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In this video, I’ll demonstrate how to use OneNote’s powerful tool to convert handwritten equations into typed text, making it perfect for solving complex maths problems on an iPad. Using my Skriva stylus, I’ll show you how to quickly jot down equations, convert them into text, and even correct any mistakes using Maths Assistant. This process saves time and enhances the learning experience by allowing us to focus on understanding the maths rather than struggling with formatting.

In this document in OneNote, I’m doing some maths practice or some equations where I’m solving for x. Equations where you’re solving for x are the kind of thing where you really want to get a pen and write on a piece of paper because you’ve got powers and fractions, and you’ve usually got quite a few complex symbols that are hard to type on a keyboard, even a keyboard on an iPad.

Well, OneNote has got an awesome tool built in that will turn handwritten equations into typed text, and you can even edit and solve them if you wish to. So, using my Skriva stylus, I’m just going to quickly jot down a couple of expressions on this worksheet. I’ve got space for three here, so I’ll add just three random solving-for-x type equations. As you can see, I’m just using the pen tool exactly as you would on a piece of paper—really simple, really easy. It’s my own handwriting, but it is a little bit untidy, so I really want to convert that into typed text.

This is where the magic comes in. Simply use the lasso select tool on the top toolbar, and then, using my Skriva stylus, I’m just going to draw around that equation to select it all in that bubble. Then, on the top toolbar, you’re going to go onto Maths Assistant. It will take a second to load, and then you’ll see immediately it’s converted your handwriting into a written expression. In this instance, it’s actually converted it perfectly; there are no mistakes. But we’ll have a look in a second at what to do if there is a mistake.

For this one, I’m simply going to press this tiny button in the top right corner, and that will replace my handwriting with the typed expression on my document. Of course, from here, I can move it around, change the font size, and do all the things you can normally do with written text. If I wanted to, using Maths Assistant, I could even tap on the one that says ‘solve for x’, and it will calculate the answer for me straight away.

Let’s move on to our second equation. Again, I’m going to use the lasso selection tool. I’m going to drag a box around the whole equation, and then I’ll press Maths Assistant again. Once more, it’s realised exactly what I’m trying to say, and it’s converted it into text for me just as quickly as that.

Okay, so far so good, but what happens if it doesn’t quite interpret your text properly? Maybe it’s ambiguous if you’ve written a six or a zero, an eight or something like that. Well, on my last equation, I’m going to convert it to text again, but we’re going to pretend that where I’ve written 2x, it’s actually got confused. This time, I’m going to press a little pencil icon which edits my equation, and I’m going to draw a smaller box around the part of the equation that it’s not quite got right. When you do this, it will then show you a popover menu of different things that perhaps you might have meant when you did that writing. Maybe I meant a zed rather than a two, or maybe x should have been a power. All of those different possibilities it’s using machine learning to figure out. Then, whatever I select, whatever it was meant to be, it will then adjust the equation for me so that when I then convert it into text on my page, I know that it’s going to be the accurate expression.

This is so much quicker than faffing around with symbols and line height, powers and fractions, and all of those tricky, complex layered elements in the document itself. Simply writing it with my handwriting using a Skriva stylus and then converting it to text saves me and my students a ton of time and lets us focus more on the learning rather than the formatting.

About OneNote

This QuickTip video was recorded on an **11" iPad Pro (2nd Generation)**

running **iPadOS 17.5**.

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