Earlier this week, I met with representatives of Microsoft's Tablet PC development team. I'll have more on that meeting in a future column, but in the meantime, I want to pass on a tip. It's a weird tip, but I'm told it works.

Handwriting recognition is one of the Tablet PC's core features. A proper dictionary is crucial to the success of handwriting recognition (or any other kind of recognition). If you write a word that isn't in the Tablet PC dictionary, the Tablet PC won't recognize it. Instead, the device will use what its dictionary does contain to take a best guess at the word. This flaw is irritating at best, and for users in medical or technical fields that use special vocabularies, it can render the recognizer essentially useless.

Fortunately, a workaround exists. The Tablet PC folks have evidently borrowed some of their technology from Microsoft Word. For speech recognition, the Tablet PC recognizer uses the same dictionary that Word uses. So, if you install the speech-recognition feature in Word, which lets you extend its dictionary, you automatically obtain the ability to expand the Tablet PC dictionary.