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Microsoft 365 Insiders Get First Look at Excel’s Innovative Ink to Text Pen Tool

Excel for Windows gains handwriting recognition! "Ink to Text Pen" lets users write with a stylus directly into cells, converting it to text.


has unveiled a new feature for the Excel Windows application, aimed at users who prefer utilizing a digital stylus for data entry. The company announced the introduction of the Ink to Text Pen feature, designed to convert handwriting into text seamlessly. This development promises to simplify the process of entering content into Excel cells, enhancing productivity and user experience.

Enhanced Functionality and User Experience

The Ink to Text Pen feature allows users to write directly into Excel cells using a digital pen or stylus, with the handwriting automatically converted into digital text. This tool is not only efficient for entering new data but also for editing existing content. Users can employ pen gestures to select multiple cells or delete content, making the process of managing Excel data more intuitive and quicker than traditional methods.

Microsoft has indicated that this feature is set to replace the previously available Action Pen feature within the Excel Windows app. It is currently available to members of the Microsoft 365 Insider program who are using devices equipped with a digital pen or stylus and have installed the Windows 11 23H2 update.

Access and Compatibility

To access the Ink to Text Pen tool, Insiders need to navigate to the Draw tab within the Excel application and select the Ink to Text Pen option. For users with touchscreen devices, the Draw tab should be immediately available. If not, it can be activated through the app's settings by customizing the Ribbon to include the Draw option.

While the feature introduces a significant advancement in digital handwriting recognition within Excel, Microsoft has noted a limitation regarding its functionality with spreadsheets that utilize frozen panes. The company has yet to announce when the Ink to Text Pen feature will be made available to all Excel Windows users, but its current availability to Insider program members marks an important step in its development and eventual widespread release.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.