From the very beginning, laptop manufacturers have included special function keys on their keyboards, so that their customers could have quick and easy access to common tasks. However, each manufacturer’s idea of what would be useful was unique, so there was no consistency from brand to brand. Beginning with Windows Vista, Microsoft has built the Windows Mobility Center right into the operating system, so all portable-computer users can have fast access to the most useful settings. In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the many ways Windows Mobility Center can make life with a laptop much simpler, when using Windows 7.
How to work with a Tablet PC and Tablet PC tools in Windows
First there was handwriting on paper. Then, typing on paper with a typewriter. Then, typing on a keyboard that resembled a typewriter’s, that showed up on a computer screen. And now—handwriting on a computer! Have we come full circle?
In previous tutorials about Tablet Input Panel, I’ve shown how to use it and how to personalize it so it’s in tune with your handwriting.There are a few remaining things you can do to make it even easier, like using special pen movements to speed up and simplify text entry and editing.
In a previous tutorial, we talked about Tablet Input Panel’s handwriting recognition capabilities. If you’ve experimented, you’ve found that it works remarkably well on nearly all handwriting. But if it doesn’t quite understand how you write, or if you just want to make sure Tablet Input Panel works correctly every time—and you’re willing to invest some time—you can get even better results if you do what Microsoft calls "personalize your handwriting."
Tablet PCs are becoming more popular these days, and for good reason. They’re compact and easy to use and can be every bit as powerful as their cousins with keyboards. They’re designed to let you write on the screen with a stylus the same way you’d write on paper with a pen. However, most web sites and other software aren’t designed to accept handwriting. This is where the Tablet Input Panel really shines--it converts almost any handwriting to typed text your applications can use. In this tutorial we’ll learn how to enter text quickly and accurately.
The Tablet Input Panel is a Windows 7 program that looks simple, but is actually quite sophisticated. Fortunately, as with most Windows 7 built-in software, even with its many options it’s very easy to use. You’ll find it in the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions. Like Windows Journal, the Tablet Input Panel is designed specifically for use with a tablet or touchscreen device, to make text entry and handwriting recognition smooth and effortless. Tablet Input Panel understands multiple languages and can convert nearly anyone’s handwriting to legible text. It’s a tribute to its abilities that you can use it in a limited way with a mouse or trackball if you’d like to experiment, and it will still recognize what you wrote.
In our first tutorial about Windows Journal, we learned how to get started with Windows Journal, create and save notes, and convert handwriting to text. In this tutorial, we’ll cover some more advanced topics like making templates and sending Windows Journal notes as emails. It might be helpful to review the first tutorial if you’re a newcomer to Windows Journal, just to get a handle on the basics.
Windows Journal is one of Windows 7’s built-in applications for the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise editions. It’s designed for people who use tablet or touchscreen computers or use a tablet and pen as an input device, and it works best when used that way—but it also works with a mouse or trackball, although those devices don’t produce smooth lines. I’m going to describe how it works with a tablet, but if you don’t have a tablet and want to try it with another input device, just substitute "click" for “tap" and you’ll do fine. Before you begin, if you’re using your tablet as an input device in Mouse Mode, be sure to switch to Pen Mode. You’ll get much smoother and better handwriting results.