For some users, the digital pen in the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet is the main reason they purchased the device. Not only is the S Pen powerful, but it’s
a much more efficient means of interacting with the supported apps on the
device. I’ve
already covered some basic smartphone usage of the S Pen (such as Quick Commands) in my
post “
Samsung Galaxy Note II S Pen tips and tricks,” but a lot of that information still applies to the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet.

This time around, I’ll focus on using the S Pen with
the Calendar, browser, and image clipping tool. 

Using the S Pen with the Calendar
and browser

When you pull out your S Pen, the Shortcuts Toolbar will appear
in the right edge of your home screen (Figure
). From there, you can quickly launch the Calendar.

Figure A

The Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Note tablet
showing the Shortcuts Toolbar.

You can also get to the S Pen settings from here by tapping
the settings icon (a gear shift with a pen) on the bottom of the Shortcuts Toolbar. There are no
settings that effect the Calendar.

From within the Calendar, tap the plus sign [+] to
reveal a new appointment window. When the new window first appears, there’s no
sign of the S Pen functionality. Just like with the keyboard, the handwriting
screen doesn’t appear until you actually tap a location that requires data (Figure B). One nice thing about the Note
is that the system will recognize if you tap with your finger or your S Pen. If
you tap a text area in the Calendar with your finger, the keyboard will open.
If you tap with the S Pen, the handwriting window will open.

Figure B

The Galaxy Note handwriting window.

There are two really important “tricks” involved
here. First, if you normally write in cursive, you might consider printing, because the Note handwriting recognition has a much easier time with
that style of handwriting (unless your cursive is outstanding). Second, you’ll notice the button that allows you to switch between alpha and numeric
characters. While you can get the handwriting to recognize numbers when in
alpha mode, it’s far from ideal. Make sure you switch between the two as

Once you have the handwriting window open, long-press the microphone button and then tap the settings button. From that settings window, tap on the Handwriting entry to reveal these settings (Figure C).

Figure C

These effect handwriting across the board
on the Galaxy Note tablet.

You can select the handwriting recognition time, the
thickness of the S Pen, recognition type, and more. I highly recommend that you leave
the defaults set. However, there are instances where you might want to change the
recognition time. For example, if you find that you’re finishing letters and moving onto the next before the
system can recognize what you’ve written, configure the setting for a faster
recognition time.

The same usage holds true with the browser. Open up the
built-in Android browser, tap the address bar, and handwrite the address. You’ll see the same handwriting recognition window as you did with the Calendar.

Image clipping

One very handy feature of the Galaxy Note tablet is the S Pen
ability to clip images. What this feature does is allow you to draw a shape on
the screen and copy whatever image is within the shape to the clipboard. That
clipped image can then be added to notes or whatever you need. Just follow these steps.

  1. Open the window you want to clip the image from
  2. Press the S Pen button (on the shaft of the pen)
  3. Draw the shape around the portion of the image to be
    clipped (make sure to end at the same spot you began — there will be a small
    circle denoting that spot)
  4. Select from one of the options given (S Note,
    Scrapbook, Email, Amazon Send to Kindle, Bluetooth — the options will vary,
    depending on what you have installed)

If you don’t select an application to send the image to, the
clip will appear as an image in your Gallery (you can then send it via the
standard sharing methods). Once you’ve added the clip to an app (Figure D), you can move it, resize it,
and more (depending on the application you’ve added it to).

Figure D

I’ve added a clip into an S Note.

Anyone who has used the S Pen knows that it’s powerful.
You can enter text on the tablet easier and faster, plus it’s a handy way to grab portions of images from the screen. If you’re
undecided about which tablet to purchase, I highly recommend going for
one with a digital pen. Your mobile life will thank you for it.

Do you have other S Pen tips and tricks up your sleeve? Share them in the discussion thread below.