Tips for tablet use, training

It will likely take a bit of training to get the most out of a tablet PC. Microsoft Corp.'s almost universally used Tablet XP operating system isn't just XP on a tablet; it has a number of new features, mostly related to the use of the pen.

Over the years I've often seen complaints about workers wasting time with the games that are loaded onto even professional versions of Microsoft OSes. Some managers have them automatically removed so users won't fool around during work hours.

But I seldom see it mentioned that there is an excellent use for those games'a lot of people became proficient with a mouse simply because they played Solitaire. Those games may be time-wasters for experienced users, but they are good skill builders for novices.

Similarly, your tablet PC will probably come with some games designed to teach people how to get the most out of the pen. Don't automatically delete InkBall'encourage users to try it out and spend up to an hour or so playing around with it. Their productivity will likely increase.

Basics are basic

Also, there is no need to keep searching for that little button to bring up the handwriting input/on-screen keyboard (Tablet Input Panel - TIP). If a quick wave of the pen doesn't bring it up you just need to calibrate the system to recognize your gesture.

None of the basic tablet settings are difficult to master as long as you remember that a tablet isn't just a PC with a pointer'you do need to make a few custom settings to get a tablet to work the way you prefer.

There are also Graffiti-like gestures that users should master to quickly'Tab, Space or Backspace'without taking the time to launch the TIP.

By the way, there's a special operating mode for people with terrible handwriting. Appropriately enough, it's often referred to as the 'Doctor Mode.'

Speech control and dictation are important tools to master with a tablet PC. I find I can dictate about 60 or more words per minute, with corrections, when using a good noise-blocking headset.

There are also a number of ways to take written notes. Be certain to learn about them. StickyNotes are like Post-Its with the option of adding a 30-second spoken message. The tablet's built-in microphone and speaker are usually sufficient for these.


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