Notes on Surface

by Volker Weber


This isn't staged. This is real. As I was attending TEDxFrankfurt yesterday I decided to take notes on Microsoft Surface with OneNote and Surface Pen. Handwritten notes. Usually I type everything because I am lazy. Why write something down twice ...

Writing on Surface with the pen felt very natural. And very helpful: as you press a button, you can erase stuff from your notes. After just a few minutes this works automatically. I now find myself trying to erase stuff on paper with the same pen I wrote it with. ;-)


As you can see my handwriting is terrible. But I can read it. That's the only thing that counts.

These are handwritten notes on plain paper. OneNote can add lines or a grid if that helps you. Of course you can also annotate PDF files. If you are following a lecture this will help you to add your notes to a script. Writing with Pen on Surface is not the same as a stylus on an iPad. It feels way more natural.

Editor-so-refuses-to-give-it-back. Until I get the call. You KNOW you want to buy one. :-)


You really make me want to buy one for myself!! :)

Ingo Seifert, 2015-06-12

Exactly, Ingo. Already stop it, Volker ;) ;)

Hubert Stettner, 2015-06-12

I believe that it will let you convert handwritten notes into typed text as well

David Guillaume, 2015-06-12

David, it will. But not my handwriting. That's "encrypted". ;-)

Volker Weber, 2015-06-12

The fact that handwritten notes on a tablet are useful came to me first on my Newton 2000. After that it took more than 10 years until a modern device found it's way to me (HTC Scribe). After Samsung relesed the Galaxy Note 10.1 I had to switch and until now I'm still on the 2014 edition of it. Taking all notes during the day on it. No more paper! And if one draws any overview or diagram during a meeting the others have it in seconds via mail.

And as side effect my handwriting got better over the time again.

Some people always ask about character recognition but at least I had never the need to convert my notes to plain text.

Finally if there would be a Surface with LTE and a Pen it would be definetly mine. ;-)

Sven Semel, 2015-06-12

Sven, you can save up. There will be.

Ingo and Hubert, try to find the hidden subliminal message.

Volker Weber, 2015-06-12

I totally agree with you. But one question. Where are grid lines and annotating PDFs hidden? As a long time Evernote user Onenote and I are not close friend up to now...

Richard Kaufmann, 2015-06-12

You know that you are really getting old if you thought that vowe was going to write about IBM (Lotus) Notes on a (Microsoft) Surface device.

Unfortunately I can only read my handwriting for a short period of time, then it automatically becomes "encrypted".

Great to see how Microsoft has (imho) decluttered their interface too.

Henning Heinz, 2015-06-12

OneNote is a super handy tool. I use it as a repository for all kinds of email, web, files and other data - you know, like I used to do with Notes. And it's all in one place & easy to search & be accessed locally on my phone or any of my devices.

Funny - I find that I can type faster than write by hand now.

Amy Blumenfield, 2015-06-12

I'm with Amy on both points. I type so much faster than I write that my SP3's pen has only been used as a novelty. And OneNote has become my One Ring To Rule Them All. Having all of that content available at all times on all of my devices has changed the way I work fundamentally.

Rob McDonagh, 2015-06-12

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