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Tech trick: Easily turn your handwritten notes into typed text

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, around one-quarter of American employees worked from home at least some of the time. Flash forward to 2020 and that number has likely doubled with more companies moving their operations online.

As a result, the world’s software developers are gearing their products to serve the new labor market that’s taken shape during the pandemic. Tap or click here to see the free tools companies like Google and Microsoft are offering at-home workers.

If you’re finding yourself wishing you had a way to take your handwritten work notes digital, Google has the solution for you. A free new feature in the Google app can transcribe your notebook into typed text that you can use online and on the go. Here’s how you can get your hands on this new tool from Google.

Google Lens adds handwriting transcription for free

Google Lens is getting an upgrade, arguably one of the most important since its release. According to a blog post from Google itself, the acclaimed object recognition tool will now be able to pick up your handwriting and transcribe it into digital text.

No, we’re not talking about Google Glass — Google’s ill-fated attempt at smart glasses. Tap or click here to see why that and other gadgets failed to launch.

Google Lens has been around for some time, but before now, it was mostly relegated to searching for things you took photos of. Now, it actually has a purpose that can help millions of at-home workers who prefer to hand-write their notes on paper.


Here’s how it works: Users can fire up the Google App (or the standalone Google Lens app on Android) and point their camera at any text they’ve written down. Once it’s in the viewfinder, highlight your scribbles like you would with any digital text and tap Copy to Computer.

If you’re logged into the same Google account on your computer, you’ll automatically have it ready to go in your clipboard. You can then paste it into Google Docs, Microsoft Word or even Facebook if you want to share what you wrote down. Aspiring poets, eat your heart out!

This sounds awesome, but what’s the catch?

There is one small drawback to using Google Lens for text transcription: Your handwriting needs to be legible. For the doctors out there reading this, you might not be able to get your patient notes transcribed just yet.

Even still, the software manages to capture nearly all of the text that fits into its window. Any illegible print will usually be rendered with typos or as different words altogether.

Still, if you can take the time to write your notes out carefully, you’re in for a useful feature that will serve you well as you work from home.

Google Lens is available for free in the Google App for iOS, as well as the Google Lens app for Android.

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