Like many web workers, I take a lot of notes in client meetings and on phone calls, but have yet to leave my yellow legal pads behind despite being a longtime Microsoft OneNote and Evernote user. The biggest reasons are that I am a slow typist, my notes have a lot of diagrams, and I’ve yet to find a tool that works well enough to bridge the gap from my yellow legal pad to one of my PCs.
Capturx for Microsoft OneNote 2007 2.0 is a digital pen product from Adapx that offers tight integration with OneNote 2007, with a suggested retail price of $349. The pen includes a docking station with a USB cable and software. Adapx kindly loaned me a trial unit so I’ve had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the product, putting it through its paces in various note-taking scenarios, and came away impressed with it. The pen is a bit chunkier than normal ink pens but still felt comfortable in my hand. It runs on a lithium-ion battery which you can recharge by placing it in its docking station.
OneNote is a great integration choice for this product, because of the searching and organizational tools it provides for your notes. You can also use it as a jumping-off point for transferring your notes into Microsoft Word 2007 or PowerPoint 2007.
Using the Capturx Digital Pen and Notebook
Capturx requires OneNote 2007, and either 32-bit Windows Vista or Windows 7. Like other digital pens out on the market, Capturx works with a special paper that you can purchase directly from Adapx or print out yourself. The software enables you to print the paper directly from Capturx to a four-color PostScript laser printer.
For purposes of my review, I used one of Adapx’s digital notebooks with the pen. The notebooks resemble a loose leaf binder but the paper inside is a bit thicker and glossier than normal notebook paper. I brought my poor penmanship along and started taking notes in the provided notebook and on some of the paper printed from my printer. Downloading my notes was as simple as docking the pen in the included dock.
Once you dock your pen to download your notes, Capturx prompts you to name the notebook, or choose a notebook for your notes. Your notes then appear in OneNote:
Choose Tools -> Convert Handwriting to Text and your handwriting is converted to text:
While I’m not going to say that the conversion was always perfect during my testing, even with my poor penmanship the conversion left me with enough to work with. I could easily see myself taking the Capturx digital pen to a client meeting for taking notes and getting enough out of the conversion to start a technical document after making some edits to the converted text. My handwritten notes have become a bit chunkier and boxier over the years, so I don’t write using cursive script, but I still found myself paying a little more attention to how I formed my letters, which seemed to help in how the software understood my handwritten notes.
While you can’t convert your hand-drawn diagrams for use in a tool like Visio, I did like the way I could archive the diagrams in OneNote for searching later. This would help me stay more organized and give me another reason to move past the old-school yellow legal pads that I use for taking notes.
If you’re like me and looking to better bridge the gap between your handwritten notes and your PC but have been hesitant about digital pen technologies, I recommend checking out Capturx for Microsoft OneNote 2007 2.0.
I give it high marks for its tight integration with OneNote and handwriting recognition that even worked with my poor penmanship. I can envision myself using this tool to digitize my own notes from client meetings and doing away with unnecessary transcription of my handwritten notes or having to retain paper notes, and avoiding the ever-embarrassing situation of not understanding my own notes a week or two after the call or meeting.
Have you tried out Capturx for Microsoft OneNote 2007 2.0, or other digital pen? How did it work for you?