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Microsoft Tests New Windows Ink Feature for Handwriting Input Everywhere

Microsoft's new Windows Ink upgrade, currently in testing, allows users to input handwriting directly into fields throughout the operating system, mimicking features seen in tablets like the iPad.

Microsoft is testing an upgraded version of Windows Ink that could change the way users input data on their devices. The new feature enables handwriting entries directly into fields throughout the operating system, something previously limited to certain software like OneNote or a specific handwritten text recognition box.

The updated Windows Ink, currently available to users on Preview Build 23481 in the Dev Channel, also includes improved text recognition from handwriting and a scratch-out gesture feature for correcting mistakes. For now, this feature is only enabled for US English, but support for other languages is forthcoming.

In terms of rollout, the upgraded feature won't be immediately available to everyone, even those in the Dev Channel. Users can check for its availability by going to Settings > Bluetooth and devices > Pen and Windows Ink, under “Shell Handwriting.”

As the feature is still in testing, there are known bugs. Users can't use handwriting to erase text within Microsoft Edge and may experience problems with the address box. Issues may also arise with search boxes and comment fields in Microsoft 365 apps. Lastly, although you can write inside fields, you can’t convert handwriting to text within some 365 apps like Word documents and Excel spreadsheets.

This upgrade follows a trend set by tablets like iPads, which already support writing directly into text boxes and fields. Even budget-friendly devices like the new Amazon Fire Max 11 let users write in fields. The native OS then quickly converts it into text and enters it for the user.