I always thought I had pretty neat handwriting. That misconception was cleared up the day I tried out Scanahand, though. This nifty little utility lets you create a font out of your own handwriting and the results are impressive--even if your handwriting is not.
Scanahand presents you with a template that you print out. On it, you write out all the letters of the alphabet (both uppercase and lower case), as well as various punctuation marks. You then scan the form back in to your computer. Scanahand reads it and then creates a font from your penmanship.
It's actually quite fun to use, and seeing your handwriting appear on screen as you type is a trip. But the documents you create won't look exactly like handwritten notes. That's because you enter the letters individually on your Scanahand template, not strung together in words. So the letters appear slightly disjointed, and can look a bit awkward. You wouldn't want to use Scanahand to write out all your holiday letters if you're trying to pass them off as handwritten notes; your family might get a bit suspicious. The template does include your signature, though.
The trial version lets you create your font, but to save it and install it you'll need to upgrade to the full version. That allows you to use your font in most Windows applications, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can load your fonts on to Mac and Linux computers, too.