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What's New in Handwriting Recognition

Updated: January 9, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7

What's new in handwriting recognition?

Windows® 7 provides many Tablet PC improvements for handwriting recognition, including:

  • Support for handwriting recognition, personalization, and text prediction in new languages.

  • Support for handwritten math expressions.

  • Personalized custom dictionaries for handwriting recognition.

  • New integration capabilities for software developers.

In Windows Vista, handwriting recognition is supported for eight Latin languages: English (United States and United Kingdom), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese, and four East Asian languages: Japanese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), and Korean. For Windows 7, 14 additional languages are supported: Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Serbian (Cyrillic and Latin), Catalan, Russian, Czech, and Croatian. Windows 7 users can launch the Tablet Input Panel (TIP), write in their desired language for which a recognizer is available, and insert the converted, recognized text into applications such as Microsoft Outlook® or Word.

In Windows Vista, personalization for handwriting recognition is supported only for United States English and United Kingdom English for the Latin languages. For Windows 7, six additional Latin languages for which base recognizers shipped in Windows Vista will receive the benefits of the Personalization features. Additionally, personalization will be included for all 14 new languages in Windows 7. Personalization improves a user's handwriting experience significantly as the recognizer learns how and what a user writes.

When using the soft (on-screen) keyboard in Windows 7, Text Prediction helps you enter text more efficiently. Users typing a few letters will be offered a list of words that match. Based on the words users input frequently and the corrections that they make, Windows 7 will become even better at predicting what a user types over time. When using the soft keyboard, Windows 7 supported languages for Text Prediction are expanded beyond the support of United States English and United Kingdom English in Windows Vista to include the following: French, German, Italian, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese. New languages supported for Text Prediction with pen input include Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Text Prediction for Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese offers both word completion and next word prediction. Users will benefit from this feature as it significantly speeds up handwriting input for these languages.

Windows 7 enables users who work with math expressions to use handwriting recognition to input math expressions via the Math Input Panel, a new accessory. The Math Input Panel recognizes handwritten math expressions, provides a rich correction experience, and inserts math expressions into target programs. Math Input Control, which offers the same recognition and correction functionality, enables developers to integrate math handwriting recognition into programs directly for a higher degree of control and customization.

In Windows Vista, the ability of users to add a new word to the built-in dictionaries is limited. Windows 7 allows users to create custom dictionaries, enabling them to replace or augment the built-in vocabulary by using their own specialized wordlists.

Windows 7 exposes many Tablet PC enhancements for access by software developers, so they can make their applications more useful. For example, updated Ink Analysis APIs in Windows 7 enhance and accelerate the development of ink-enabled applications—and make it easier to integrate basic shape recognition features. Through these capabilities, users will benefit from more options in programs that can use the unique capabilities of a Tablet PC.

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