Turn Your Mac’s Trackpad into a Tablet with Inklet

Have you ever wanted to use your Mac’s trackpad for something other than navigating your Mac? Mac OS X has handwriting recognition built into it, so you’d think that you’d already be able to use the trackpad much like you would a tablet.

Luckily, if you want to handwrite or sketch on your Mac’s trackpad, you can do so via an app called Inklet. It turns your trackpad into a pen tablet.

When used in conjunction with the Pogo Sketch, a writing tool (stylus) by The One Design, your trackpad will even become pressure sensitive. It also includes an advanced algorithm which helps prevent unwanted marks from appearing on your palm. This means that you can confidently rest your palm on the trackpad while writing or sketching.

Best of all, Inklet works with all your favorite programs like: Pixelmator, Aperture 3, Lightroom, Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator CS4, Word ’08, and more. If you’re ready to get started, here’s how this awesome application works.

1. You can choose to download the free version or full version of  Inklet. Even though you can use the free version for as long as you’d like, you’re limited to the amount of time the application runs (we’ll discuss this below). The full version is of course, unlimited. Once you download the file, unzip it and drag the app to your Applications folder.

The Inklet Welcome screen introduces you to the app.

2. When you run the application, you’ll see the Welcome screen. You can choose to watch the Inklet introduction video, and you may also want to uncheck the “show this message on startup” option.

3. You’ll also notice the Inklet icon in your menu bar. From the menu you can: start Inklet, set a workspace, check for updates, get help, send feedback, view the preferences, and of course quit the application.

4. Once you click “OK” on the Welcome screen, you can start using Inklet. 

Note: You can use Inklet even if you don’t have a Pogo Sketch. You’ll just need to select “finger” as your drawing tool in preferences.

You’ll definitely want to customize Inklet’s preferences before using it for the first time (menu bar icon -> preferences). There are four tabs in preferences: general, drawing, navigation, and register.

1. In the General tab you can change Inklet’s hotkeys. There’s also an option that you can enable, which lets you tap the top left corner of your trackpad to start Inklet. You can also enable Mac OS X Handwriting Recognition here.

Inklet General Preferences

2. In the Drawing tab, you can customize your inking, workspace, and palm rejection. It’s pretty self-explanatory; you can choose when to start inking (with pressure or using the space bar). You can also let Inklet know if you’re right-handed or left-handed.

Inklet Drawing Preferences

Make sure to choose “finger” as your drawing tool (if you don’t have a Pogo Sketch).

3. In the Navigation tab, you can enable advanced jitter reduction. Just know that it can decrease drawing accuracy, so you may want to leave it disabled.

4. The Register tab is for those using the free version of Inklet. Once you buy the full version, you’ll need to paste your activation code here.

Now it’s time to start using Inklet. You’ll probably want to set a workspace first, which will define the area where you can write or sketch.

1. Choose “Set Workspace” from the menu bar icon or use the keyboard shortcut.

2. Drag your mouse to select an area on your screen for your workspace. Note: You can use pinch and rotate gestures to resize your workspace once Inklet has started – if you’ve kept the option enabled in preferences.

3. When you’re done, you can start Inklet via the menu bar, keyboard shortcut, or by tapping the top left corner of your trackpad (if you’ve enabled it in preferences).

A simple sketch made with Inklet.

4. Your workspace will be displayed on your screen, and you can begin writing or sketching. If you’re using the free version, you’ll see a timer on the screen as well. Once the timer runs out (120 seconds), so will Inklet. Don’t worry, Inklet will resume in 20 seconds. You can only use Inklet for 2 minutes at a time, and you’ll get a 20 second break in between.

5. If you’ve kept the option enabled in settings, you can move your workspace around by using two fingers; just place two fingers on the trackpad (while in the workspace) and drag it wherever you’d like.

6. To close out Inklet, tap on the top left corner of your trackpad and the workspace will disappear.

I definitely think that Inklet is a great application, and I’m even thinking of purchasing the Pogo Sketch stylus for my Mac’s trackpad – it looks very useful.

What are your thoughts on Inklet? Are you currently using it or a similar writing app on your Mac?