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Computer recognition of cursive handwriting is complisated by the lack of letter separation. In an attempt to gain insight on the cursive problem, the simpler problem of recognizing separated hand-written letters is addressed here. A warp-based character matching technique is employed with dictionary lookup, using a 16 000 word vocabulary. Cooperative users achieve high recognition accuracy with this on-line system, which is easily tailored to the individual. Possible extensions to cursive writing are discussed.