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Handwrite documents with WritePro's iOS app

The new app takes a stab at handwriting recognition for iOS users who’d rather write than type.

WritePro's iOS app offers both keyboard and handwriting recognition. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

iPhone and iPad users keen on handwriting their documents may want to check out a new iOS app called WritePro.

Released last week, the new $9.99 app actually gives you three options for composing a document. You can use your device's built-in keyboard. You can handwrite text in a small writing panel below your document. Or you can use the entire screen to handwrite characters.

How does the handwriting recognition work?

Using the Write Panel, you write your text in a narrow horizontal line. Your characters appear in handwritten mode as you type them and in translated mode above the panel. You can also see your text as it pops up in the actual document.

WritePro on the iPhone.
WritePro on the iPhone. WritePro

WritePro offers a handy way to correct mistakes. A small suggestion window pops up as you type each character. If WritePro guesses wrong, you can tap on the correct character from the list of suggestions or delete the character entirely and try again. The window appears for several seconds, giving you enough time to tweak the text if necessary.

The app offers dedicated buttons to enter a space, a backspace, or a paragraph return. You can also use gestures for certain actions. For example, swiping right deletes the character to the right of the cursor while swiping left deletes the character to the left.

Want more space to write your text? You can switch to Write Anywhere mode, which dispenses with the Write Panel and gives you the full screen to write on.

The app lets you select which character you wish to use in your handwriting. For example, you can opt to write a lowercase character using either its lowercase or its uppercase version. You then choose which version you want to appear based on how large you write the character. And you can create your own handwritten shortcuts to define specific strings of text.

WritePro also packs in some of the power of a full word processor. You can easily change the font and other formatting, find and replace text, and run a spell check. You can also insert pictures, sketches, and hyperlinks. WritePro will even translate your document into another language via its own online translation service.

You can export your WritePro documents to a PDF file or print them. You can share them via email, text message, Facebook, or Twitter.

The documents themselves automatically get stored on your device, but you can sync them to the cloud via iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, or OneDrive. The app creates a special folder called WritePro on your cloud-based storage, so you can also open any of your online documents in WritePro by copying them to that folder.

In my testing, WritePro was fairly adept at handwriting recognition. I did have to correct a number of mistakes using the suggestion window. So there is a learning curve. But the more you use the app, the smarter it will become at interpreting your handwriting.