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Microsoft 365 Insiders can try turning handwriting to normal text in Excel for Windows

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If you like to use a digital stylus to put in text in the Excel Windows app, Microsoft just announced a new feature it's testing that could make that job a bit easier.

In a post on the Microsoft 365 Insider blog, the company announced that members of that program can check out the new Ink to Text Pen feature for Excel on Windows. Microsoft says:

The Ink to Text Pen lets you use your digital pen (or stylus) to automatically convert your handwriting into text as you go, helping you quickly enter content into cells. Additionally, you can use pen gestures to select and delete cell content.

Microsoft adds that this new feature will replace the previous Action Pen feature in the Excel Windows app. Members of the Insider program who own a digital pen or stylus, and have installed the Windows 11 23H2 will be able to use the new Ink to Text Pen feature.

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In order to access it, Microsoft 365 Insiders just need to go to the Draw tap in the Excel Windows app, and then select the Ink to Text Pen tool. If you are using a touchscreen, the Draw tab should be available immediately, If it is not, you can enable it by going to File, then Options, and then Customize Ribbon. You can then check the Draw box.

When the Ink to Text Pen tool is enabled, users can select a single cell to write on it and replace any content that might be there. To select multiple cells, the digital pen or stylus can be used with the Straight line select gesture. Deleting content in cells is done with the pen or stylus by drawing squiggles up and down on the display.

Microsoft does say that an Excel spreadsheet frozen panes, the Ink to Text Pen feature may not work correctly. There's no word on when this feature will become generally available for all Excel Windows users.

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