Longhand Transcription with the AlphaSmart Neo

In Chapter 7 of my book Stop Typing & Start writing, I discuss how to get handwritten text into a digital format. After the actual writing, this can be the next most crucial step because your words aren’t going anywhere until they’re digital. That’s just the internet-connected world we live in now.

So until there’s an OCR program that can read my handwriting, the transcription has to be done by either typing or dictation. But there’s no rule that says the typing must be done on a computer.

This is where the AlphaSmart Neo made its one and only appearance in the book.

The one thing that makes the Neo a better-than-average transcription machine is its form factor. The small LCD above the keyboard is positioned so the handwritten papers can be positioned directly in front of the it. This means there’s no looking off to the side as you type which will reduce neck strain.

The overall small size of the Neo also means the papers will stay within arms reach while typing.

Along with a notebook and pen, the Neo could be an easy-to-transport option when you want to get started on the transcription, and you don’t care to lug a laptop around or worry about iPad battery life.

The only problem is that they’re getting harder to find, and the prices on eBay have been going up.