Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: How does Digital Ink and Pen-Based Input work on the Tablet PC?A: The ink used in Microsoft® Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition is far more advanced than a simple image file, such as a bitmap, and is the product of significant research by Microsoft. Ink is stored as a series of complex equations called Bezier curves. This allows digital ink to have a very small file size and facilitates efficient storage of ink files. Digital ink is the result of years of technical and usability research. The ink used in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition flows smoothly and rapidly on the screen. This makes using ink with a Tablet PC a natural experience.
You can operate your Tablet PC using a digital pen in addition to traditional input methods, such as a keyboard or mouse. The pen can also be used for the same functions as a mouse, including navigating user interfaces, selecting tools from menu bars, moving and resizing objects, and activating programs. As with physical pens, you can select the color and thickness of the digital ink as well as use emphasis tools, such as bolding and highlighting.
The writing surface of the Tablet PC is roughly the size of a standard paper notebook, and you can rest you hand on the screen while writing or running software applications. This is a natural way to use a Tablet PC, but required careful design to enable a great user experience. Tablet PCs have been designed to operate with an electromagnetic digitizer instead of a resistive-touch screen, such as those typically found in personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other devices with small screens. An electromagnetic digitizer accepts input from a special pen containing an electromagnetic coil.
The electromagnetic digitizer enhances the inking experience by preventing contact between your hand and the screen from inadvertently moving the cursor. It also enhances screen life by enabling you to move the cursor without making direct physical contact with the screen surface. This "hovering" ability also lets you move the cursor quickly and easily.
From a technical perspective, the process of inking and pen-based input occurs in the following steps: Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system captures pen motion coordinates on the screen, renders and stores the pen motion as "ink," and then passes these groups of pen strokes to a "recognizer," which in turn interprets them as writing.
Tablet PC also includes support for gestures. By making a gesture on the screen with the pen, you can execute many different commands. Gestures can be used for a variety of common actions or commands and can be invoked by making an ink mark with the pen in one or more locations on the Tablet PC screen.