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Tips to improve your Graffiti recognition

Although Graffiti is fairly easy to learn, it also seems to be everyone's biggest "hurdle" when first starting to use the PalmPilot. While most people pick up the basics within a few days of starting to use Graffiti, there are some letters and characters that for some reason are hard for most people to form or remember. And for some, there are letters that give them problems months after first using the PalmPilot. In this article I will try to help you change all of that. By pointing out some of the common mistakes made when doing Graffiti and showing you some easy to learn and remember tips, I hope to be able to improve your Graffiti recognition significantly, as well as allow you to retain and perform some of those harder to remember letters and symbols.

Common mistakes
One of the most common mistakes when performing Graffiti strokes is the way that you're holding the PalmPilot. Most folks when they first start using the device, tend to hold it in the same manner as they would a small notebook, with a slight lean to one side or the other. This is something that is easily adjusted when actually writing with a pen, normally just by following the lines on the pad. However, without these lines on the Graffiti area of the PalmPilot, it is easy to draw you characters without this adjustment, in other words with a slight "slant" to them. Try to keep this in mind, and either adjust your hand or the PalmPilot to try to get the writing angle to 90 degrees. Another common error normally occurs for folks that have been using their PalmPilot for awhile, and that is to form the letters smaller than they should be. With Graffiti strokes, the larger the stroke the better. Try to take up the entire input area when you're forming your letters, of course without moving your pen outside of this area. Actually, these two go hand in hand. You can form the strokes as small as you like, but forming them larger tends to make it easier to keep them at a 90 degree angle. While it is possible to form every letter of the alphabet in a teeny little spot in the middle of the input area, you'll find it will improve things quite a bit if you use the entire entry area.

A good tool to use when trying to diagnose graffiti problems is TealEcho. This wonderful utility from TealPoint shows each stroke you do, as you're doing it. One of the problems that I was originally having is that I was overshooting the input area, a problem very obvious when looking at my strokes using TealEcho.

Difficult characters
For some reason, some characters are just more difficult to do than others. You'll try for a "C" and get an "L", or perhaps a "B" and get an "E". In Figure A through Figure G, I'll over these characters and give you some ideas on how to improve your strokes so they no longer give you a problem.

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