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With Apple's Inkwell technology having become an integral part of Mac OS X, true pen input has finally found its way back into the Mac world after Newton had been so shamelessly abandoned (sniff). However, this site is dedicated to using Macs with anything but mouse and/or keyboard.

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Ronny Slater (Dec'04)

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Apple's Inkwell, an Overview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ronny   
Tuesday, 07 June 2005
Image   Through Inkwell, ink input is available for any application that accepts text input, as long as an Inkwell compatible input device (i.e. Graphic Tablet) is connected to the computer and you have turned on handwriting recognition in the Ink pane of System Preferences. Inkwell is transparently integrated into Mac OS X and thus the Ink Preferences Pane is only available once a suitable Inkwell compatible input device is connected to the computer and an appropriate device driver has been installed.

Inkwell provides generally three different user interfaces: the Ink preferences pane, the Ink window, and the Ink writing guides.

The Ink Preference Pane

Under the Settings tab the general Inkwell parameters are set such as turning handwriting recognition on or off, choosing the language used for the recognition and others.


Inkwell provides so called Gestures, which are certain pen strokes that specify editing actions. The Gestures tab shows the list of available editing actions along with their corresponding pen strokes. When you choose an action, the gesture associated with the action is drawn in the box to the right of the action list. You can learn how to draw the more complex gestures (such as Select All) by watching the animated drawing of the gesture in the box. The description of the action appears below the gesture.


You can improve the handwriting recognition, particularly for unusual words such as technical jargon, by entering such words under the Word List tab.


The Ink Window

The Ink window appears when you turn on handwriting recognition in the Ink preferences pane. It has two areas, the Ink toolbar and the Ink pad. The Ink toolbar allows to quickly turn recognition on or off, activate Command, Shift, Option, and Control, show and hide the Ink pad and more.
The Ink pad provides an area for you to print or sketch and then insert the printed text or drawn art into a document. You can toggle between entering printed text and graphics by clicking the buttons in the lower-left of the Ink pad. The Clear button erases anything currently displayed while Send pastes the entered text or sketch into the insertion point of the currently active Mac OS X application.


The Ink Writing Guides.

The Ink writing guides also allow you to enter text into any application by simply writing just about anywhere on the screen and the recognition results flow to the insertion point in the frontmost application. The Ink writing guides look similar to a translucent piece of yellow, lined, writing paper and is positioned wherever you write. Your printed input appears in the writing guides until Ink Services applies recognition to the Ink text, at which point the Ink phrase is terminated. After the Ink text is recognized, the text appears in the application window as typed text.


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