Using OneNote with a Tablet PC

Adapted from Microsoft® Office OneNote® 2003 Step by Step by Peter Weverka

OneNote is an excellent companion to the Tablet PC because both were designed chiefly for note taking. Using OneNote on a Tablet PC, you can handwrite notes, convert them to text, and share them with coworkers and friends. At The Garden Company, Mike Galos takes staff meeting notes in OneNote on his Tablet PC. He finds it easier to take notes by hand, and because the Tablet PC isn't as demanding as the PC as far as text entry is concerned, Mike can participate in the meetings as well as record his notes.

In this article, you learn how to handwrite notes and convert them to text. You also discover tried-and-true techniques for helping the handwriting-recognition software on your computer recognize your handwriting.

ShowHandwrite notes

The techniques used to handwrite notes in OneNote are the same as those used in other programs designed for the Tablet PC. To write a note, drag the stylus across the tablet to form letters and numbers. OneNote includes writing guides and special commands to help you handwrite notes.

  1. On the View menu, tap Show Ink Groups.

With Ink Groups turned on, writing guides appear on the page when you start handwriting a note. A writing guide is a shaded box that increases in size to accommodate the note as you write it. A writing guide looks different from the drawing canvas that appears when you draw a note.

  1. Tap the Pen buttonButton image .
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Pen Mode, and then tap Create Handwriting Only.

This indicates to OneNote that all marks you make on the surface of the tablet are meant to be handwritten notes, not drawings.

  1. Tap once, and start handwriting your note.

As soon as you start writing, the writing guide appears. This writing guide, which expands horizontally to accommodate your writing, helps you see where to handwrite your note. If the writing guide doesn't appear when you tap, OneNote thinks you are drawing, not writing.

The writing guide

  1. Tap outside the writing guide after you finish handwriting your note.

Your note appears in the standard note container. (You can move a handwritten note on the page by dragging its note container.)

ShowConvert a drawing canvas into a note container

If your handwritten note appears on a drawing canvas instead of in a note container, OneNote has mistaken your handwritten note for a drawing. You can correct this error as follows:

  1. Select the note by tapping the Selection Tool button Button image and then tapping the selection bar at the top of the note container.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Treat Selected Ink As, and then tap Handwriting.

ShowStart a new paragraph in a note

To start a new paragraph in a note, move the pen to the next line and start writing.

You can start a new line without beginning a new paragraph by waiting for the writing guide to expand and then writing in the expanded area. If you want to indent the next paragraph, start writing in the location where you want the paragraph to be indented.

ShowMake the current paragraph a continuation of the previous paragraph

If OneNote starts a new paragraph against your wishes, tap the Make Current Paragraph a Continuation of Previous Paragraph button make current paragraph a continuation of the previous paragraph on the Drawing and Writing Tools toolbar. Tapping this button joins the paragraph you're writing with the previous paragraph.

ShowErase a mistake

If you make a mistake, tap the Eraser button Button image, and drag across the line you want to erase.

ShowConvert handwritten notes to text

If you're going to share notes with others, convert them to text first. In this way, your friends and coworkers don't have to squint as they try to interpret your handwriting.

  1. Select the handwritten note by moving the pointer over its selection bar and tapping when the four-headed arrow appears. You can also move the pointer to the left of the note container and click the paragraph selection tool.
  2. Tap the Convert Handwriting to Text button Button image on the Drawing and Writing Tools toolbar. Or on the Tools menu, tap Convert Handwriting to Text.

If the handwriting-recognition software on your computer reads the handwritten note correctly, it's rendered in text instead of handwriting.

Converting handwriting to text

ShowCorrect a word that was converted incorrectly

To correct a word that was converted incorrectly, use the equivalent of the right-click command on the word, and tap the correct word on the shortcut menu.

If the correct word doesn't appear on the shortcut menu, retype the word that was converted incorrectly.

ShowHelp your computer recognize your handwriting

OneNote relies on your computer's handwriting-recognition software to convert handwritten notes to text. OneNote has many features that help the handwriting-recognition software on your computer do its job better.

  1. On the View menu, tap Rule Lines, and then tap Standard Ruled.

The rule lines that appear on the page help the handwriting-recognition software identify letters and numbers because they encourage you to enter characters on the same baseline.

If you don't want to see these lines until you've finished handwriting, tap the Show/Hide Rule Lines button Button image to remove them.

  1. On the Format menu, tap Stationery to open the Stationery task pane.
  2. Tap Tablet PC Portrait, and then tap Meeting 1. A new page designed especially for use on Tablet PCs is added to the section.
  3. On the Tools menu, tap Options.
  4. Tap the Handwriting category.

Selecting the Handwriting category

  1. Select the Use pen pressure sensitivity check box.

This makes lines darker if you press harder with a stylus. However, it also increases the file size of sections.

  1. Select the Automatically switch between Pen and Selection Tool check box. OneNote switches automatically between the pen and the selection tool.
  2. Select the first option if you want the writing guide to make room for the next paragraph when you come to the right side of the page.
  3. Select the second option if you want the writing guide to make room for the next paragraph before you reach the right side of the page.
  4. Tap OK.

About the author    Peter Weverka is a freelance writer based in San Francisco, California. He has written many computer books as well as articles for various publications, including Harper's Magazine and SPY Magazine. This article is adapted from his book Microsoft® Office OneNote® 2003 Step by Step (2005), which is available from Microsoft Learning.

Applies to:
OneNote 2003