwritten notes to text during the export process.

It’s not quite a full service handwriting recognition tool though. It only works during the export process of a full notebook. Here’s the description from Amazon:

In the Share menu, customers will have the option to “Convert to text and quick send” and “Convert to text and email” their standalone notebook as a .txt file. For the latter option, customers will be able to preview, review, and edit their notebook converted to text before sharing over email to up to five email addresses.

It’s not everything I hoped for, but as I said in the review, it’s something that can be further improved with software updates.

Amazon Lasso

It’s not just the handwriting recognition that’s getting an update though. Among the other updates arriving in the coming weeks via an over the air update is a lasso select tool, so you can select notes to copy and paste, resize or move your handwritten notes.

There is also an update that will allow for Scribe owners to write on certain books using the Scribe’s pen.

Those books are fairly limited – you can find them by searching for “Write-on Books” in the store or “On-page writing” listed as a supported feature.

Predominantly, it will be for things like Sudoku puzzle books or crosswords – you won’t be able to write notes all through your copy of Catcher in the Rye.

For all the challenges the Scribe faced when it launched, it’s still really good to see Amazon continuing to improve the pen and paper experience the eReader offered with software updates.

Hopefully we will see additional updates over the coming year that allows for a more immediate handwriting to notes conversion.

I’ll be looking to test the feature and will update the review once I’ve experienced the new features.


  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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