This publication describes techniques for enabling handwriting and text editing on touch-sensitive surfaces (e.g., touchscreens, touchpads, interactive whiteboards) without the use of a physical or virtual keyboard. These techniques enable users to perform free-form handwriting gestures anywhere on a touch-sensitive surface, and also to perform editing gestures that modify previously created text without a mode change. A computing system (e.g. mobile phone, tablet computer, personal digital assistance, laptop computer, interactive whiteboard) may analyze the shapes of user gestures input at a touch-sensitive surface, as well as the relative positions of these gestures compared to existing displayed text, and determine whether the user intended to edit existing text or instead to write new text. If the system determines that the user intended to edit existing text, the system applies an appropriate editing operation to the text (e.g., text selection, text deletion/replacement, text insertion/movement, text merging, text separation). Otherwise, the computing system interprets the user’s strokes as regular handwriting and interprets the strokes for new text entry using a handwriting recognizer.

The techniques described in this publication may provide one or more advantages. For example, the described system does not require the use of a physical or even virtual keyboard. Because the system does not provide a popup virtual interface for text entry or editing operations, the system increases the amount of available screen space for text entry or editing operations. A user can write and/or edit anywhere on the touch-sensitive surface (e.g., directly on target text or at a target location), instead of having to write or edit in a dedicated region of the screen, and the user does not need to move or otherwise manipulate a cursor before performing editing operations. The system is able to create a new text label with a desired size, position, and/or orientation as soon as user finishes writing. In addition, multiple different users may be able to simultaneously enter new text or edit existing text on a large touch-sensitive surface, such as an interactive whiteboard.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.