Patches and updates

Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS

Published: January 24, 2003


ESRI has developed a set of free, downloadable tools to support Tablet PC for ArcGIS, built to the design specifications of Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Updated August 5, 2003.


ESRI has developed a set of free, downloadable tools to enhance the use of ArcGIS 8.2 and ArcGIS 8.3 on Tablet PCs. These tools are built to the design specifications of Microsoft® Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition and allow ArcGIS users to take advantage of the Tablet PC's innovative features such as pen-based computing, Digital Ink technology, and enhanced mobility functions.

ESRI has extended the ArcGIS mapping application, ArcMap, with a new toolbar that integrates Digital Ink technology with ArcGIS. Using the Tablet Toolbar, users can use the Pen tool to create notes or sketch diagrams and tie them to a geographic location. The tools can also be used to highlight features on a map, sketch shapes, and perform GIS editing tasks. Tablet also tools make use of additional ink technology such as gestures and text recognition.

Tablet Toolbar Key Functions

  • Pen tool creates new ink graphics on the map.
  • Highlighter tool draws transparent ink on the map for highlighting features.
  • Erase tool removes strokes of ink from the map display.
  • Finish Ink Sketch command creates new ink graphic elements from the ink that is being collected on the map.
  • Clear Ink Sketch command removes all ink that is being collected.
  • Add Ink To Sketch command lets ink be used to complete the current editing task (such as creating new features).
  • Recognize Ink Graphic command converts selected ink graphics written with the Pen tool into text elements.
  • Reactivate the Selected Ink Graphic command creates a new ink sketch from the selected ink graphic so it can be edited using the Pen or Highlighter tool.
  • Find Ink Graphic tool searches the map or a geodatabase for ink based on its recognized text.

Digital Ink

Digital Ink is created using either the Pen tool or the Highlighter tool. When finished collecting ink, it can either be converted to text using the text recognition engine, added to the edit sketch for completion of the current editing task, or stored as a graphic. The ArcGIS Tablet tools introduce a new type of graphic element called an ink graphic. Ink graphics are stored along with other graphic elements and text in the current graphics layer. The graphics layer can be the map's default graphics layer or an annotation layer that is stored within the geodatabase. Therefore, you can create ink inside of ArcMap and choose whether to store it in the map itself or inside the geodatabase you are editing.

System Requirements

Platform: PC-Intel
Operating System: Windows XP Tablet Edition, Windows XP Home Edition or Professional, or Windows 2000
(Note: Windows NT is not supported.)
ArcGIS Software: A working installation of ArcGIS 8.2 or ArcGIS 8.3

Files Installed

ArcGIS 8.2 Users

If installing on top of ArcGIS 8.2, the following ArcGIS files are updated:

  • Map.dll
  • Display.dll
  • AfCore.dll
  • EsriCore.olb

In addition to updating these four files, the download will add the following file into the bin directory under your ArcGIS installation location:

  • TabletPCSup.dll

ArcGIS 8.3 Users

If installing on top of ArcGIS 8.3, the following file will be added into the bin directory under your ArcGIS installation location:

  • TabletPCSup.dll

Installing Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS

Before installing
  • Make sure you have write access to your ArcGIS installation location and that no one is using any of the ArcGIS software products at the time of installation.
  • Log in as a user with administrative privileges.
  • Close all applications running on your computer.
  • Download the file TabletPC_Support.exe (10MB, self-extracting .exe format) to a location other than your ArcGIS Desktop installation location.
  • If you have a previous version of TabletPC_Support.exe, you should uninstall it before installing an updated version. You can uninstall ArcGIS Tablet PC Support from the Add or Remove Programs dialog box, which is accessed from the Windows Control Panel.
To install
  1. Locate the setup.exe file in the folder where the TabletPC_Support.exe contents were extracted.
  2. Double-click setup.exe to start the Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS installation.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the software installation.

Getting Help

To learn how to use Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS, see the Tablet PC Support Document (612kb, PDF format). This file (Tablet PC Support Document.pdf) can also be found in the Documentation folder where you extracted the contents of TabletPC_Support.exe.

Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS is provided as-is.

For more information on Tablet PC for ArcGIS visit

For more information on the Tablet PC visit the following Microsoft page,


August 5, 2003: TabletPC_Support.exe has been updated with new functionality. With this new version, ink stored in geodatabases can be searched and ink written at angles can be recognized correctly. The Find Ink Graphic dialog box has been redesigned. In addition, ink graphics also can now be flipped, rotated, and scaled interactively. Through the Ink Graphic Properties dialog box, ink graphics can be scaled and positioned by specifying a particular size and location on the map. Users who have Tablet PC installed will have to uninstall what they currently have, then download and install the updated setup.

January 24, 2003: The TabletPC_Support.exe has been updated to include files necessary for international language support. Unless international language support is required, users who previously downloaded Tablet PC Support do not need to download the new file. Users requiring international language support should contact their local distributor for more information in conjunction with downloading the new file. Users who have Tablet PC installed will have to uninstall what they currently have, then download and install the updated setup.

December 4, 2002: The TabletPC_Support.exe file has been updated with changes in anticipation of the ArcGIS 8.3 release. Previous ArcGIS 8.2 Tablet PC Support users do not need to download and install the new TabletPC_Support.exe file. ArcGIS 8.2 users who have not previously installed Tablet PC Support can download and use the newly posted TabletPC_Support.exe file along with ArcGIS 8.3 beta and final users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tablet PC Support for ArcGIS?
Tablet PC Support is a free download from ESRI that extends the ArcGIS application ArcMap with Windows XP Tablet PC Digital Ink technology.

Can I use ArcGIS on my Tablet PC without this download?
Yes. All Tablet PCs run the Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Operating System, and ArcGIS is fully supported on this platform. The download extends the ArcMap experience on a Tablet PC by supporting pen-based computing, Digital Ink technology, and enhanced mobility functions.

How does ArcMap store Digital Ink?
When Digital Ink is added to ArcMap using the Pen tool or the Highlighter tool, it is stored within the map's active graphics layer. The graphics layer may be stored within a map document or in a geodatabase as an annotation feature class.

What are gestures, and do the Tablet tools use them?
Gestures are movements on the tablet that represent a command or function. By making a gesture on the screen with the pen, the user can execute many different commands. The Pen and Highlighter tools both incorporate gestures for committal of ink sketches as well as erasure of ink strokes. In addition, using ArcObjects, users can listen to additional gesture events when programming their own ink tools.

Can I use the Tablet toolbar and Digital Ink on my desktop computer?
Yes. The install can be run on Windows XP or Windows 2000 as well as the Windows XP Tablet Edition OS. However, the ink capabilities are somewhat restricted - gestures and text recognition are only supported on Tablet PCs.

What platforms support the Tablet tools?
Tablet PC computers run on the Windows XP Tablet Edition Operating System, and the Tablet tools can be used on Tablet PCs running that OS. The Tablet tools can also be used with Windows XP and Windows 2000 but are not supported on Windows NT.

How much does Tablet PC support cost?
The Tablet tools for ArcMap are downloadable for free from the ESRI Support Web site.

Download ID:174

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options