ritePen 3.5 is Out and it’s Awesome!

markup-exampleritePen, called the “killer tablet app” by, well, me, now offers a truckload of new functionality in version 3.5. On top of excellent handwriting recognition and pen macros enabling limitless handwritten shortcuts, ritePen 3.5 offers advanced markup tools that allow users to take screenshots, mark them up with a variety of pens and highlighters, and save them to either the clipboard or Evernote.

I’ve been testing the beta version for several weeks, and I believe even more than before that it is the killer app for tablets and pen input. Need to see it to believe it? Check out their video walkthrough.

New features of ritePen 3.5 include:
– Support for Windows 7
– Advanced markup and instant note-taking mode with full ink editing, clipping, and integration with Evernote
– Automatic perfection of freehand shapes and charts (shape recognition)
– Improved writing system with much smoother full-screen ink collection
– New types of ink commands
– Enhanced correction interface (WordMenu)
– Improved Citrix and RDP compatibility
– Support for Dutch handwriting recognition
– Customizable Punctuation Pane
– and much more…

I’ve tested the beta on XP, Vista, and 7 with fantastic results on both Windows 7 and XP (not so much on Vista though, some sort of installation problem, I think). The new markup functionality has made all my other screenshot tools obsolete. It allows me to go wild with ink markup (pressure senstive on my Wacom digitizers) or precise with straight highlighting and clean shapes (though I still prefer wild ink markup). Screenshots can be sent to the clipboard for sticking in emails, etc., or sent to Evernote, making for an unbeatable note-taking combo. One warning: it won’t work with the 3.5 beta of Evernote, presumably because the beta doesn’t use the standard Evernote program location, but my testing with the current version was smooth.

Update: I’ve been informed the Evernote 3.5 beta version 3 should fix this problem, so I’m experiencing a specific problem. Oh, and you’ll notice the ritePen markup tools are the same as those in Evernote. Bonus points to them for that added bit of integration. Update 2: Problem seems to have been in the ritePen beta. Just installed the final release, and it’s sending clips to Evernote 3.5 just fine.

ritePen 3.5 upgrades the advanced functionality in 3.1, offering advanced pen macros to create ink versions of keyboard shortcuts, such as writing and circling “f” to perform Ctrl+f. More creatively, I also use it to turn off the screen, pick shutdown options, copy file names, and easily enter my contact information in new web services. Update: 3.5 offers a new “RunMacro” option to insert app/shortcut/bookmark launching macros into text entry macros. I’m going to need to get into that.

3.1 Pro users can upgrade for free. Update: 3.1 basic users get the free upgrade too! Cost to purchase is $39.95. It’s also pre-loaded on the G-STYLE/GIGABYTE TouchNote T1028 Netbooks running Windows 7 and XP. For me, the time saved with macro shortcuts and easy screen markup is worth every dime.

12 Comments

  1. GoodThings2Life

    11/05/2009 at 6:13 pm

    Sweet!

    Reply

  2. Scott

    11/06/2009 at 4:03 am

    Have you tried the highlighting and writing on pdf files? I assume you would either need Adobe professional or a pdf editor as well. Any comments/experience on this would be appreciated.

    Reply

  3. Sumocat

    11/06/2009 at 5:48 am

    Scott: the markup and highlighting is done on screenshots, not directly in the source file. The screenshots can be saved to the clipboard to be pasted into a document or as an image, or it can be sent to Evernote in png format. Annotating a PDF directly is not one of its capabilities, although you can markup screenshots of PDFs. It’s like a more flexible version of the snipping tool.

    Reply

  4. JD

    11/06/2009 at 10:05 am

    I love OneNote like you love Evernote, any chance they will support that in the future?

    And when I get my upgrade to Windows 7 (sometime this month, if HP does what they said they will), this looks like something to try. I had tried a previous version on my Toshiba (XP system) and liked it, but not quite enough for purchase. If this would lessen my keyboard use, it would be great. I have severe tendonitis in both hands and really need to lessen my typing outside of work.

    Reply

  5. Sumocat

    11/06/2009 at 10:26 am

    JD: I don’t know what, if any, plans there are for OneNote integration, but given that ritePen and Evernote are parts of the same company, I doubt that’s on the agenda (and it certainly wouldn’t be as easy for them to pull off).

    Regardless, the integration is just a matter of sending clips to Evernote. While I’m finding that to be very convenient, it only takes a couple more steps to paste clips into OneNote or any other program (perhaps using a ritePen macro to launch OneNote).

    RE: Windows 7, as I recently blogged, I jumped from XP to 7 on a Toshiba, and aside from minor driver problems, the experience has been superb. I’ve found the combination of ritePen macros and the new Tablet Input Panel make it much easier to operate without a keyboard. As much as I rely on ritePen for the macros, I still prefer the TIP for text input, even more so with the new Windows 7 design.

    Reply

  6. David Howard

    11/09/2009 at 4:46 pm

    I have been testing the the current shipping version of RitePen, and find it less helpful than the built in handwriting tools in Windows 7. The main problem is the confusing way it allows edit of misinterpreted words, and when I need to edit existing text. It is not intuitive or easy enough. Maybe I have not dug deep enough, but the Windows ink recognizer is more intuitive and helpful.

    But I do like the macro capabilities quite a bit.

    Reply

  7. Andrew Wilcox

    11/22/2009 at 3:43 am

    Tried RitePen on Windows 7 64 bit yesterday. Started to see some of the benefits but the installation messed my Windows menus some how and I had to uninstall. Theyey got into a loop and I could not move to the next item in the Start menu for instance. :( Anyone have it running on Windows 7 64bit? I might try again.

    I have been annotating PDFs on a Tablet PC for years. Print them to Journal, scribble on them in Journal, print to PDF. Annotated PDF!

    Reply

  8. Andrew Wilcox

    11/22/2009 at 3:45 am

    Whoops missed ticking the mail me box. Wish that was above the Submit comment button :)

    Reply

  9. Sumocat

    11/22/2009 at 6:40 am

    Andrew: I should have specified the problems I had with Vista were in the 64-bit version. Based on your experience, 64-bit seems to be the key element. I’ll see that the rP team gets this and see if I can’t get around to installing W7 64-bit on my media PC to test.

    Reply

  10. Chris

    11/22/2009 at 12:19 pm

    I have been using the version 3.5 trial on Windows 7 64-bit and it is not totally stable. I love the features, but eventually, it stops allowing the pen switching on and off, and then ends up in a hung delay cursor on the windows menus and taskbar. From that point it requires killing through task manager.

    Reply

  11. Sumocat

    11/22/2009 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve confirmed unfortunately that ritePen is still 32-bit only. 64-bit support is pending.

    Reply

  12. Andrew Wilcox

    11/22/2009 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you for the feedback. It’s always nice to know you are not alone. I will put RitePen on Standby.

    Reply

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