How to Convert Handwriting Into a Microsoft Word Document

By Josh Fredman

Handwriting and typed text used to be on either side of a great divide, but not anymore. Today you can easily bring handwriting into a Microsoft Word document by scanning handwritten documents as text or image files. You can also use touchscreen applications to create digital files from your own handwriting instantaneously. Alternatively, you can give typed documents a handwritten feel by using a custom font.

Scan It as an Image

If you want to digitize handwritten material, all you need is an ordinary electronic scanner. Just scan the papers as images, and then use Word's picture insert tool to paste them into Word. This technique works best when you want to preserve the physical appearance of a document, such as an old, sentimental love letter. It also works well in situations in which only humans -- not computers -- are going to read the documents.

Scan It as Text

If you need the handwriting to be recognized as text, you'll need to take an extra step. Scan your papers as before, but this time save them as PDF files. Then use "optical character recognition" (OCR) software to recognize the handwriting as text and convert it into machine-readable text. OCR software comes with Adobe Acrobat, and you can also get it for free from sources like OnlineOCR.net or PaperFile.net. After the OCR software converts the handwriting, you can open the new files in Word and do a little light editing to catch any mistakes that the OCR software made.

Use Touchscreen Devices

Word 2013 lets you take a stylus, pen or even your own finger and write directly on the screen of a touch-sensitive tablet. If you choose this route, you can dispense with paper altogether, skip the scanner and go directly from your own handwriting to a Word file. The only caveat is that you need a tablet. In Word on the Ribbon, click "Pens," "Ink Tools" and "Pen" to start.

Create Your Own Custom Font

If you don't have any specific handwritten documents and just want the flavor of a handwritten note -- while still enjoying the convenience of typing -- you can create a custom font from your very own handwriting. Websites like MyScriptFont.com, YourFonts.com and Fontifier.com offer this service -- sometimes for free, sometimes for a few dollars. You'll need a good ink pen with a fine tip, as well as a scanner and printer, and you're ready to go. Visit the website of your choice, download its template and follow its instructions to fill out the template with your handwriting, scan it in and submit it for conversion to your own custom font.