Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

In addition to the pen-specific services that are available to application developers, you should be aware of how the Microsoft® Windows® XP operating system is extended for pen usage in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. In this release of Windows, fundamental behaviors of some standard controls have been tuned to work better in a pen-based environment.

First, the Windows shell has been extended to take advantage of the user handedness settings in Tablet and Pen Settings in Control Panel. In previous versions of Windows, menus and ToolTips always appeared in the same relative place on the screen. However, for a pen-based system, these dynamic user interface elements must appear where the user can see them, not under the hand that is holding the pen.

Therefore, screen elements now appear on the side of the control opposite the user's primary hand. Left-handed users continue to see the behavior as it is today—ToolTips and menus appear to the right of the mouse cursor or the active menu title.

ToolTip for Left-Handed User

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Menu for Left-Handed User

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However, right-handed users also see these on-screen objects appearing opposite their pen hand.

Note: This means that the default configuration gives users a different experience than Windows does on a computer that does not consider handedness.

ToolTip for Right-Handed User

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Menu for Right-Handed User

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If your application uses the standard Windows common controls from Comctl32.dll, it automatically inherits these new behaviors. If your application uses custom toolbars and menus, the application should check the handedness setting of the current user and change the pop-up behavior of these elements appropriately. For more information about Windows common controls, see Common Controls Leave Site in the MSDN® Library.

The second set of changes to the shell concerns the difficulty of using the pen as a precision pointing device. It is much harder to hold a pen over a single pixel than to hold a mouse over a single pixel. Therefore, ToolTips should appear after the pen hovers over a small region of pixels instead of a single pixel. Similarly, a double-tap gesture does not need to take place on the exact same pixel, but allowance should be made to have two taps within a few pixels of each other during the double-click timeout. In addition, if you are using Comctl32.DLL for toolbar buttons, ToolTips should appear if the cursor hovers anywhere over the entire button, rather than only over a single pixel within the button.

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