Wondering how to use handwriting on the iPad? Thanks to Apple Scribble, you can use handwriting in various apps for scribbling notes with your Apple pencil or just with your finger. Scribble can transform your scrawl into text, which it useful for filling in text fields, setting reminders and more - brilliant news for those who don't have a keyboard an don't want to fiddle with the on-screen keyboard.
Scribble has a bunch of features you'll need to learn about to improve the experience, including drawing particular patterns to perform different function (like zig-zagging to delete, for example). Our guide to how to use Apple Scribble below will explain many of the basic and advanced features so you can use it to its full potential.
How to enter text as handwriting on the iPad with Scribble
01. Turn on Apple Scribble and try it out
Turn on Scribble in Settings > Apple Pencil. Below, tap Try Scribble. In the Handwrite tab, simply start writing in the box. Notice that you needn't stay within it; you can write bigger, or elsewhere on the screen.
02. Draw a zig-zag to delete
After a few strokes, iPadOS will start to type, but you can carry on writing while it does so. In the Delete tab, see how scribbling across words removes them. A single vertical or horizontal zig-zag will do the trick.
03. Select text
In the Select tab, try selecting text either by drawing a plain horizontal line through it or a circle around it. Again, Scribble selects whole words, but you can drag the blue handles to add or subtract characters.
04. Insert text
The Insert tab shows how you can tap and hold to insert text, but it's unnecessary: just tap to place the cursor, then write text to insert. As seen in Join, draw a vertical line to add or remove a space character.
05. Use Apple Scribble any time, any place
Scribble doesn't need to 'learn' your handwriting, and works in any standard text input box. For example, write into Safari's URL/search field and tap a suggested hit. You can also write straight into text fields on web pages.
06. Using handwriting in apps
Scribble works in text entry fields within apps (you may need to tap
the box first). Support for apps that make more sophisticated use of text will need adding by developers; for example, Word isn't yet supported.
Handwriting on the iPad: How to use Scribble's advanced features in Notes
01. Tap markup pen
In iPadOS' Notes app, Scribble can be used in two ways (this may vary in third-party note-taking apps). In a note, tap the Markup pen icon at the top right and pick the new Handwriting ('A') pen.
02. Tap to return
Using the Pencil, write anywhere in the note view and you'll see recognised
characters are typed at the current cursor position. Notice the Return button at the bottom right, which you can tap to start a new line.
03. Draw with Finger
Alternatively, pick any other pen tool and write text, at any size, wherever you
want it. This also works without a Pencil: tap the three dots icon in the Markup toolbar at the bottom and switch on Draw with Finger.
04. Select the text
Deselect the Markup pen at the top, then use your finger to long-press the
text you've written until it highlights. Drag the yellow selection handles to select more (even on multiple lines) or less. Tap for editing options.
05. Edit and search
Your handwritten text is editable and searchable. (If this is the first line, it also sets the note's title.) You can choose Copy as Text to add it to the iPadOS clipboard as ordinary text and paste it anywhere else.
06. Try out shape recognition
Shape recognition is also new (and, unlike Scribble, also in iOS 14).
Roughly draw a square, circle, triangle or star, and keep your Pencil or finger held down. You'll see it pop into shape, and it can be selected and moved.