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Wood Carving and OneNote

Wood Carving and OneNote

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Published by GrantRobertson
This document only applies to OneNote 2003. I wrote it back in 2004 on the promise that it would be published in a magazine. But the magazine went out of business before they could publish my article. Also, Microsoft changed the way the handwriting works in subsequent versions of OneNote. Now you have to manually drag every indented paragraph to the level you want it. I think the old way was better. Oh well.
This document only applies to OneNote 2003. I wrote it back in 2004 on the promise that it would be published in a magazine. But the magazine went out of business before they could publish my article. Also, Microsoft changed the way the handwriting works in subsequent versions of OneNote. Now you have to manually drag every indented paragraph to the level you want it. I think the old way was better. Oh well.

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Published by: GrantRobertson on Jun 27, 2012
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11/14/2013

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Wood Carving & OneNote
Tips for easier handwriting in Microsoft OneNoteBy Grant S. RobertsonMany new OneNote users seem to have difficulty when they first start taking notes in handwriting.They say it’s tough to control what OneNote does with the words they write on the screen. They end upwith bits and pieces spread out in several places that don’t seem to be connected. Or they have troublekeeping track of their outline indent levels. Actually it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. All youhave to do is write in the correct places on the screen in relation to your other handwriting so thatOneNote knows you are creating a new line or indenting to a new level in the outline.It’s kind of like wood carving. If you carve with the grain it is much easier. But then, you have to beable to see the grain don’t you? To make the grain visible, so to speak, you have to change some of OneNote’s default settings. Turn on the small grid background [View / Grid Lines / Small Grid] andmake the Writing Guides dark enough to see all the time [Tools / Options ; Display ; Adjust thedarkness...[v] = Medium]. In the retail version you will also have to choose [Tools / Show Ink Groups]but this is always on in SP-1 and can’t be turned off.Naturally, you will want to keep all of your writing in the space between the horizontal lines. Thedescenders can drop down a little but not much. You can’t write at an angle and you shouldn’t write sobig that you cross both the top and bottom rule line of the line you are writing in. I set the zoom to 75%on my 14” Acer C300. This makes the rule lines appear just a little wider than I would prefer but I getgood handwriting recognition later. 50% seems to work OK but the recognition isn’t quite as good andmy handwriting is then a little too small for me to easily see and read in all situations.I have also found that it really helps to have control over which tools you are using. Customize thetoolbar and add the buttons for ‘Create Handwriting Only’, ‘Create Both Handwriting and Drawings’,and ‘Create Drawings Only’. Then you can always see which mode you are in and quickly switchbetween them. It is also a good idea to disable the [Tools / Options ; Handwriting ; Automatically switchbetween Pen and Selection Tool] setting. Again,
you
want to be in control of which tool you are using.Carving With the Grain, or Basic Handwriting:When I write, I always start my first paragraph at the second verticalline by tapping the screen on that vertical line and two thirds of the wayup from the horizontal line that I want to be my base line. OneNote thenstarts a new writing guide. You will notice that it fits almost exactlywithin the grid lines. I start at the secondvertical line so there will be room for bulletsand at least one Note Flag to the left of theparagraph while still allowing you to see anduse the paragraph handle.
Figure 1: All your tools available for quick selection. (Notice that you can place buttons within the menu bar to save space.)Figure 3: Just after tapping thescreen.Figure 2: Just before tapping thescreen.
 
- 2 -To make my paragraphs stand out from eachother I like to indent the first line. Even thoughwe tricked OneNote into creating the WritingGuide at the second vertical line I actually startwriting at the third vertical line (or one grid tothe right of the left edge of the Writing Guide).While it is possible to tap-and-indent more thanone grid space for a really indented first line,you can only get away with that for the firstparagraph at any one outline level. If you go anyfurther to the right on subsequent paragraphsthen OneNote will move the edge of the writingguide up to where your writing begins andconsider it an indented paragraph. (More on that in the next section.) I only do this tap-and-indent trick when I know I will be writing lots of full paragraphs down the page, like when I am journaling, ratherthan when I am outlining.So now you are writing your first line. Youwill see that the Writing Guide (WG) keepsexpanding as you write. You can even write alittle past the right edge of it and it will expandto encompass your words. I have found it issmart to let it catch up to you as you go. Youcan start a word within the Writing Guide andwrite past the edge and OneNote will keep uppretty well. However, if you write too fast andstart a new word to the right of the WritingGuide, where it hasn’t caught up to you yet, thenOneNote will start a new Writing Guide therewhich will interfere with your existing one. Becareful not to dot your ‘I’s or cross your ‘t’suntil the Writing Guide has caught up to youeither or they will end up in separate,overlapping Writing Guides.So you are writing along, still on the firstline. You will notice that the Writing Guidestops keeping up with you about 2/3 of theway across the screen. Now you have to takethings into your own hands. If you stopwriting for a second the Writing Guide willgenerally display it’s drag bar at the top withthe double arrow in the upper right corner.You should now use this to force theWriting Guide to the width you really wantit to be. (If the bar doesn’t appear, a goodtrick is to flip your stylus around to theeraser end and tap it somewhere outside of 
Figure 4:Figure 6: I actually had to write really fast to get it to mess up likethis. SP-1 keeps up much better than the retail version.Figure 5:Figure 7:
 
- 3 -the Writing Guide.) I generally widen the Writing Guide to the second vertical line from the right edgeof the screen. (This is because OneNote has a tendency to continue to expand the Writing Guide if youaren’t careful and this gives room for it to expand a little without the edge disappearing under the edgeof your window. More about that later.) As you are dragging it out you will see a dotted line appearabout 1/16” outside the edge of the Writing Guide. Ignore that dotted line. (I think it is only there forthose people who like to set the Writing Guides to be invisible and therefore can’t see where the ‘grain’is.) Watch the grey area of the Writing Guide itself.OK, I know a lot of thinking has gone into just writing 2/3 of the first line but, believe me, this willmake it much easier to write all the rest. Besides, it just becomes second nature after a while, like alwayscarving away from yourself.Now, you are almost ready to finish the firstline. As you approach the end keep your eye onthe vertical line that is one grid space in from theright edge of the Writing Guide. You want towrite as close up to this line as possible without going over. If you get to within about ¼ of a grid spaceof that line then OneNote will drop down the next line of the Writing Guide. This is so what you writewill be included as part of the same paragraph as the first line. If you don’t, and just start writing on thenext line even though the Writing Guide hasn’t dropped down, then OneNote will treat it as a separateparagraph. If you don’t have just the right sized word to exactly fill the space you can just write asquiggle to fill the space (Figure 8). Don’t just draw a straight line. If you are in the ‘Create BothHandwriting and Drawings’ mode OneNote will think a straight line is a drawing and create a separatedrawing box which will interfere with your existing Writing Guide. You can go back later and erase thesquiggles while you are letting your brain rest.So what happens if you go past that vertical line I told you to keep you eye on? This is when OneNotetends to expand your Writing Guide further to the right. You can get away with going maybe half aspace over. OneNote will expand the Writing Guide and you can drag it back to the desired widthwithout messing up your text. But if you go much further than that, when you resize the Writing Guide itwill force that offending word to the next line. If you have already written more lines below it then theywill be forced down and that one word will appear on a line all by itself. Not too very pretty. This is whyit is important to place that right edge of the Writing Guide exactly on one of the vertical grid lines. Ihave found it is best to always drag that darn right edge of the Writing Guide back where it belongs. If you don’t it gets hard to tell where you should be ending the line and you will keep inadvertentlyextending the Writing Guide just a little further over and over again. Fortunately, SP-1 is much betterabout this. I haven’t had a Writing Guide do the right edge crawl on me since I upgraded.Wow, all that just for one darn line of handwriting! It really will become second nature quickly. Don’tworry. Besides, would you have wanted me to wait till you were five paragraphs along before I told youhow to end a line.Remember how I had you start that first lineone grid space to the right of the left edge of theWriting Guide? Well, for the second andsubsequent lines you will start writing right atthe left edge. See how this gives you thatindented first line look? As you start moreparagraphs this way you will see it is much easier to see where one paragraph ends and another begins.Just like in grammar school! A lot of people forget this when they are writing on a computer, and if youdon’t do the ‘tap first then indent’ trick then you won’t be able to get this effect.
Figure 8:Figure 9:

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