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An Inker’s Review of Office 2010



Over in the GBM forums, sbtablet has penned a pretty thorough review of the Beta of Office 2010 from an Inker’s perspective. Sharon covers OneNote, Word, and Powerpoint and lays out what those who haven’t dabbled in the Beta have to look forward to, as well as some dislikes and likes.

Well worth a read.



  1. fred

    03/29/2010 at 10:45 am

    Lets start thinking about native inking applications. This office is just the same old thing in a new package with some extra bells. Microsoft lives in the past and will soon find it self migrating to other arenas if if doesn’t redo its software for touch and ink from the ground up. Take the example of iWork for the iPad. Maybe Microsoft can do it better. Well… prove it! There are enough slates launching this year alone and already enough convertible tablet in production but they sock because the software and because they run flash.

  2. fred

    03/29/2010 at 10:56 am

    They just don’t get it.

  3. Dan

    03/29/2010 at 11:18 am

    What I would like to know is with all the new tablets moving in the direction of ‘information consumption’ as opposed to creation, is inking in Office all that big of a deal anymore?

    Having an ink based Office system would almost require an active digitizer to prevent the frustration caused with trying to use just a touch screen and a home-made ‘pen’ out of plastic wrap.

    I, personally, would like to see either MS Office or OpenOffice go totally pen based like a big OneNote program on steroids, however, the market seems to be moving away from something this useful and any hardware or software investment in time or money spent on improving the inkability seems completely wasted. The manufacturers/programmeers think the TabletPC is dead as they rush to deliver ‘large print smartphones.’

    Not a day goes by that I don’t read the ‘reviews’ singing the praises for a touch screen netbook that any inking improvements in Office, if the thing could even run it, would be a total waste. Many of the planned devices running Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, and even a call or two for ‘PalmOS’ will not even run any version of Office let alone anything with ink.

    I think if the community really wants something like this the only way to go about it is to first WANT devices that will make use of it, and then start rattling the cup on the bars, so to speak, asking for improved inking support in all applications!

    …a moment in inksanity…

  4. ChrisRS

    03/29/2010 at 11:36 am

    Office is the defacto business standard. It is not reasonable to expsect an “ink only” or “ink from the egrpound up” alternate to Office for content creation. It is reasonable to expect much, much , much better integration of ink and touch on Office 2010 vs Office 2007.

    I would be interested in how ink is supported in Excel. (Having to use the symbols for =, +, elc. is clumsy. I Know there is an add on available.)

    I would like to know how well ink is supported in Outlook.

  5. Dennisvjames

    03/29/2010 at 12:40 pm

    I use ink in Word and it works fine. Those of you who who have read my comments know I’m a OneNote fanatic – there’s no other product out there that uses inking as well as OneNote.

  6. TateJ

    03/29/2010 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve asked this question before. Does the average person want their computer to have inking functions? I am the only person I know that uses it and most folks tell me they would rather type than ink.

    Is there really a market for inking, or is it really just a few of us?

    And yes, I wish more software took advantage of inking.

    • Frank

      03/29/2010 at 1:28 pm

      People don’t want/need ink because there’s no use for them, yet. Yet, because ink integration is done really poor at the moment. Ink in Office is just a joke, especially with ON 2010 it’s worse than ever, and other good ink enabled programs are really rare.
      Ink can be useful, but you need proper software for it. And at the moment, it’s just useless for the average user.
      So in a few years, I expect, that there will be devices with good software which make ink usable for the average people, too, but at the moment, it’s a niche for students or designers.

      • Brett Gilbertson

        03/30/2010 at 3:11 am

        I strongly disagree Frank. As a Tablet PC reseller, I speak to newcomers everyday who are blown away by this feature in office – they never knew it existed. Ink in office could be much better than it is, but even as it is still incredibly useful.

        Handwritten emails, ink markup in word, ink presentations that are truly interactive in powerpoint and I could never live without onenote anymore!

        Add to that a program like BlueBeam Revu and real business users (not the hypothetical type) find ink on a Tablet PC indispensible today.

        • Frank

          03/30/2010 at 5:29 am

          @Brett Gilbertson
          sadly, you’re talking about specific people, and not the average user.
          I’m also sorry to tell you that I don’t see a use in handwritten mails. Handwriting recognition is a joke for a mail, you’re at least 10 times faster with a keyboard, markup in word, yes, it could be useful, sadly word has a poor interface for ink, much better, just as you said, PDF Revu, much better especially if you consider eBooks stored as PDF documents, powerpoint and ink, yes, that’s great, but the average person does not use this often, either. And last but not least, OneNote, one of the most recommended programs for a tablet PC, in my opinion, one of the worst programs for a tablet PC, full of bugs and an awful GUI for a tablet PC, especially since ON2010.
          Again, there’s use for a tablet PC for a few people, like you, me, and others. But there’s no use for the average people, because of the lack of good software and handy hardware.
          PDF Revu is a perfect software for PDF files. Sadly quite expensive, so the average person won’t use it again.

  7. sbtablet

    03/29/2010 at 4:07 pm

    I would love to see a Pen Suite built from the ground up for ink that would convert text or save ink into MS Office formats. Maybe the team at ritePen will take it on someday, they seem the closest to having the experience, code and ability to do that right now.

    It’s catch 22 for ink, and has been since the tablet pc came out. What’s the use of the pen when the software is all geared to keyboard, and why make software for ink when nobody sees the need for a pen?

    I, myself, use the keyboard about 80% of the time, which is why I love my convertible (and would jump on a good hybrid if they brought it back). I use ink in classrooms, meetings, for grading papers, journalling and some drawing. I think the review and comment system in Word is unwieldy, and I am so glad to be able to mark student work with my pen just as I would on paper. So much quicker and more intuitive.

    I think today’s consumer slates are crippled without ink, but maybe some third party software will address that. Sumocat was impressed with FastFinga.

    Right now, Office is really the only game in town, so I thought it was worth commenting on what can be done in Office with ink, however reluctantly they offer the options and however well they try to hide them.

  8. feralboy

    03/29/2010 at 6:29 pm

    sbtablet is right on. I use ink quite frequently in Word. The problem is, you have to “learn” to be adept at the TIP. I don’t know about you guys, but it took me months to get good at using a keyboard…I think the problem is, most people don’t want to invest that kind of time in inking. I hear you, loud and clear, but it may just be an unavoidable reality. After you get good at using the TIP, it’s a pretty flexible tool and using it in Word is nearly effortless. If you’re new at it, or haven’t invested the time to crest the learning curve, not so much. That said, it’s not as quick as typing (and never will be), so having a keyboard at hand is great. For that reason, I’d choose a convertible (or hybrid) over a slate any day. Anyway, when I’m writing fiction, I love to handwrite my text and let Word do the translation for me…I think there’s a definite cognitive advantage to handwriting creative stuff. Also, using ink to mark up other people’s text is a fantastic way to go.

    I too would love a Word Processor, for instance, created for ink from the ground up, but I’d probably still have a copy of Word on my machine because the two different input modalities have their own GUI and conceptual requirements would make the determinate one better for the task at hand.

  9. Brett Gilbertson

    03/29/2010 at 6:30 pm

    Sure, it’s not a huge change, but the office ink tools are still the best (only) on the market! They are actually a great set of tools that are very useful to Tablet users. I’m happy that they’re still developing.

    My only comment is that the excel team needs to be smacked around and brought into line for TIP compatibility!

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