Top 10 S Pen tips and tricks for the GALAXY Note 8.0
12th Aug 2013 | 14:21
Get the most out the S Pen with renaissance-inspired advice
If Leonardo da Vinci had ever got his hands on a Samsung GALAXY Note 8.0 tablet, S Pen in tow, just imagine the kind of magic he would have been able to create.
The GALAXY Note 8.0 would have been as perfect a platform to create on then as it is now – provided (to add the obvious disclaimer here) that Leonardo was also able to fashion a means of charging his futuristic tablet, and learn its secrets, of course.
We can't help with the former, mainly due to our lack of time travel capacity, but we can help you out a little with the latter – after all, understanding secrets is what our feature is all about.
Tip 1 – Popup Note on the GALAXY Note 8.0
Named extremely appropriately, this great Note 8.0 feature opens a Post-it like Popup Note for your scribing pleasure.
Occupying the centre of your screen, whether you need to sketch your own Vitruvian Man or jot down a quick number, the Popup Note gives you a fair amount of space as well as a few brush and colour options to choose from, saving your doodle directly to your Note 8.0.
Opening up a Popup Note is as simple as holding down the S Pen button and double tapping the display. Alternatively, you can change your Note 8.0's S Pen settings to bring up a Popup Note every time you extract the S Pen from its moorings.
So whether you're a tech-genius or technophobe, gone are the days of scouring for a scrunched up bit of paper to take down a quick note.
Tip 2 – S Note Basics
If you're feeling more in the mood for a masterpiece than a quick sketch, Popup Note probably won't cut the mustard, but S Note will.
In its most basic form, S Note is a means of storing multiple digital notes and notebooks. Taking full advantage of the Samsung GALAXY Note 8.0's feature set, it also incorporates pressure sensitivity when using the S Pen.
The notes are heavily customisable, with multiple paper stocks, the ability to import images and a range of pens and brushes to choose from, so they are ideal for handwriting and sketching alike.
S Note is your stationery shop, your note pad and entire back catalogue of notebooks, all cleverly bundled together into a single app.
Tip 3 – S Note Advanced
The sheer number of things that S Note is capable of mean it's worth taking the time for a more in-depth look at the app.
We mentioned the range of brushes and colours, but you can also save your favourite pen or brush profiles, complete with thickness, opacity and colour. Pressing the S Pen button in S Note while hovering over the screen will even toggle through these brush profiles.
While picking your brushstroke colour is easy using the brush menu, the eye dropper tool lets you easily lift a colour from within the note, whether it's found within an imported image, or a brush stroke you created earlier, so you can always choose the perfect shade.
Shape Match even turns your rough lines and circles into perfect geometric markings, meaning that this app isn't just for notes and sketches, but is also perfect for basic technical drawings.
With Idea Sketch also providing incredibly smart clip art, an equation solving function and more, we're only scratching the surface, so the best advanced tip we can give you for S Note is simply to explore it for yourself.
Tip 4 – Pressure Sensitivity
Samsung's GALAXY Note 8.0 is pressure sensitive up to 1024 levels. This is the same degree of sensitivity modern-day da Vincis use when creating digital masterpieces on Wacom tablets.
This means the harder you press your S Pen on to the screen, the thicker the brush stroke in S Note will be, turning simple markings into nuanced sketches.
Pressure sensitivity even makes handwriting more legible and delivers a digital experience that feels instantly familiar.
Tip 5 – Air View
Air View on the GALAXY Note 8.0 registers when the S Pen hovers above the screen, opening up some powerful functionality in the process.
When in the Email application for example, hover over your messages to pop up a preview of the message body.
Plus, for us, one of the coolest uses of Air View using the S Pen is the preview feature within the Video Player, with a specific frame from your movie appearing above the timeline when you hover over that point in the video with the S Pen. You can then tap with the S Pen to jump straight to that scene.
Tip 6 – S Pen Settings
One of the first things you will want to do before you get to work on S Note is to set up your Note 8.0's basic S Pen settings.
Firstly, select whether or not you want an S Pen attach/detach sound effect to emanate from your Note 8.0 when you pull the S Pen out, or slot it back into the comfort of its home just underneath the bottom right corner of your display. A small detail, seemingly, but one which is still hugely pleasurable after you've pulled the S Pen from its housing hundreds of times!
Secondly, select whether or not you want a Popup Note to, err, pop up, every time you extract the S Pen from its home. This will depend on how you want to use the S Pen. If, for example, you want to use it for making quick shopping lists and notes on the go, this option is a godsend.
You can also select the 'Battery saving' option, to disable S Pen detection, for those long business trips or holiday journeys when you need to do everything you can to preserve vital battery power. Plus, you can choose whether or not you want to switch Air View and 'sound and haptic feedback' on or off for S Pen use.
Tip 7 – Handwriting Recognition
Many phones, PDAs and tablets have claimed they've cracked the world of handwriting recognition, but the reality is that virtually everyone is still using a QWERTY keyboard to input digital text.
The Samsung GALAXY Note 8.0 might just convince you to make the switch, however, with handwriting recognition and S Pen input that both feels intuitive and is accurate to boot.
Now, all that's left to do is write. Preferably something clever, witty, incisive and clearly indicative of your genius…
Tip 8 – Easy Clip
Having mentioned the S Pen button in passing, now it's taking centre stage.
Naturally residing underneath the index finger on the S Pen itself, it's easy to press thanks to its comfortable size and sensitive click feedback.
And the S Pen's best feature in our eyes? Easy Clip. Simply draw around any area of the interface with the S Pen button held down and whatever you draw around will be clipped, ready for editing, sharing or simply scrapbooking.
Tip 9 – S Pen Gestures
We've already mentioned a few of the most common S Pen Gestures that you will soon learn on the Note 8.0, with the handy settings menu showing you all you need to know.
For example, to 'Open menu' simply draw the '^' caret symbol while pressing the S Pen button or to open a Popup Note double tap the screen while pressing the S Pen button (as illustrated above).
Additionally, to go back to your previous screen draw a '<' less-than arrow while pressing the S Pen button and to copy text press and hold the S Pen button and drag the pen across the text you want to grab.
Tip 10 – Quick Commands
Last, but in no way least, our final top tip for getting the most out of the S Pen on the GALAXY Note 8.0 is to teach yourself to use Quick Command.
Quick Command is easily accessible with a vertical swipe up with the S Pen, made while holding the button down. This brings up a canvas upon which to draw a symbol.
These symbols give you super-quick ways to search the web, call a contact, send an email or message anyone in your contacts book using simple gestures and handwriting.
There are pre-defined Quick Commands built in to your GALAXY Note 8.0, and you can even create your own Quick Commands, making up a gesture to open a frequently-used app or change your profile.