Pen Computing Issue #5

June/July 1995

Windows Software Review

aha! InkWriter for Windows tablets

No need for pen extensions

InkWriter for Tablets is the latest variant of aha!Software Corporation's innovative ink processor. The original version was for the PenPoint operating system, followed by the critically acclaimed version 2.0 for Windows for Pen Computing, and the recently released InkWriter for Magic Cap. The difference between InkWriter for Tablets and InkWriter for Windows for Pen Computing is that the tablet version does not require the Microsoft Windows pen extensions. This is good news for all the people out there who use a tablet instead of, or in addition to, a mouse. Most of the tablets from Kurta, Wacom, CalComp, Hitachi, Summagraphics, AceCad, and others, do not come with Windows for Pen Computing. They use their own tablet drivers instead. InkWriter for Tablets will work with any of those tablets and simply use the tablet's driver.
Installation is a piece of cake. InkWriter does not change any configurations, asks you where you want the software installed, and you have a choice of a full or a custom installation. In keeping with its mobile/pen computer heritage, InkWriter for Tablets is incredibly compact. The entire installation, including detailed help, tutorials, samples, and templates takes less than a megabyte. If you omit the help files and the samples, installation takes less than half a megabyte of disk space.
Like its pen computing cousin, the Tablet version of InkWriter combines the editing power of word processing with the simplicity of writing with a pen. You simply write on the tablet. InkWriter then lets you cut and paste, bolden, or italicize your handwritten text, and rewraps writing to fit different views or to print. Unlike on a paper pad, you can open up space between two handwritten words and insert more text.
Despite its small size, InkWriter for Tablets has some very powerful features. There are, for example, no less than 20 levels of undo, and such innovative things as pop-up editing menus when you tap on a word. You can also use InkWriter as a regular wordprocessor with the keyboard. Though the program should not be seen as a full-featured wordprocessor, it is plenty good enough for day-to-day writing and editing tasks. There are even features which some of the "real" wordprocessor don't have, like a slide bar in the Search andReplace function that lets you search for a loose or exact match of a word.
InkWriter can also be used as a drawing program. There is drawing ink and writing ink, or you can just stay with the SmartInk default where the program figures out whether you're writing or drawing. Drawing items are treated as objects and can be edited, stacked, rotated, grouped, aligned, reduced, enlarged, or converted into geometrical shapes.
InkWriter is designed to work on screens of all different sizes, so pages are preset to wrap writing to fit the size screen you're using. A finished document can then be either left as is, or re-wrapped to fit a full letter-sized page for printing. There are a number of differences between the tablet and the pen computer version of InkWriter. The pen version's recognition and pop-up keyboard icons are missing in the tablet version because they require the pen extensions and the handwriting recognition engine. Many will argue that the handwriting recognition feature won't be missed at all, especially in a product like InkWriter for Tablets where you do have access to a full size keyboard.
On the other hand, the tablet version has a new mail feature that lets you send handwritten mail messages using either cc:Mail or Microsoft Mail.
With the tablet version, aha! widens the appeal of the superb InkWriter ink processor by including anyone who has a digitizer tablet (of course, this version also works on pen systems). Kudos to Greg Stikeleather and his aha! team!

Category: Ink processor
Developed by: aha! Software (415) 988-2080
Memory needs: 4MGRAM, 1MBdisk
System needs: MSWindows 3.1 or later, tablet.