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If you just got a Tablet PC or are interested in learning more about what a Tablet PC can do, you’ve picked up the right book. I won’t treat you like you’re an idiot or a dummy—just someone who is new to the Tablet PC.

With that said, I will write from the perspective that you’re not new to computers, just to Tablet PCs. If you need more help with Windows XP, please pick up the excellent book on the subject by Shelley O’Hara, Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft® Windows® XP. It can help you understand the basic operation of Windows XP, which is beyond the scope of this book.

What I will guide you through in this book are the aspects of Windows XP and hardware that are specific to the Tablet PC. In addition, I will walk you through how others use the Tablet PC, and how you can extend the capabilities of your Tablet PC through additional software and hardware.

Some Key Terms

I use the terms click and tap interchangeably, because they perform the same action in most cases. When you can do only one or the other, I use the appropriate term. Tapping with a pen selects items just like clicking a mouse button, just as double-tapping performs the same operation as double-clicking.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Because each computer can be customized to the user’s needs, I will have to make some assumptions about how you use your Tablet PC. As you see figures and the steps I take you through to perform actions, please keep in mind the following:

  • There are often several ways to perform an action. If the action you use is different from what I show, don’t think you’re doing something wrong if it works for you. I’ve tried to provide the quickest method to accomplish each task, but another way may make more sense for you.

  • Your Windows setup may look different from the one shown in the figures in this book. For example, you may be using a different background image for your desktop, or you may choose a different style for your Start Menu.

  • Your particular Tablet PC is probably different from the one I used when writing this book. Because of this, you will probably have different options and idiosyncrasies that are not covered in this book. I have tried to make most of the examples generic enough to be useful to all Tablet PC users, but there may be some differences that you need to account for.

The Basic Structure of This Book

This book is divided into seven parts, with each part being further divided into several chapters. There are also a couple appendices that list additional resources and that provide a quick reference to commonly used actions.

Part I, “What Makes the Tablet PC Special?,” is your introduction to the Tablet PC. This section covers the benefits of the Tablet PC over other computer platforms, including a general introduction (Chapter 1), comparisons of the Tablet PC to other platforms (Chapter 2), and usage scenarios that help you understand how others use the Tablet PC (Chapter 3).

Part II, “Configuring and Using Your Tablet PC,” walks you through the basic features of the Tablet PC hardware and software, helping you configure the Tablet PC for your specific needs. This section covers both the hardware configuration (Chapter 4) and operating system configuration (Chapter 5) of your Tablet PC.

Part III, “Using Included Applications,” covers Windows Journal (Chapters 6 and 7), Tablet PC Input Panel (Chapter 8), and Speech Recognition (Chapter 9), which are the primary tools that are unique to the Tablet PC. Grasping these tools will make you a power Tablet PC user.

Part IV, “Data Communication and Protection,” is a primer to wireless networking (Chapter 10) and data management and protection (Chapter 11). This section helps you protect your system from data loss and prying eyes, as well as helps you connect to wireless networks at home and during your travels.

Part V, “Using Other Included and Free Applications,” shows you how to use applications such as Sticky Notes (Chapter 12), various PowerToys that can be downloaded from Microsoft (Chapter 13), and for the lighter side, Inkball and other games such as Pool for the Tablet PC (Chapter 14).

Part VI, “Using Microsoft Office 2003 with the Tablet PC,” discusses only the aspects of Office applications that are different with the Tablet PC. Office 2003 offers excellent integration with the Tablet PC through integrated inking capabilities. Some aspects of Office XP will also be covered. The Office suite itself will be covered in Chapter 15, while Chapter 16 will deal with OneNote specifically, which is one of the killer apps for the Tablet PC.

Part VII, “Extending Your Tablet PC,” discusses add-on hardware (Chapter 17) and software (Chapter 18) that can help you get the most out of the Tablet PC. These add-ons are not free, but depending on your needs, may offer significant benefits over your base configuration.

Have a great time learning to use your Tablet PC!

Conventions Used in This Book

This book explains the essential concepts and tasks in an easily digestible format. At the beginning of each chapter is a bulleted list of In This Chapter highlights that provides you with a framework for what you are about to learn. At the end of each chapter, under the heading The Absolute Minimum, you can review the main points covered in the chapter.

In addition, several icons appear throughout the book to direct your attention to a note that provides more detailed information, a tip that can help you perform a step more efficiently, or a caution to help you steer clear of a potential problem. Following is a brief description of each icon:


Notes provide additional information about the subject matter covered in a particular section. You can safely skip these notes and still learn the basics.


Tips provide an insider’s guide to a particular concept or task. Look for the tip icon to learn useful shortcuts that show you how to perform a task more efficiently.


Cautions point out common user errors and problem areas to help you avoid the mistakes that hundreds of other users have already made. To avoid trouble and stay on the right track, read the cautions.

Let Me Know What You Think

I love to get feedback, positive and negative. If you discover some topics that I missed, or see things in the book that really struck a chord with you, please let me know. Feel free to email me at abg-tpc@TabletGuru.com. You can also find additional information and answers to questions about the Tablet PC at www.TabletGuru.com. Thanks for reading this book!

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