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Navigating, Training, Writing, And Typing

Asus' Eee Slate EP121/B121: A Windows 7-Based Tablet PC
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Navigating

Navigating a Windows 7 tablet isn't any different than moving around Windows on a notebook. If your tablet has a touchscreen, you simply move your fingers around the screen to move the cursor. For right-clicks, hold a finger against the screen until a circle forms, which then brings up the right-click menu. With a digitizer pen, holding the tip against the screen brings up a smaller animated circle, achieving the same function. If your pen has buttons, you can also configure one of them to operate as a right-click in your Windows 7 Control Panel.

Training

Right out of the box, Windows 7 does a good job of recognizing handwriting, even if it tends to be sloppy. In Vista, recognition tends to be hit and miss, while Windows XP Tablet Edition is even worse. Microsoft introduced new algorithms in Windows 7 that make handwriting recognition surprisingly accurate.

In spite of the improvements, you should still take a few hours to train the recognition engine. This takes accuracy one step further. By providing samples to Windows 7, the operating system better understands all your handwriting quirks. Fortunately, this isn't the same as a third-grade English class where you're expected to provide perfect writing.

When you're training a tablet PC, write at your typical speed and in the same way as you would on a piece of scratch paper. It doesn't matter if the result looks crisp or like chicken scratch. The key is to write as normally as possible.

Writing

When you click on a field where you're normally expected to type, Windows 7 brings up a small handwriting icon. Clicking this icon brings up the Input Panel.

As you write, Windows 7 automatically converts your written words into text. If you need more space, the Input Panel automatically grows across, and then adds lines as more text is entered. Alternatively, you can also resize the Input Panel manually.

It's also possible to write words one letter at a time. In this screenshot, I'm writing katakana after updating to Windows 7 Ultimate.

Typing

You can switch between the keyboard and writing pad in the Input Panel at any time. However, there are situations where the option defaults to one or the other. The keyboard automatically comes up in situations where characters are limited to the English language.

That happens to occur with the address bar in File Explorer. Regardless of the regional version of Windows you use, the file structure is always expressed in English characters. For example:

  • English: C:\Windows\Program Files
  • Chinese: C:\Windows\Program Files
  • Japanese: C:\Windows\Program Files
  • German: C:\Windows\Programme
  • French: C:\Windows\Programmes


Since the keyboard and writing pad share the same window, it's possible to resize the keys as you see fit.

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