PenInputPanel Sample

PenInputPanel Sample

PenInputPanel Sample

Description of the PenInputPanel sample for the Tablet PC.

This sample builds on the Auto Claims Form sample by integrating the PenInputPanel object. The sample is in the C# PIPanel directory in the AutoClaims folder.

Note: This sample requires that your system is equipped with a pen device. If you are using just a mouse (or other non-HID pointing device) the PenInputPanel does not appear.

For more information about the Auto Claims Form sample, see Auto Claims Form Sample. For more information about the PenInputPanel object, see Programming the Input Panel Using the PenInputPanel Class.

In the sample, the Auto Claims Form contains five fields into which the user is asked to put information relevant to the claim: policy number, insured name, the year, make, and model of the car. A PenInputPanel object is attached to each input field to provide an easy means for entering values with a pen.

There are two techniques for attaching a PenInputPanel object to the input fields on your form. The first technique is to assign a separate instance of the object to each input field at design time. This sample demonstrates both techniques. The second is to create a single instance of the object and then attach that object instance at run time to a field when it receives focus.

There are tradeoffs involved in deciding which technique to use. Creating a unique instance of the object for each form field requires slightly more memory when the form is loaded. However, it saves having to handle focus events for the fields to assign a single instance to the current field at run time.

Because the PenInputPanel object is supported only on a Tablet PC device, the sample creates the PenInputPanel objects within an exception-handling block.

One Object per Field

The sample demonstrates the first technique (one PenInputPanel object per field) by assigning the input fields for policy number (inkEdPolicyNumber) and insured name (inkEdName) a unique instance of the PenInputPanel object. An overloaded constructor for the PenInputPanel object can take the name of the input control as an argument, thus associating the controls. The following lines from the form's Load Leave Site event handler show this:

pipPolicyNumber = new PenInputPanel(inkEdPolicyNumber);
pipName = new PenInputPanel(inkEdName);

One Object per Form

The second technique is also shown in the sample: a single instance of a PenInputPanel object, pipShared, is shared between the Year, Make, and Model input fields. The shared object is created using the default constructor.

pipShared = new PenInputPanel();

Using this technique requires that your form have only a single instance of the PenInputPanel object. This saves memory, but you must add code to handle the event when an input field receives focus. When a control that uses a shared instance of a PenInputPanel object gets focus, set the object's AttachedEditControl property to that control. The following code shows an event handler for the Year, Make and Model fields Enter Leave Site event.

private void inkEdYear_Enter(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    // Attach the shared PenInputPanel to the Year field
    pipShared.AttachedEditControl = inkEdYear;

    // set the NUMBER factoid to bias recognition for numbers
    pipShared.Factoid = "NUMBER";

    // Enable correction UI on the inkEdYear field

private void inkEdMake_Enter(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    // Attach the shared PenInputPanel to the Make field
    pipShared.AttachedEditControl = inkEdMake;

    // reset the factoid to bias recognition for general text
    pipShared.Factoid = "DEFAULT";

    // Enable correction UI on the inkEdMake field
private void inkEdModel_Enter(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    // Attach the shared PenInputPanel to the Model field
    pipShared.AttachedEditControl = inkEdModel;

    // reset the factoid to bias recognition for general text
    pipShared.Factoid = "DEFAULT";

    // Enable correction UI on the inkEdModel field

Be sure to set any properties that need to be set when focus changes to a new control. In the event handlers above, for example, the Factoid property is set as appropriate.

Usability Considerations

Keep the following usability considerations in mind when using the PenInputPanel object in your application.

Positioning the PenInputPanel

Because the fields are laid out vertically on the form in this sample, the PenInputPanel user interface for each input control is positioned slightly to the right of the input control to make it easier to use. This prevents the PenInputPanel from covering up the next edit box, making it easier to target the next edit box.

pipShared.HorizontalOffset = 32;
pipPolicyNumber.HorizontalOffset = 32;
pipName.HorizontalOffset = 32;

Selecting Input Panel to Display

Because policy numbers are often combinations of numbers, letters, and other characters, they can be prone to recognition errors. Therefore, the sample sets the default panel displayed by the PenInputPanel object to be the keyboard when it is attached to the policy number field.

pipPolicyNumber.DefaultPanel = PanelType.Keyboard;

The default behavior of the PenInputPanel object is to use the panel the user selected last.

Text Services Framework Correction User Interface

In this sample all of the input fields are InkEdit controls. This is significant because the InkEdit control has built-in support for the Text Services Framework (TSF) and is thus capable of supporting the in-place correction user interface for input received from the PenInputPanel object.

The default value for EnableTsf is True. This causes the PenInputPanel object to attempt to start the Text Services Framework (TSF) on the attached control. If successful, the correction user interface shows in the control, and it allows access to handwriting alternates. Calling this method with a False parameter attempts to shut down TSF on the attached control.

The InkEdit control already provides a correction user interface, but in the sample EnableTsf is used to enable the PenInputPanel to use the TSF insertion context rather than SendInput Function Leave Site to send the handwriting recognition results into the control. The result is that text can be inserted even if the field no longer has focus.


For more information about the TSF, see the MSDN Library Leave Site.

Closing the Form

In the Windows Form Designer generated code, the InkEdit and InkPicture controls are added to the form's component list when the form is initialized. When the form closes, the InkEdit and InkPicture controls are disposed, as well as the other components of the form, by the form's Dispose Leave Site method. The form's Dispose Leave Site method also disposes the Ink objects that are created for the form.

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