How to input text on a touch screen device
Submitted Friday, February 23, 2007
Open a new Word or Excel document, a new Contact or Calendar appointment, or go to a dialog box that accepts text, and the "soft keyboard" input panel pops up at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to enter text. You can change this feature to display other handwriting recognition input panels.
Here's how to do it:
Many phone-enabled touch screen devices have QWERTY thumb keyboards built into them, allowing you to enter text into any application that accepts it. In addition, whenever there is an opportunity to enter text, a “soft input panel” will appear in the bottom third of the screen, allowing you to enter text. By default, this is the “soft keyboard” panel, which looks like a QWERTY keyboard. To enter text, numbers, symbols, etc., tap on the appropriate key with your stylus. To switch from the QWERTY keyboard to the numerical keyboard, tap the “123” key on the top left. To remove the soft keyboard from the screen, tap on the keyboard icon, which is located in the middle of the task bar at the very bottom of the screen. (On pre-WM 5 devices, it is found on the right edge of the task bar.) Tap that icon again to bring the soft keyboard back up.
Use the touch screen device's soft keyboard to enter text.
In addition to the soft keyboard, touch screen devices have Block Recognizer and Letter Recognizer input panels, which allow you to enter text by writing it, one character at a time, in the panel. Touch screen devices also have Transcriber built into them. This allows you to write anywhere on the screen, in cursive, print, or mixed styles. Transcriber recognizes the writing and translates it into alphanumeric text.
Changing soft input panels
The screen graphic in this How–to shows a Word document open on a Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC, with the soft keyboard displayed. Notice the up arrow next to the small keyboard icon at the bottom of the screen. To change which soft input panel you are using:
Tap on this arrow.
Select the desired input panel from the pop-up menu.
Note that a number of third-party soft input panels are available. Once installed on your device, they also appear in and can be selected from the pop-up menu described in step 2 above.
Finally, if you’re away from your desktop PC and have a lot of text entry to do, you should consider getting an external keyboard (see “Making text entry easier” in the Learning section).