Handwriting support hits Gmail, Google Docs

Gmail and Google Docs now can handle handwriting input in dozens of languages, even if you don't have a touch screen.

Handwriting support lands in Gmail and Google Docs, as evidenced here by "Google" written in Japanese. Google

Whether you prefer writing your notes by hand or writing a complicated kanji, Gmail and Google Docs now support an extensive list of handwritten languages.

You can use your mouse or trackpad -- or a stylus or your finger on touch screens -- to write without a keyboard. Handwriting support works with more than 20 languages in Google Docs and more than 50 in Gmail -- including Arabic, Chinese, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.

The setup process could be easier. You must activate keyboard inputs in Gmail or Google Docs before it will work -- a slightly involved procedure. Basically, when selecting a different language input, you have to enable the language you want with the pencil icon next to it. If you don't see one, then the language isn't supported or the feature hasn't been rolled out to your version of Gmail or Docs.

About the author

Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.


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