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Ink: Your Mac's Keyboard Alternative

TMO Quick Tip - Ink: Your Mac's Keyboard Alternative

by , 7:30 AM EST, December 8th, 2006

There's more than one way to get information into your Mac, and if you have a graphics tablet, you have an alternative to typing on your keyboard. That alternative comes in the form of the Ink technology that's built into Mac OS X. Ink lets you write words as if you were using your keyboard, and you can use it to draw pictures, too.

Here's how to activate Ink:

  • Make sure your graphics tablet is connected to your Mac.
  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences to launch the System Preferences application.

  • Turn handwriting recognition on to activate Ink.
  • Select the Ink Preference Pane. If your tablet isn't plugged in, the Ink icon won't be visible.
  • Find the Handwriting recognition is option, and click the On radio button.


Click Ink's tablet button to display the writing area.

Activating handwriting recognition displays the Ink floating window. Whenever you want to enter text of drawing with your tablet, click the paper tablet icon in the Ink window. The A button in the lower left corner lets you enter text. The star button lets you draw. Clicking the Send button copies what ever you write or draw into the active application.


I can write or draw with Ink...

I sometimes use Ink instead of typing in iChat. It's also an easy way to send someone a quick drawing, diagram, or map in a chat. Just draw your picture, and click the Send button. Your image loads into the active chat session.


...and send my handiwork as a chat message.

Typing is certainly faster than writing with Ink, but it is a nice alternative when you need to give your fingers a break from the keyboard.


Jeff Gamet is TMO's Morning Editor and Reviews Editor. He lectures, teaches and speaks on Mac OS X and design-related topics, and is the author of The Designer's Guide to Mac OS X from Peachpit Press.

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