Thursday, February 28, 2008

Solution for handwriting recognition if you use RDP

Only a small percentage of tablets users access their network over Citrix or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), but if you do then you cannot use the Microsoft TIP (Tablet Input Panel) for handwriting. Usually, you can bring the TIP up and tap on the keyboard, but handwriting doesn't get entered into the RDP window.

A solution has been around for some time, but a client reminded me about it today so I'm sharing it with you. ritePen from EverNote is an alternative to the Microsoft tablet input panel. In addition, ritePen gives you the ability to "write anywhere", a feature found in the first version of the MS TIP but subsequently removed. Using the Write Anywhere feature, you can ink directly into a document and have it converted to text without first entering it into a special area like the tablet input panel.

ritePen costs only $29.95 and more information is available at their website.


prismejon said...

In Vista you can access the Input Panel from the edge-target, and it should work even when using RDP :)

prismejon said...
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John Hill said...

have you tried that or are you just supposing that?

prismejon said...

There are two different potential issues: Inserting text and launching the TIP

The TIP will send the text to any application that has focus using standard Windows input APIs (full-screen or not). This should also work with RDP clients, and has been tested on the most common ones. If you have an example where it doesn't work I'd love to hear about it (I work on the TIP team :) ).

The issue with most RDP clients is that there is no visible launch-point for the TIP. There are several ways that the RDP clients could actually make the in-place icon work, but it doesn't seem to be a high priority to fix this. That's one of the reasons why the Vista TIP has the edge-target launcher. With the edge-target the TIP will be accessible even in full-screen apps. And unless the application does something very very strange, text insertion should work.