- 1 -
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,
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.