Pen Computing Issue #8

January/February 1996

Windows Software Review

Recognition by Papyrus

Always the right tool for the job

Recognition by Papyrus is not just a handwriting recognizer, it's an entire recognition system designed to give you a variety of tools for different recognition tasks. It includes both a natural, writer-independent cursive and printed recognizer and a constrained unistroke character recognizer. The theory behind this approach is that different types of recognizers are optimal for different writing tasks. For example, since it is word and dictionary based, cursive works best in situations where the writing is highly topical and the words you are likely to use are already in the dictionary. On the other hand, a character recognizer works better in situations where words are not likely to be found in a dictionary.
Recognition by Papyrus lets you switch between two model sets, one for natural writing and printing, and one for characters.
Since it is user independent, the Natural model accepts many different variants for each letter. It is using language-specific information (dictionaries, letter combination informatin, and case conventions) to improve accuracy. Text can either be entered free form or into a nicely done and very flexible tablet application. You enter text into combed (or lined) fields in the bottom window. The translated writing then appears in the top window. Tapping on a word brings up a list of other possibilities. A resize handle lets you easily change the size of the combed boxes.
The Allegro model, on the other hand, only accepts one valid letter shape for each character, and each character consists of a single stroke. This way, all ambiguity is removed from the alphabet and individual letter recognition accuracy is greatly improved. This, of course, is the approach that has been popularized by Palm Computing's Graffiti, but there are significant differences between the two. Like Graffiti, Allegro uses a modified alphabet, but it is not the same that Graffiti uses. If you already know Graffiti you may feel frustrated about having to learn yet another unistroke alphabet. If you never learned the Graffiti character set, you'll adopt quickly to Allegro's. which actually has advantages over Graffiti's. For example, all characters in Allegro's alphabet are lower case unlike Graffiti's mix of upper and lower, and most Allegro characters are pretty much the way most people print them anyway, so it is probably easier to get used to.
Recognition accuracy of the natural model depends, as it does in all handwriting recognizers, on your writing style and the kind of writing you do. It worked well for me. Where Recognition by Papyrus really shines, in addition to the very cleverly designed interface, is in offering you the right recognition tool for any situation.

/Papyrus 508-836-5443