Customizing Input Panel so that it matches your needs is essential for long-term enjoyment of your tablet. As with the pen settings, the default settings are geared toward the complete beginner. Once you gain experience using the various Input Panel functions, using more advanced settings will increase the speed and utility of Input Panel. You can open the Input Panel options by tapping the Tools menu in Input Panel and tapping Options.
If you fill the writing pad with ink faster than the tablet takes it away, you have two options. As shown in Figure 2-27, the writing pad options allow for a two-line writing pad and a shorter delay before the ink is converted to text. The two-line pad allows you to fill one line with ink and then continue on the second. By the time the second line is full, the first line should be empty, and you continue writing up there. This back and forth actually flows quite naturally after a few tries and works quite well. The only disadvantage is you must write a bit smaller and with your letters closer together, or you must resize Input Panel to take up more of the screen. A shorter insertion time has a similar effect except that the ink is disappearing off the beginning of the line as you are writing on the end. The setting can actually get so fast that the ink disappears before you even finish the word! Try various combinations of both settings until you can both write comfortably and see your ink for at least a moment before it disappears, never waiting more than half a second or so for a place to write.
Write Anywhere has a separate setting for automatic insertion time. Since Write Anywhere is already a several-line writing pad, the delay can be much longer. In fact, it is usually helpful to have extra time in Write Anywhere to scratch out mistakes. Still, the delay should be short enough so that you are never waiting for a place to write. The setting for the Write Anywhere insertion time is on the Write Anywhere tab in the Input Panel options.
There are several settings that allow you to customize your workspace for maximum utility.
The Advanced tab of Input Panel options lets you put quick-access buttons on the Input Panel title bar for opening the quick keys pad, the symbols pad, and hiding or showing Input Panel. As mentioned earlier, after tapping the button for the quick keys pad or symbols pad you may make a one-key tap or tear off the pad into a floating palette. The title bar button to turn Write Anywhere on and off is activated on the Write Anywhere tab.
On the Advanced tab, you can set an undocked Input Panel to automatically minimize to a title bar after a period of inactivity, so long as it is undocked. The full Input Panel reappears as soon as your pen comes near the title bar. This is a great feature if you like an undocked Input Panel. Making the delay very short, one second or less, has the effect of having Input Panel appear the moment you need it and roll up into an unobtrusive title bar a moment after you are done. Floating palettes and the speech bar will not disappear with autohide.
When you dictate, Input Panel can check and see whether the application you are dictating into supports alternate words. If it does, the text goes directly to the application; if it does not, the text preview pane opens automatically, and the text appears there instead. This option is activated on the Speech tab.
The pen width and ink color for both the writing pad and Write Anywhere are configured on the Write Anywhere tab in the Input Panel options. The setting is purely one of personal preference and can be different for the two writing situations.
You have already seen how the quick keys pad can appear both as a floating palette and in the writing pad window. The Writing Tools tab sets whether the quick keys appear on the writing pad as well and whether they appear on the right or the left. The Writing Tools tab also lets you use a character recognizer for text input using either the Palm Pilot Graffiti or Pocket PC letter system.