OneNote 2007 and the Tablet PC


I promised some time ago to write about the Tablet experience in OneNote 12 (2007) and how it has changed. This is a tricky topic to cover since there are still a lot of people out there who think OneNote is only or primarily meant to be used on Tablets. I still feel I have to make the point that OneNote was designed for all PCs and also to take advantage of tablets when used on a Tablet.


FWIW, the % of OneNote users with a Tablet has been steadily climbing even as the overall size of the OneNote user base grows steadily – up from ~5% in the first few months after OneNote 2003 launch (winter ’03-’04) to almost 15% now. We also know that a significant majority of Tablet users own a copy of OneNote – so our “attach” to that platform is very strong. Another way to say it is that although we sell a significant majority of OneNote “units” to the 98% of people buying non-Tablets, every time a Tablet PC ships it nearly always results in a OneNote sale.


If those numbers totally confused you, suffice it to say that we like the Tablet and want to continue to be the must-have Tablet app, even though most of our users do not have a Tablet and are getting a lot of value out of OneNote regardless.


Ok, point made, let’s move on.


Ink on the clipboard
There have been rumours and theories that OneNote has a separate ink system from the Tablet PC. This is not true of course – we use the tablet engine for capturing ink and the tablet format for storing it, and the tablet engine for recognizing handwriting to text. One of the things fuelling that rumour was that in OneNote 2003 we did not implement the new clipboard format for ink (called “CF_ISF” for “Clipboard Format – Ink Storage Format”). So when pasting ink from another application to OneNote, OneNote would pick up the HTML version of that output which meant ink was presented as a picture. So even though both apps stored the ink in the same format, the clipboard did not work as a method for transferring the ink.


In case you’re not familiar with how the clipboard works, when you “copy” something, the application you are copying from registers with the Windows clipboard manager what formats it can provide the data in. When you paste in another application, the receiving application asks the clipboard for the data in its preferred format. If that is not available, it goes down the list until it finds one that is available. The other options the application can accept are listed in Paste Special, if the receiving app has implemented that feature. Just to make things tricky, depending on the application and what you copy, the data is not actually put on the clipboard when you copy since that might be slow. Instead it is generated from the original app when you paste, which is why when closing an application you sometimes see a message of the form “You placed a lot of information on the clipboard. Do you want to make it available to other applications?”. The application knows you think you copied some stuff to the clipboard and doesn’t want you to be surprised when you later go to paste and it hasn’t actually done the copy.


Ok, I mention all this to say that of the many clipboard formats (such as HTML, RTF, picture, plain text, Unicode text, etc.) there was a new one added by the tablet team just for ink. OneNote 12 now supports that format so if you copy ink out of an application such as Journal, it will now paste as ink into OneNote and vice versa. Yay! Bear in mind though that the Ink clipboard format only supports ink, so if you copy text and ink from an app and go to paste that, you’re going to have to choose between HTML and ISF when you paste. HTML gets you the text plus ink as images (not ink), while ink gets you just the ink but no text. See, it IS hard. Of course these limitations don’t apply when you copy and paste within a single application (such as from one OneNote page to another) because as often as not that does not use the clipboard. Ok, not going there. Next topic.


Lasso!
One of the standard tools for using ink that has caught hold since the Tablet launched is the lasso selection tool. OneNote 12 has the lasso, so you can make crazy selections by dragging the pen around all sorts of awkwardly arranged bits of stuff on the page. Yay!


Writing Tools Toolbar is now on by default on the Tablet PC.
In the past you had to turn this toolbar on, so quite a few people didn’t figure out that OneNote has more ink-related tools than just the ones on the Standard Toolbar.


No UI exposed while inking (i.e. a paper-like experience).
We now suppress any kind of widgets showing up as you write on the page. So you don’t have to worry about accidentally selecting something and moving it or other bad experiences. On the down side, you now have to explicitly go into selection mode to move things. A net positive we think.


Ink color and thickness controls right on the toolbar.
There are now controls that affect color and thickness of the current pen right on the toolbar. These change what your current pen does temporarily, but not the “definition” of the pen, so that when you go back to that pen later it will still remember it was your big fat purple pen. :-). Of course you can still customize pens permanently. This is a big time saver for people who like to have a lot of colors and thicknesses  – more than you can have in the custom pens. No need to make different custom pens that differ only in color.


Automatically extends the page as you need more room.
As you get near the bottom of a page, space is automatically added (off screen) so that you can easily use the scroll bar to move down a half page at a time. Of course OneNote 2003 SP1 added that little “more space” button below the scrollbar arrow but some people either didn’t see it or preferred to use the scroll bar to see the extra room.


“Add more space” tool behaves more predictably.
The tool that adds more space now acts more as you would expect thanks to the improved parsing (see below), not leaving behind little chunks of ink strokes here and there. We’ve also made a change to assume that you probably want to move everything on the page down more often than you want to add space to clusters of ink separately, so that will also work better. A lot of people are interested in the scenario where you write on top of existing text or images (usually of scanned or printed docs). This is a hard problem since there is no great way to figure out that the ink you wrote is actually attached (in your mind) to the thing underneath it. But we generally now assume that anything underneath gets moved along with the ink.


And perhaps the biggest one – new ink parser.
One of the main things people who use OneNote 2003 (especially the original release before we tuned things up in SP1) complain about are “the boxes”. It’s worth a little background here to make sure it is clear the extent to which things are going to get better. First, take a look at an article I wrote on this topic two years ago
. Now we have had the time to really take apart ink in OneNote and try to do it the way we want. Alas we didn’t have infinite development budget to do all the polish we wanted but we are getting the top priority items.


The old ink parser (like the new one!) was a gift from some folks in MS Research Beijing, who had provided the first ink parser to the Tablet PC platform team as well. We had high aspirations for determining structure (as well as identifying which ink strokes were handwriting and which were drawings). That MSR team really came through for us which is why we have any such parsing at all in OneNote 2003.


But the main problem we suffered from was that the design we had agreed on simply didn’t work well. Because of our focus on providing handwriting guides to the user (described in that prior post I linked to), we laid a requirement on the parsing engine that it determine what the user was doing as quickly as possible, and that decision was irreversible. For example, if the user started to write the words “And then” on the page, our requirement of the parser was that it figure out that the ink strokes formed words (not drawings) within the first couple of words so that we could then put the writing guides on the screen to show the user that if they wrote more to the right that ink would be considered part of that sentence, and if they wrote more below it would be considered a different paragraph. If we determined that they were nearing the end of a line we would show them that writing on the next line would continue this paragraph. So the parser had only a few strokes of ink with which to make its decision, and it had to stick with that decision forever since we committed the ink to either handwriting or drawing storage and subsequent user experience.


Could I write prose more dense than this? I will try…


For OneNote 12 we decided to reconsider our whole approach. We still need to know what the user has written since although we do not show any UI to the user as they write (see “No UI exposed while inking” above), we still have to make the ink searchable, have to convert the correct strokes to text if the user converts the page from ink to text, and have to do the right things as the user moves stuff around on the page. Since we do not need to show UI while the user is inking we are now free to parse and reparse as needed to figure out what the user is writing. If the user writes more ink and the parser decides that in fact these small rectangles and circles written so far are really a drawing and not the beginning of a sentence, we can cancel the background text recognition process. Whenever you stop to take a break, OneNote tries to make sense of what you’ve done and in some cases changes its mind about what is on the page. Since it has all the ink available to make its decision, it can do a much more accurate parse of the page than the old parser which had to make a decision after four or five strokes.


Another thing the new parser does for us is figure out slanted handwriting. When you write on an angle, the old parser had to assume it was some kind of drawing, but the new parser can figure out that it is just slanted handwriting and then make it searchable, etc.


I should take a moment to explain just how hard ink parsing is. As a human, when you look at ink on a page you are able to quickly sort out what is a drawing and what is handwriting, what strokes belong with other strokes, and so on. If someone’s handwriting is terrible you may not be able to read it, but nearly all the time you can at least figure out that it is handwriting and not a drawing, and where the lines of text go. One big advantage you have over the computer is that you can look at the whole screen and parallel process everything you see to generate a sense of what is going on. To simulate the computer’s task, imagine sitting in a little room with a slot where a person on the other side hands you a sticky note with an ink stroke on it, plus a notation about where the corner of the sticky note should go on a larger piece of paper. You get a new sticky note for each stroke of the pen, and you are never allowed to put the sticky notes together on a sheet of paper to look at them as a whole. The room is pitch black with no light. Oh, and you’re dumber than a caterpillar.


Wrap up
So what does all this mean? It means that in OneNote 12 you just write your ink and that’s it. We don’t try to clump it into boxes or anything. You are free to move it around the screen in pieces. Everything will work as well as it can. Although OneNote is always trying to figure out what you have done it doesn’t make you deal with this – it just provides the results of the parse to the features that need it, such as ink search.


If you have Beta 1 of OneNote 12 then you know that all this isn’t quite working as well as I describe. Beta 1 of OneNote is using the ink parser in the Vista beta, and bugs in that notwithstanding we hadn’t actually done any tuning for Beta 1 plus we have our own bugs. Next beta will be closer to the final behaviour, using the near final parser for Vista too.



In case you were expecting me to write about Drawing Tools in this post, rest assured I will write about those later. I wanted to separate them since although they use ink they apply to non-Tablets at least as much as Tablet.


Oh and Jensen posted yesterday asking people what their favorite software is and it is gratifying to see OneNote mentioned by several people. Thanks!

Comments (44)

  1. WWI says:

    Great stuff Chris!

    Thanks!

  2. Nick Davis says:

    Excellent! Looking forward to a beta. When can MSDN subscribers expect to see a beta?

  3. Aaron Hall says:

    Looks like some great improvements!

    I’m a law student new to OneNote, but here are a few improvement ideas we’ve wished were implemented:

    1. When two students are sharing a page while taking notes in class, it would be great if each could choose a different ink color that would apply to wherever they type. Currently, a person has to click their font color every time they place their cursor in a new spot on a page that has a black font.

    2. When two students are sharing a page while taking notes in class, it would be nice to have the "undo" feature available. Currently, "undo" is disabled while sharing a page.

    3. Currently, when two students are sharing a page while taking notes in class, the audio recording tracking of text will get confused and stop tracking if one person cuts-and-pastes a block of text to a new spot. This also occurs anytime a person copies text to a new tab—the recording was tab specific, so text continued to be entered on the new tab is not tracked with the audio.

    If these are already included in the new version, I’m sorry for mentioning them. I am new to OneNote and look forward to OneNote 12.

    Aaron

    aaronhall@hotpop.com

    P.S. If you need any more beta testers, I and a couple law students would be more than glad to join in.

  4. TK says:

    OMG, you just enumerated all the features I hoped for!

    Especially, I’m very, very happy for the three modifications:

    "no UI exposed while inking", "automatically extends the page as

    you need more room" and "new ink parser."

    Thank you so much Chris and I’m looking forward to the improved OneNote 12!

  5. Patrick says:

    I have to say, OneNote is the killer app for me. I am a mac guy and love my little iBook to death, But the software my law school uses to take exams doesn’t run on a Mac so I had to buy a cheap-o Wintel machine for exams. Since the school provides OneNote to all the students, I installed it on a whim. It is simply unbelieveable how awesome OneNote is. Taking notes anywhere, paste in images/scans of test books, etc. In fact, to get the full OneNote experience I recently bought a tablet and couldn’t be happier. Annotating an electronic version of my 1000+ page textbook: Priceless.

    I’ve been reading here and there about OneNote 12 and I can’t wait. The syncing, now the slanted writing recognition, everything. I don’t mean to gush, but I really, truly believe OneNote is the best piece of software I currently use.

    While I’m here, I just want to throw out that not having to save documents is such a mind-numbingly good idea I don’t know why it’s not done in other programs. I can understand the need to version documents, and saving can serve that function, but with OneNote I don’t have to worry about it. I write it, it’s there when I go back. It really is like paper or a notebook. It is just so natural.

    So in closing: *gush* *gush* Thank you thank you thank you. I can’t wait till ON12, and ditto Aaron, if you still need beta testers: patrickmyers@gmail.com

  6. Ted says:

    Thanks Chris from a devoted OneNote User. Keep up the great work….Hope to hear more in the future.

  7. SDV says:

    Exciting stuff. You know, I’m going to buy a tablet just to play with OneNote. Already ordered OneNote 2003 to kill the time until 12 is released. BTW any fix on that?

  8. Chris Pratley gives the Tableteers more information on inking improvements in OneNote 12. The post also…

  9. Dennis Rice says:

    Great blog post Chris! Can you do this every day now on what’s happening? 🙂

    OneNote is already a great tool, but hearing about these obviously user requested enhancements is our assurance that you guys are listening to us!

    Keep talking to us on what’s going on, we’re listening too!

  10. John Hoult says:

    Why doesn’t Microsoft implement OneNote in other applications such as Outlook so as when you put notes in Tasks or Meetings or Notes, you would have all the funcionality of OneNote available?

  11. What Is New says:

    Chris Pratley writes about ink features in the upcoming Microsoft Office OneNote “12”, which…

  12. John Hoult: I have yet to post about the Outlook integration in OneNote 12…

    SDV: no ship date promises but it will be this year…

    Patrick: no worries, I can handle a little gushing 🙂

    Aaron: your first two issues are good ones. We don’t automatically assign each user a color (or provide you a way to do it), but we do mark the text with the author so you can right click on the move handle and it will tell you who wrote it. Undo is a tricky one for shared sessions. Should it undo (1) what you did last or (2) what someone else did last if it happened since your last edit?  If #1, then it is a hard technical and design challenge to keep track of what you did and what someone else did and possibly undo something that someone else has since modified (i.e. support out-of-sequence Undo). If #2, then the problem is that you may not have noticed what the other person did – their action might have occurred immediately after yours but off screen (for you), so undo would be doing damage to the page where you can’t see it – and it would freak out the other people since you didn’t mean to undo their work. your third issue is possibly by design. Audio is assigned to text or pasted objects on a single page (and its subpages). If you paste things to a new page the audio does not follow it. We decided that people re-using the text on a page would not want audio links following along since much of the time you just wanted the text.

  13. thadk says:

    In ON12 Beta 1 there were still hiccups with the recognition and classification of drawings vs. text but you had removed the "drawing mode" which was the only way to ensure that the parser didn’t make a mistake with your important drawing. Have you added that back or is the parser now improved enough so that I won’t have to worry? I hope so…

  14. Arun says:

    I think that OneNote is one of the best applications available today and I use daily. When Tablet PCs finally became avialable, I was of the first ones to order one and one of the firstones to order OneNote.

    I cant even imagine what life was like carrying around paper notebooks to recodd my notes on. I am looking forward to the new improved version of OneNote.

    It will be nice to have different "bvook" for different topic and it would nice to ahve an archive feature so that tabs and foldes could be archived but still accessible.

    I also wish that it could integrate better into Word so that I could use it to repalce my Word.

    Thanks for keeping us all in the loop and keep uo the great work!

  15. Lawrence says:

    Happy to see a killer app becoming even more… lethal 🙂

  16. J Chen says:

    I would like to see better support of Import/Export or synchronization capabilities so that I can move documents between desktop PC and Tablet PC.

  17. Victor Hooi says:

    heya,

    Been having great fun with OneNote 12 Beta 1 =). Truly some amazing work, very impressed with its ability to recognise my "chickenscratch scrawl". Can’t wait for this new ink to appear in Vista.

    Anyway, just a couple of questions (i.e. things I can’t for the life of me figure out, but which are probably blindingly obvious *grins*)

    1. You mentioned that in the beta the cache grows unbounded, with a workaround being to periodically delete the cache. Where is this cache located please?

    2. Is there a way to see underneath to what OneNote has recognised your handwriting as, without actually converting ink to text? (I want to check that certain words are correct, so that I can use find properly).

    3. Is it possible to convert a page of ink to a single paragraph of text, without any line breaks at all? (I find OneNote tends to insert linebreaks throughout my ink, probably due to my large spacing).

    4. It’s cool how OneNote adds extra space when you reach the bottom, but is there an AutoScroll feature? Might be useful if you’re trying to rapidly take notes.

    Related to this, is there a way to control the automatic extend in only one direction? Probably just me, but I only need it to expand downwards – expanding horizontally just adds something that I have to delete later.

    5. This is probably in your "this is a rough build, no polish work done" bin, but I thought the time/date stamps in 2003 looked much nicer and better placed – no big deal. However, I can’t seem to move the date/time stamps in 12 Beta 1 – they refuse to move. Obviously, I can just insert the date/time again elsewhere where I want it (on the right side, next to the title), but then I don’t get the nice edit time features. Any suggestions?

    Well, hopefully that’s not too much =). Once again, kudos on a really great product – OneNote is definitely on my list of "Coolest stuff to buy this year" =).

    Thanks,

    Victor

  18. Victor Hooi says:

    heya,

    Sorry, just one other thing. The find box is really cool, however it’s somewhat annoying on my Tablet (without keyboard), because I have to open the (rather laggy) TIP to enter text, then hit search.

    No chance of having the find box open with its own free-form input area when you give it focus, so you can just scribble in your search term? After all, OneNote already seems fairly accurate on free-form recognition on the page.

    Just a random idea.

    Thanks,

    Victor

  19. Jeff says:

    Am I the only one wishing for some more advanced drawing tools?  I teach all day with my tablet.  I broadcast my screen to a lab of students (I teach CS).  I am constantly wishing that I had the abliity to draw a box, circle, line, or arrow (the standard drawing tools).  why was this left out of OneNote?  I would love for someone to tell me I just missed it, but i can’t seem to find it anywhere.  For lecturing, those utilities are crucial.

    Thanks,

    jeff

  20. J Moore says:

    Thanks for the update.

    I find it very interesting that technology is flowing from MS Beijing to the states.

    Is ink-recognition technology more developed in China?  I was thinking that since the stroke order for characters is more formalized in Chinese, there must be less thinking for the computer to do…despite the difference in the numbers of characters.

    Thank you,

  21. Jim says:

    I would love to use OneNote, especially since it’s thursted at me at every MS event these days.  However as a Computer Engineer, I have a non-tablet pc laptop because I needed to be able to run Visual Studio and other high end, high rez, engineering applications without breaking the bank.

    Long math equations, circuit diagrams and graphs are a consistent part of my note taking and without ink there seems to be no way to reproduce the necessary notes and keep pace with the class.

    Forgive me for saying, but I think it would be great if MS could include a math typeset much like the one found in OpenOffice based on the TeX standard where you type out a phrase "sum from a to b 3*x^2"  highlight, Insert->MathObject and it converts it into a very beautiful equation (this would be even better if there was a shortcut key).

    For circuit diagrams, it would be nice to have some kind of electrical/digital package that could be downloaded for engineers to be able to quickly re-draw schematics.  However I find that even using visio to re-create the drawings is just not fast enough to keep up.

    And I have no suggestion on how to solve the graphs problem.  It wouldn’t be an issue if the notes were slides available online either in PDF or PowerPoint… but I find tha the best professors just draw on the board from memory as they lecture.

    Everything else looks great, I think the design decisions are good ones and I hope one day soon I’ll be able to keep completely digital notes without the need for a seperate notebook.

    Thanks,

    -Jim

  22. Chris_Pratley says:

    thadk: we didn’t remove drawing mode. It is still there in Tools/Pen Mode. In any case, as I noted pen support in beta 1 is still rough.

    Arun: thanks! I am not sure if some of your sentences are requests or not – if so let me know if you are expecting answers.

    JChen: Import/Export capabilities. We added PDF and XPS for export. We also have added (for programmers) the ability to export notes and other page content as XML. As to syncing, I wrote about that here (see point 7): http://blogs.msdn.com/chris_pratley/archive/2005/09/27/474299.aspx

    Victor, your questions:

    1. you can find it here: C:Documents and Settings<username>Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOneNoteOneNoteOfflineCache.onecache

    2. select the ink word, right click, you should see around 5 guesses

    3. hard to say without seeing a sample of your handwriting. Maybe try the next beta and see if it is still doing that?

    4a. I don’t think you’d want us to move the "paper" underneath your pen. That might be frustrating. But maybe we could find a moment when you are idle to do it. For now there is the "add more space" button which gets you a lot more space in one shot.

    4b. If you mean that when you write within a few pixels of the right edge of the page we add some space to accommodate that, my response is "don’t do that". :-). In any case, if you do go a little over, OneNote manages the printing for you by zooming down a little bit so things fit on the page.

    5.Can you elaborate on what was nicer about the old look?

    6. (from next post)  I could imagine that someday we could support even direct inking in the find box. Just didn’t make the cut this time.

    Jeff: as I mentioned at the end of this post, I’ll blog about drawing tools soon.

    J Moore: I don’t think the location has anything to do with it specifically. It just happens that the MSR team doing the ink analysis is in Beijing. In the past ink analysis work was done by some different folks in Redmond who now work on other research. It is true that handwriting reco of Chinese is presumed by some to be more valuable a problem to solve because it is "so hard" to type Chinese so there is more enthusiasm for doing that research in China, but I am not sure that means the research is more advanced in China (it might be, might not be). I might as well say that research is more advanced in "Building 116" – it is just where people are located.

    Jim: Word 12 has native equations. A beautiful thing. As for circuit diagrams, it’s hard to imagine a drawing package that is faster than just sketching them where you want the pieces to be – for that you need a pen. This particular activity is what Tablet PCs excel at. You’re sort of asking if there is a way to deliver what the tablet is good at without getting a tablet…see there IS a reason to get one! BTW some of the newer Tablets are pretty rocking – seen the Toshiba M400? (Core Duo at 2.2Ghz)

  23. Phil Howell says:

    I work in a middle school, and we’re teaching our students to use One Note on tablet PC’s.  The changes with ink (especially no boxes!) and the lasso feature will make this program much more useable for our students.  

    Will text entered from the keyboard also be boxless?  Even with tablets, we rely a great deal on typing for efficient note taking (and some middle schoolers’ handwriting is beyond MY parsing abilities, to say nothing for the ink parser!) In SP2, the text boxes are always too small, and resizing them (which is harder than it needs to be) interferes with the flow of note taking.  

  24. Chris_Pratley says:

    Phil: the text regions are about 6" wide, and default to the width that would be natural for a piece of 8.5"x11" paper for familiarity, readability, and in case you want to print the notes it is nice that they actually fit on the paper. Are you seeing text containers that start out narrower than that? Or are you saying you want them to default wider (such as the whole screen width) even though that might give you trouble printing?

    Also, when you say the text containers are hard to make wider, you can drag the right edge to make them wider – is that not working for you?

  25. Cliff Richardson says:

    Chris,

    I’m close to purchasing a new HP tc1100. I’m told that it won’t run Vista very well, especially the aero glass. Would I be missing much by running OneNote 2007 on XP?

    Thank you.

  26. Ken says:

    I’ve taken nearly 100% electronic notes for ~14 years (Newton to PPC to Tablet) and have now switched all my note taking to OneNote. While flexibility is great for drawing, etc., my default daily work is in Outline format. It lets you take notes and collapse things along the way to see the big picture throughout hourlong (or daylong) meetings. Once you get a hang of writing on the lines and indenting (I write on a grid to make it easier), OneNote 2003 does a pretty good job of knowing whether you want a line at the same level or at a lower level on the "outline." Use Customize to put a "continue paragraph" button somewhere convenient and it works well most days. Your emphasis in the older article you reference above about structure being unimportant and your line "We don’t try to clump it into boxes or anything. You are free to move it around the screen in pieces" makes me a little nervous. Of course, I want outlining to get smarter and more flexible–but based on this, is it actually going the other direction?

  27. Chris_Pratley says:

    Cliff: I don’t think you’ll miss much from onenote if you run it on XP rather than Vista. But you’ll be missing a heck of a lot from vista! FWIW I don’t think inability to run Aero glass should be the stumbling block for you. There are a thousand other great things in Vista including (perhaps not-so) subtle improvements such as the ability to launch commonly used apps much faster.

    Ken: Sounds like you are the person we targeted our original design at – great to finally meet you! 🙂 I didn’t mean in earlier posts to imply that structure isn’t important, just that we need to nail the basics before we go for the advanced stuff. In OneNote 12 we still have outlining and roll up of ink outlines. One major thing that changed is that we can re-analyze the ink on the fly which lets us figure out the structure much more accurately than in OneNote 2003 where we were playing "name that structure" (i.e. " I can guess that structure in THREE strokes"). If you do freely move part of your ink outline around using the lasso, when you drop it again we will figure out the new outline structure using all the ink on the page.

  28. Beta 1 of &quot;OneNote 12&quot; (and &quot;Office12&quot;) is now available for download for those people who are signed…

  29. John says:

    I didn’t understand your answer to Jim’s question on circuit diagrams but I have been looking for something like this: http://www.inkwalker.com/products.htm where you can scribble circuit elements and straight lines with a pen, and the program will automatically recognize them and replace them, kinda like handwriting recognition for technical shapes.  Are you saying that Onenote can do this?

  30. Chris_Pratley says:

    John: no, Onenote does not try to auto-recognize shapes (see my post on Drawing tools where I clarify that at the end) it would be cool but not for OneNote 2007 sadly. My point to Jim was that if you do NOT have a pen, trying to use drawing tools to make a circuit diagram (unless your drawing tools are highly specific to circuit diagram creation) is harder to do at high speed as in a lecture than doing them freehand with a pen. Hence a tablet is useful for such things. And of course if you have a helper tool like you describe, even better.

  31. student says:

    Is there any change that One Note 2007 will include the equation parser?

  32. student says:

    sorry for the double post but I really think the equation parser is a must-have in one note. Let me elaborate. I agree with Jim, it would be tideous to switch between word and onenote when I want to insert math equations. Even tablet users will benefit from this. For those of us who don’t have nice handwritings would love to have this feature. This allows me to reuse the equations in my notes in a formal report. Since word already has it, I’m guessing it’s not too difficulte to port it to onenote. Please consider this. THanks. OneNote is definately my favorite tablet pc app.

  33. Chris_Pratley says:

    student: no, we won’t have handwritten equation parsing in 2007 – that particular technology is still pretty fraught with errors. Of course you can use it via the TabletPC Education pack if you find it really works for you.

    We also won’t have the text-based Word equation engine in 2007, although we did want it quite a bit. It was non-zero work so it had to be prioritized along with everything else. Since in Word the text Equation tool uses the new ribbon UI a lot it would have meant extra work to get it work in OneNote too.

    Maybe next time.

  34. student says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. I was only hoping for a text-based equation parser like in word not handwriting recognition. Guess I’m out of luck.

    How is the extensibility of onenote 2007? is it possible to write a COM or .abased add-in to add this feature?

  35. OneNote is an amazing application on any computer, but it especially shines on the Tablet PC. The Ink…

  36. Chris_Pratley says:

    student: you can write any kind of add-in (launched by a button) that then pushes results into onenote as ink, text or image.

  37. Phil Howell says:

    Thanks for your reply, Chris.  

    At least for some students, the text boxes do not always default to six inches; as students type, the box will sometimes stop expanding after two inches.  I’m not sure if we have a glitch and should reinstall OneNote, or what.  But from your reply, so I understand correctly that text in OneNote 2007 will still be in boxes?  

    We were having trouble resizing the textboxes with the tablet pen, until we realized our glaring mistake that we first needed to enable the text mode in the taskbar.  (Since that step is not necessary with the touch pad, we were confused.)  

    One more question: will OneNote 2007 work with Office 2003?  Specifically, if a few users upgrade to OneNote 2007 and are working on a network of Office 2003 users, would nasty things happen?  

  38. David Goggin says:

    Categories….please, please, please!

  39. Rui Ribeiro says:

    Hi Chris,

    The new way ink is handled in OneNote 2007 is really great. I thought the way handwritten input was handled in OneNote 2003 was probably the major issue I had with it. Sometimes when moving to a new line, most of the previous handwritten lines moved below, just on top of the newly written stuff. That was a major inconvenience, since not even using the Undo feature would restore things to normal.

    I downloaded the Beta 2 version of OneNote 2007 just a couple days ago and I rushed to test whether that issue had been solved and it had. Well done!

    OneNote is really the number one reason I bought my Tablet PC. You guys just made it better.

  40. Tom says:

    Chris –

    Please consider this a compliment: I’ve invested dozens of hours – maybe even hundreds of hours – in annotating text using OneNote 2003.

    Now the problem: the annotations are all incorrectly aligned after conversion to OneNote 2007. Will the shipping version preserve this type of alignment, or will I need to stay with OneNote 2003 if I want to preserve my annotations? I’m using Beta 2.

    (Specifically, here’s what I did. Over a period of months, I’ve pasted hundreds of pages of text into OneNote, then used ink to highlight and write margin notes. Upon conversion to OneNote 2007 format, the highlighting strokes don’t sit on the right text, and the margin notes are mostly misaligned and sometimes gone – perhaps moved off page.)

    Thanks. This matters to me a lot.

    Tom

  41. Matthew says:

    Hey can anyone give me any information on how to change pen characteristics permanently in OneNote 2007 Beta 2 CTP? I have tried using the same process as OneNote 2003 SP1 and it only changes the current pen, not the dedicated pen. Is this a bug or am I missing something?

    Cheers,

    Matthew

  42. Chris_Pratley says:

    Phil: onenote 2007 will work fine with Office 2003. You lose a ferw Outlook integration features but otherwise fine.

    David: yes, heard you thanks!

    Rui: thanks!

    Tom: please email me some samples that are particularly bad (use chrispr(at)microsoft.com) so we can test and debug.

    matthew: known bug fixed for next beta refresh.