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How to use Scribble in iPadOS 14

iPadOS 14 brings Scribble to the iPad and Apple Pencil, allowing you to write in any text field where it will automatically be converted to typed text.

Apple says that all handwriting and conversion to text happens on device, keeping it private and secure. When taking notes, Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can be selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text. Shape recognition allows users to draw geometric shapes that, for example, snap right into place when adding useful diagrams and illustrations in Notes.

Data detectors now work with handwritten text to recognize phone numbers, dates, and addresses. They offer users the ability to take actions like tapping a written number to make a call, adding an event directly to Calendar, or showing a location in Maps.

Scribble initially offers support for English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and mixed Chinese and English, so users can write English and Chinese words together without needing to switch languages.

To enable Scribbe in iPadOS 14:

° Open the Settings app.

° Scroll down and select Apple Pencil.

° Select the toggle next to Scribble.

Now you can use the Apple Pencil to touch within a section of a supported app where you would normally type text. Just start writing (don’t tap first). After writing, wait a few seconds for it to be converted to text and put into the text field.

Apple apps such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Safari, Reminder, Notes, etc. support Scribble To try out the feature, head to any text box — such as the  Safari’s search bar — and tap it to bring the keyboard up. While the keyboard is active, use your Pencil to write in the text box where text would appear when your type. It will be quickly translated into text.

You can also use Scribble to select and delete text. To select text, draw a circle around it. The circle will disappear and a selection box will spring up. If you want delete the text in question, just scratch it out. You’ll also have options to cut, copy, select all, and paste.

What’s more, with Scribble you can tap and hold an Apple Pencil in any editable field to make room for writing additional text. Plus, you can join characters or separate words by drawing a vertical line before or after any character.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote work a bit differently than other apps. In a document, tap Apple Pencil in the body of a word-processing document where you want to write. Or tap in a text box, shape, or in a table cell in a word-processing or page layout document.

Then tap the Scribble tool in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, then start writing. If you don’t tap the tool, the software will “think” you want to draw instead.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.