Tablet PCs are mobile PCs with a screen that you can write on and interact with using a pen. The features available on a Tablet PC allow you to
- Control your Tablet PC and Windows using a digital pen.
- Create and save handwritten documents (text and drawings).
- Convert your handwritten notes into typed text for use in other applications.
- Annotate documents imported from other applications.
- Dictate text or control your computer using your voice.
As a Tablet PC user, you can operate your computer by 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 toolbars, moving and resizing objects, and activating programs. As with physical pens, you can select the color and thickness of the digital ink and use emphasis techniques, such as bolding and highlighting.
Tablet PC also includes support for gestures and pen flicks. By making a gesture or pen flick on the screen with the pen, you can execute many different commands, quickly navigate, or perform shortcuts. Gestures can be used for a variety of common actions or commands and can be invoked by making a movement with the pen or an ink mark on the Tablet PC screen.
Tablet PCs run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 operating system. Some functionality that had been previously available only to Tablet PCs in Windows XP has been built into Windows Vista and Windows 7 and can be used on other types of computers. For example, pen-driven computing and handwriting recognition can be enabled on any machine running Windows Vista or Windows 7 through the use of an external pen pad attachment.
For more on Tablet PCs, mobility, and Windows functionality, see Microsoft Windows Home Page.
Tablet PCs and ArcGIS
ArcGIS applications work on Tablet PC devices, and all extensions to the ArcGIS architecture will work. This enables developers of GIS applications to build ArcObjects components-based mobile extensions to ArcGIS. With a Tablet PC, ArcGIS is a mobile computing solution for GIS. ArcGIS users can now update their spatial data, including ArcSDE geodatabases, in the field using the same tools and applications, such as ArcMap and ArcCatalog, that are used in the office.
The digital pen can be used to click buttons on toolbars in ArcGIS and to draw on the map. Essentially, the pen takes over the movement of the pointer and acts as a mouse. The Tablet PC Input Panel docks to ArcMap and contains a keyboard and writing pad for entering text into any dialog box inside ArcMap. The digital pen is calibrated to the Tablet PC's screen and does not require any additional calibration or coordinate registration to function within a map display. The tools and commands on the ArcMap Tablet toolbar let you add digital ink on top of your map and store this ink inside the map document or in a geodatabase. Gestures can be used to interact with ink in ArcMap.
Below are some ink graphics drawn in ArcMap using the Tablet toolbar Pen tool:
With speech recognition technology, you can use your voice instead of a mouse, keyboard, or pen to control applications. With a microphone, voice commands can be used to correct errors, format dictated text, or control programs. The speech recognition functionality can be used with ArcGIS as it is used with other applications. Because of the custom menu implementation, standard speech recognition commands will not work. However, dictation does work.