Feature of the Week

Pencils & Crayons

| Feature of the Week

This week Logitech announced that their Crayon, the iPad stylus they co-developed with Apple, is now available for anyone to purchase (it had previously been offered only to educational institutions). Although there are some notable differences between the Logitech Crayon and the Apple Pencil, they share a lot of technology and we wanted to take a moment to highlight how both of these accessories work with forScore.

Once you’ve connected either device to your compatible iPad, it works just like you’d expect: tap or drag to use any app just like you normally would with your fingertips. Apple’s palm rejection kicks in automatically, helping to distinguish between intentional touches and incidental ones, so you can worry less about your hand position.

Most of the time the Pencil, Crayon, and finger touches all do the same thing—except when an app like forScore has been designed to work differently. For instance, you can use either stylus to annotate in forScore by simply drawing on the page. There’s no need to activate annotation mode first: forScore does this automatically and starts drawing your markings without missing a thing. The Apple Pencil section of forScore’s settings panel lets you control this behavior (called “automatically enter annotation mode”).

If you want to take things one step further, the “automatically exit annotation mode” option lets forScore save your markings and return to viewing mode after a configurable delay (choose “short” or “long” instead of the default “never”). Because forScore needs a moment to save your work and can’t track markings made during that process, it’s important to get this timing right based on how you use forScore. Otherwise, it will attempt to save while you’re still trying to annotate and forScore may miss some of your markings.

Apple’s palm rejection works well for most people most of the time, but if you find that your iPad is inappropriately picking up your hand movements, there’s another forScore setting that may help called “prevent finger drawing.” If enabled, forScore only allows a stylus to make markings and ignores all hand or finger touches. You can still use your fingers to switch annotation tools or zoom in on the page, just like you always do, but you won’t be able to make any markings with them. This setting works any time you use your stylus to enter annotation mode but not if you activate annotation mode manually—in that case you can still use your fingers to draw (helpful if your Apple Pencil is connected but out of reach).

Finally, forScore emphasizes your drawings by varying their width based on how hard you press and the angle of your stylus in relation to the screen. You can disable either of these if you prefer by disabling “tilt” and “pressure” in forScore’s settings panel.

For musicians who annotate regularly, an Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon can make a world of difference. If you have a compatible iPad or are thinking of upgrading, visit your nearest Apple retail store if possible to check it out—it just takes a few minutes to really get a sense for what these accessories can do.