Pages

Friday, March 21, 2008

Nokia N800 & N810: Word processing with Notes and Google Documents

Word Processing on the Nokia N800 & N810

There are two main ways to do word processing on the internet tablets: using a word processing application installed on the tablet, or using a word processing application hosted on a website.

This tutorial will look at the two easiest options: the built-in Notes application, and the online application Google Documents.


Some general hints on entering text on the N800 and N810

- You can enter text on the tablets using their on-screen keyboards (a small one for styluses, a big one for fingers), or the built-in physical keyboard of the N810, or using a wireless Bluetooth full-size keyboard. The best option for large amounts of typing is a Bluetooth keyboard as it has proper full-size keys. Click here to read our tutorial on using Bluetooth keyboards with tablets.

- You can activate the large on-screen keyboard by clicking on the text entry area and then pressing the button in the middle of the direction pad.

- Whatever application or text entry method you use, remember that you have to click on the area where you're going to enter the text, so that the cursor appears in that area.

- If you ever want to highlight text you just need to move a stylus or finger across it. See the video above for examples of this in action. If you are using the N810's built-in keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard, you can also highlight text by holding down shift and moving the cursor across the text you want to highlight.

- If you are using the N810's keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard, you can cut text by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl and X, you can copy text with Ctrl and C, and pasted text with Ctrl and V. These are the same shortcuts used on most PC applications.

- You can usually increase the size of a word processor's text entry area by pressing the tablet's "Full Screen" button on the top edge.


Notes - A simple built-in word processor

If all you want to do is write text with a little bit of formatting (fonts, font sizes, bold, underline, italic etc) then Notes is a perfectly reasonable application for that purpose.

To access it:

1. Click on the Applications icon (the green squares on the left)

2. Click on "Utilities"

3. Click on "Notes"

Click on the main view to edit text, and start typing. The icons and menus at the bottom of the screen handle most of the formatting functions and can be seen demonstrated in the video above. There's also a menu at the top of the Notes screen lablled "Notes" which contains a few more options such as text alignment and file format.

The "Notes" menu also lets you send the document by e-mail using the tablet's built-in e-mail application: click on "Notes", then "Note", then "Send", then "Via E-mail". Alternatively, you can attach the document yourself within whichever e-mail application you use.


Google Documents - An online word processor

Google Documents is significantly slower to load than Notes because it runs on Google's own servers rather than on the tablet. However, the online approach used by Google Documents can bring some significant advantages over normal word processing applications:

- It lets you use exactly the same word processor on your PC and tablet.

- Because Google Documents stores your files online, it doesn't matter which computer you access your Google Docs account from, the same set of documents will always be visible and up-to-date.

- It lets several people collaborate on a single document, by giving each other permission to access the same file within the application.

- You can publish documents online instantly through Google Documents, either as a web page or as an entry on a blog.

You access Google Documents on the tablets just like you do on a PC, by opening a new web browser window (from the globe icon on the left) and visiting the address docs.google.com You can access it using your Gmail username and password, or you can register as a new user if you don't use Gmail.

To start a new document, click on the "New" menu on the left of the screen and select "Document", which will open in a new window. To edit an existing document, simply click on its title on the page you see when you log in to Google Documents.

Google Documents automatically saves documents while you're working on them, and even automatically names them using the first line of text that you type. If you want to manually save the file, click on the grey "File" button on the left of the screen and select "Save".

As you may have noticed if you've tried it, Google Documents is far more advanced and complex than Notes, so if you find yourself confused it's worth paying a visit to their Help section, by clicking on "Help" in the top right hand corner of the screen.