Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

For users with issues, or feature requests, on touchscreen devices.

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For users with issues, or feature requests, on touchscreen devices.

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PDF-XChange Editor, Version 5.5 Build 315.

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User4455
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Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:27 am

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a big fan of PDF-XChange Editor due to it's capabilities in handling many pdfs at the same time. Also, I appreciate that it generally supports my surface pen on my surface book V1. However, the behaviour of the software (I keep it up to date; current build is 7.0.327.1; I own a licences of the "PDF-Tools"-package) is not yet ideal, when I handle my documents "like paper", meaning I handwrite with my pen and move and zoom with my fingers. In particular, I see the following issues:

1) Generally, the software automatically recognizes the pen tip and starts inking when the tip touches the screen. The software generally switches back to the hand-tool, when I lift the pen. However, there are two cases, in which the software does not switch back. This frequently leads to accidentyll drawing an unwanted ink line with my finger. Firstly, the software does not switch back to the hand-tool when I have changed the ink-color (or type). Secondly, when I use the eraser of my pen the software does also not switch back to the hand-tool afterwards, but switches to the ink-tool. Both cases lead to colorful but annoying lines on the page (the undo-button is my friend).

This behaviour seems to me to be a bug. If not, I would appreciate an option in the preferences that basically says: Be consequent, fingers move and zoom only, pen tip writes only, eraser erases only.

2) Annotations are objects that can be selected with both my finger and the pen tip. This can be frustrating, because when trying to move (or zoom) the page, I often accidentally hit an annotation-object and then move the object instead of the page. This can become particularly annoying when I show other people my documents on my device and they start to move or zoom the page (as they are used to from their mobile phones). Because they dont know this issue, things get messy.

This behaviour seems to be a design philosophy that I suggest to overthink. Maybe an option generally protecting all annotations might help.

3) My third issue has the same origin as the second one, i.e. the annotations are objects which are selected by any input device. The problem here is, that it is practically impossible to draw a new ink-line onto any annotation that is already there. One particular use-case is that I first draw a thick line over a text of the pdf (for highlighting) and then want to underline (ink! not the underline-tool) one or two words within the higlighted passage ("double-higlighting" if you will). I have found a somewhat goofy workaround in moving the first highlighting away, drawing my underlines and moving the highligting back. However, this is annoying and also makes the behaviour less "natural". For futher illustration, a second use case is that i have handwritten on the page and later I want to add some handwritten text in close proximity, underline some of the handwritten text or something like that, i.e. modify the old handwritten object. In this case, the pen tip also selects the old object instead of drawing new lines.

I understand, that the software is not exactly a creative drawing software. However, a more natural behaviour "like paper" will facilitate paperless work in fields which still today heavily rely on paper, lawyers notably.

****

In summary, even though the software generally supports my hardware (which is great!) the behaviour of the software is not yet "natural". Therefore it requires quite some training and is still annoying at times.

Please let me know, if I have overlooked some existing options or if you are planning to adress these issues in the future.

I will be happy to provide further info, if necessary. Also, since PDF-XChange Editor is my MAIN work tool (I am a lawyer, so my job is basically to read and understand text documents), I will also gladly provide further feedback, if you can use it to improve the software.

Best regards.

***

Further keywords: stylus, tablet

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TrackerSupp-Daniel
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:30 pm

Hello User4455,

I have been unable to reproduce the first issue on my end, however for your second and third points, we have an "Exclusive mode" toggle that should help considerably. This is found on the Format toolbar of most annotations, for example, the typewriter:
DMKB18November651.png
simply click the Exclusive mode toggle and it should remain on until manually toggled off again (holding ctrl will also temporarily override it). This should allow all annotation to be placed on to of each other regardless of existing placement, as well as allow many tools, such as the hand to operate mostly independently (there will still be some cases where the hand tool interacts directly with content items).

Back to the first issue, do you have any windows or stylus settings in place that could affect this, for example, the "Ignore palm" option may have an effect, please try turning it off and on to see if the situation changes at all. Restarting the Editor each time you change these settings as well.
Daniel McIntyre
Support Technician
Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
Fax: +1 (250) 324-1623

User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:05 am

Dear Daniel,
you just made my work-life so much easier! Thank you.
I will get back to you on the first issue.

User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:40 am

Dear Daniel,
I have looked into my "Pen & Windows Ink"-settings. The ones relating to handwriting-recognition and to the pen-buttons don`t seem relevant.
The general options are: "show visual effects", "show cursor" and "Ignore touch input during use of pen" (my WIndows is german, so my translations might differ from the english version).
All three general options have been "on". I have tried toggling them "off" and restarted the Editor. It did not solve the first issue.

Any further thoughts?

Thank you.

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TrackerSupp-Daniel
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:08 pm

Hello User4455,
I am just awaiting developer input on this matter, apologies in advance for any delays.
Daniel McIntyre
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Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
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User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:38 am

Dear Daniel,
may I ask, if you are still working on this issue?

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TrackerSupp-Daniel
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:47 pm

Hello User4455,

Sorry for that, I We have still not been able to reproduce the issue on our end. When this handling is in place of course the digitizer will select the Pen tool, as desired, but when the digitizer is no longer in use it will switch back to the last selected tool. If you had selected the "pen" tool before hand, then upon removing the digitizer, it will recognize that it is already on the appropriate tool. another option is if while using the digitizer you select a different tool, then switch back to the Pen tool, the Editor still sees the Pen tool as the last one that was manually selected.

Can you confirm if this may be the case, or does this frequently happen even when you make absolutely no changes to the tools in use?
Daniel McIntyre
Support Technician
Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
Fax: +1 (250) 324-1623

User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:32 pm

Dear Daniel,
thank you for your latest reply and sorry for getting back to you so late. I hope I can better clarify my issues as follows:

I think we need to distinguish between the two cases.

A) "Changing ink color/style"
As I understand your latest reply, it is a purposive behaviour that - when lifting the surface pen - the tool-selection reverts to the previously selected tool. I have now tried this by selecting random tools and then lowering and lifting the pen. It does also switch back to the previously selected tool.
Thus, we have found the reason (though not yet a solution) for my issue. The problem now seems to be, that by changing the ink color (through right-clicking on the ink-button and selecting a style) I also (have to) select the ink-tool. Therefore, when lifting the pen, the tool selection can only go back to the previously selected tool, which is - of course - the ink-tool.
However, my problem remains: Whenever I need to change the ink-color/style, I need to reset the "previously selceted tool" to the hand-tool. This is quite annoying and I also keep forgetting this, which results in the mentioned "colorful lines" made with my finger.

Thus, I suggest overthinking the current rules on tool-selection. one approach might be to introduce a "Tablet/stylus-mode" with a clear rule such as "inking only by pen; finger always uses hand-tool" (Note that I also use a mouse for all other tools, which - admittedly - might not be the case in most tablet-use-cases). Another approach might be to introduce a strict and exclusive assignment of the pen to the ink-tool, so that the pen - and only the pen - always triggers the ink-tool.

I see that there might arise futher conflicts, but I am still of the opinion that the current behaviour severly limits the user experience.

B) "Eraser"
The surface pen - as a specialty - comprises an eraser, which seems to be supported by the Editor. When I lower the eraser-end of the pen - which is opposite of the tip - onto the screen, the Editor automatically switches to the eraser-tool. So far, so good. However, when I lift the eraser-end again, the tool-selection always switches back to the ink-tool, irrespective of which tool I had selected before. The result is - again - that I need to pay high attention to the tool-selection unless I want to have more "colorful lines".

***

Thank you for your continued support. Please let me know, if you need further input on this. I hope you can adress these issues in future updates.

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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:38 pm

Hello User4455,

I have created a bug report to keep track of this, while it is internal, you can ask for a progress update in this thread or by asking any member of our support team about ticket number:
RT#4586

I was still unable to reproduce this on my end, though have compiled your information in the ticket, and left a link to this post for our development team. If they need additional information from you, I am sure they will reach out while working on it.
For the time being, I cannot provide a timeline for this fix, especially with the inability to reproduce the issue, this may be a long term ticket. I apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime, and I sincerely hope that we can resolve this faster than expected.

Kind regards,
Daniel McIntyre
Support Technician
Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
Fax: +1 (250) 324-1623

User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:10 am

Thank you, Daniel.

I understand that both issues A) and B) might be difficult to solve, if you cannot reproduce them. I hope I was at least able to describe the issues in an understandable manner so that your developer's have a benefit from it.

How can the development team reach out to me? Should I regularly check the forum or can I somehow provide my email-adress without posting it here?

Best regards!

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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:53 pm

Hello User4455,

So long as the email address attached to your forum account is current, the dev team will likely ask me to get in contact with you when such a time comes. In that case I will both post here, and send you an email, no worries!

Have an excellent day!
Daniel McIntyre
Support Technician
Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
Fax: +1 (250) 324-1623

User4455
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by User4455 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:30 am

It is current.

Nice new look of the forum, by the way.

Cheers!

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TrackerSupp-Daniel
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Re: Issues with pen input; microsoft surface book and surface pen

Post by TrackerSupp-Daniel » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:25 pm

:D
Daniel McIntyre
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Tracker Software Products (Canada) LTD

Sales: +1 (250) 324-1621
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