Using Tablet PC Input Panel

Using Tablet PC Input Panel

Introduction to using the Tablet PC Input Panel.

Since it is possible to use a Tablet PC without a keyboard, Microsoft® Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition and the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Software Development Kit (SDK) include a text input accessory called Tablet PC Input Panel. Input Panel is occasionally the only way for users to input text, so it is beneficial to extend your application to include usage of Input Panel.

Input Panel enables users to input text by using:

  • Handwriting recognition of entire words.

  • Recognition of single characters and shortcut strokes called gestures to input special keys such as ENTER.

  • Speech recognition.

  • An on-screen representation of a standard keyboard that functions like a hardware keyboard.



The window of the Input Panel is unique in several ways. It is always on top, near where the text input is required, allowing users to input text and send keystrokes to their applications at any time. The window of the Input Panel never takes focus, even when open, so all output from Input Panel goes directly to the expected destination.

Users can easily open the window of the Input Panel at any time because the Tablet PC monitors system caret events to determine:

  1. When text entry is needed.
  2. Where text entry is expected.

Input Panel shows either itself or a simple invocation user interface (UI) near the system caret or the text-accepting control with focus. It makes itself available whenever a stylus-up event results in the appearance or location change of the caret.

Input Panel also has the ability to grow to accommodate extra handwriting when the user fills the existing space. It will grow while there is room for it on the screen.

Finally, Input Panel is simple to dismiss. It has easy, explicit UI for closing, as well as heuristics to auto-dismiss or collapse itself when it has not been used after invocation.

For more information about designing text entry for the Tablet PC, see Improving the Tablet PC Input Panel Experience.