One of the challenges I've been facing while using the Smartboard this year is finding an effective way to get Hebrew into Notebook. The system I developed works for me, though it is somewhat cumbersome, but a number of people who downloaded my files have told me that they can't read the Hebrew--it's coming out as gibberish.
So this past week I finally got around to exploring different ways to get Hebrew into Notebook to see if I can come up with a universal method that works on everyone's computer.
There are a number of different scenarios where a user would put Hebrew in Notebook. Most often, I'm copying in sections of pesukim, midrashim, gemara, etc. In that case I'll be cutting and pasting from another source. Turning Hebrew support on or off does not seem to affect this. In fact, I find if I have Hebrew turned on when I use Davka (I have version 4), it seems to mess it up, so I've been primarily working with Hebrew support turned off.
The drawback is that I need to go through two steps to get the Hebrew into Notebook: copy from Davka, paste into Microsoft Word, then copy from Word and paste into Notebook. If I skip the Word step then it comes out like gibberish in Notebook. Word seems to be able to convert the text into a font that Notebook recognizes. That brings me to the second drawback: someone without Hebrew fonts sees gibberish, even when I use that two-step process which looks fine on my computer.
Does anyone out there have the latest version of Davka (6) and have you tried pasting text into other software? The list of upgrades seems to indicate that a "copy for Unicode" option is available, which may solve this problem. Has anyone tried it, and have other people been able to read your files even without Davka or Hebrew fonts installed?
The second common scenario is to write a word, a phrase, or a short sentence in Hebrew--sometimes mixed with English, often standing on its own. I'll often write a short phrase from a passuk instead of going to the trouble of tracking down the source, copying and pasting it.
Until now I've been using Davka for this too, primarily because my Hebrew typing skills aren't that good yet, and the onscreen keyboard in Davka is great--it shows you what key you're typing so you can keep an eye on the screen and catch any mistakes. I know I can bring up an onscreen keyboard in Windows to help locate the letters, but it doesn't show what key you're hitting as you type, so I find it less convenient.
Since this method has the same drawbacks I listed above, I decided to try typing these shorter pieces directly into Notebook, by turning on Hebrew language support. It seemed to work well, though I did have one episode where the letters rearranged themselves after I finished the paragraph. That happens occasionally too with the cut and paste method, though, so I think it's a general Hebrew problem. I also don't like the onscreen keyboard nearly as well as the Davka version. Sometimes it gets stuck on English and I have to click back and forth before it registers that I'm working in Hebrew.
I would really appreciate hearing from those of you who use Notebook. If you could download the following file and let me know how the Hebrew looks on the various pages:
I'm especially interested in how it looks on a computer without common Hebrew fonts installed.
Also, if you have a method that works well for you, please share it! I'm especially interested in finding a good cut and paste method that will allow for easy editing in Notebook and other software.
ADDITIONAL NOTE - I haven't been using nekudot at all, since I am teaching high school, but this is certainly an issue when I copy and paste from Davka--I need to strip off the nekudot first or it comes out looking like a mess. Does anyone know how to set up Word and other applications so they support nekudot? Is it just a question of turning on Hebrew support?