PenCommander 2.0 Software Review

by Reads (7,647)

Phatware recently released PenCommander 2.0 for Tablet PCs and UMPCs. This updated version of PenCommander offers many new features such as new PenCommander skins and it’s enhanced for Vista. I tested out the program on my Asus R1F and it worked great. The software is easy to use and it downloaded in minutes.

For those of you unfamiliar with PenCommander, it is a program that allows you to use your pen to call up commands that can control your computer in almost limitless ways, such as editing documents, inserting often-repeated text into documents, launching applications and much more.

The PenCommander Skins dialog box lets you choose your own skin and "The Fish" is one of my favorite.

Choosing your own skin isn’t the only thing PenCommander 2.0 lets you personalize. In fact you can create your own PenCommands for things you use frequently like "ie" to open Internet Explorer or "wp" to open WordPad. This is great because it opens the application in seconds. You can create PenCommands for pretty much anything or assign gestures for shapes. The nice thing is PenCommander already comes with some basic preset commands, which saves time.

Your basic PenCommander skin with "wp" written on it to open WordPad.

PenCommander opens WordPad in just a few seconds.

It may take the normal user a while to create their own PenCommands, so it is a good thing PenCommander 2.0 comes with some pre-installed. It already knows "mail" to open your email or "pp" to open PowerPoint and many more. Under the help directory the normal user can get directions on how to use PenCommands, change settings or just information on all PenCommander 2.0 offers. This is a helpful tool for anyone, especially if you have never used the program before.

Another helpful tool in PenCommander is the Assign Gestures dialog box, which lets you enable gestures to create perfect shapes like circles or triangles and it lets you do this with one stroke of the pen. When enabling gestures remember your handwriting style and PenCommand names because if you print and the Circle gesture is enabled, it will be difficult to execute PenCommands that start with the letter O. You also have to keep the pen down until you are finished writing the command because if you pick the pen up, the command stops. It is a little tricky to get used to, especially if your handwriting looks like scribbles, like mine.

The Assign Gestures dialog box where you can assign key shortcuts or PenCommands.

PenCommander is not only for launching applications either. You can use it to edit documents, insert text or to insert your signature, time and date. This is a great feature because it saves time. All you have to do is write "date" to insert date, or program in your signature to insert your name and once you write that in the PenCommand box it adds the text into your document. You don’t have to stop typing or click on the toolbar to bold or italicize words anymore and these editing functions work in many programs like Word, Excel and WordPad. This is nice for Tablet users who are busy reviewing multiple documents or creating proposals.

Just write in bold and your selected text becomes bold.

The text selected is now bold and it was that simple.

I know that some users would say well it takes no time to bold words or edit text the standard way by using the toolbar, but for users who enjoy using their pen and Tablet functions this works great. The PenCommand box lets you open WordPad and take down notes or edit with your pen in seconds. It’s like multi-tasking all at once.


PenCommander 2.0 has many new features that are great for Tablet users like the alternative handwriting recognition engine to recognize PenCommands, the ability to assign PenCommands and keyboard shortcuts to single-stroke gestures and a personal favorite, the ability to change the transparency of the input panel window. No one wants the PenCommand box taking up space on their screen and this new transparency feature takes care of that. The Assign Gestures box is hard to get used to and it can be difficult to set up your own PenCommands, but that is why there are instructions. Once you get used to how the software is set-up, you will be able to personalize your settings, but at least PenCommander already has some predefined PenCommands if you don’t need all the extras.


  • Ability to change transparency on input window
  • Over 50 predefined PenCommands already installed
  • Launches programs in seconds
  • Can choose your own PenCommander skin


  • Can be difficult to customize your own PenCommands
  • Have to get used to writing a certain way when you assign gestures

PenCommander 2.0 is available now and it normally sells for $29.95, but for a limited time you can get it for $19.95. Registered users of previous versions of PhatPad can upgrade the product at no cost. For more information click here.




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