The Write icon looks like a piece of paper, with a corner bent over, and a pencil. I find this one of the more comprehensible icons, with one of the more comprehensible names.
Go to the Home View and click the Write icon. Most of the screen is blank, with a toolbar and tabs at the top.
Type several lines of something. It hardly matters what for the next few discoveries. Well, at least type some real words and some non-words such as "teh" (misspelled) or "aouiesnuths" (nonsense). What's the difference on the screen? Change a non-word to a word. What happens?
Tools and Tabs, notes and questions as usual.
Did you notice the up arrowhead on the Font menu and Style menu? What happens when you point at it? Did the down arrowhead show up? Why, or why not? What does it do?
Your cursor will change shape as you move around and perform various actions. Point everywhere. Yes, you still get the Frame when you point into the corners. What are the cursor shapes, and what do they mean?
What happens when you point to text?
What happens when you click in text?
What happens when you double-click?
What happens when you triple-click? (Nothing. They took that out.)
If you have used word processing software before, you are probably familiar with the various formatting options; with cut, copy, and paste; with tables; undo and redo; zoom in and out; search; and page navigationIf not, you have so much exploring to do! Or at some point you could read the documentation. You aren't required to discover everything for yourself.
On the Activity Tab there is a text bar that initially says Write Activity. What's that for? What happens if you change the text? Not a lot, until you Keep what you have written, or exit the program. Then go to the Journal using the Frame, and you will see something worth remembering.
The Share With menu is still a mystery. We're coming to that.
If you look closely at the XO keyboard, you will see that there are extra characters on the keys, in addition to the usual American English letters, numbers, and punctuation. Most of the extras are for European languages other than English. You use the alt gr (alternate graphic) key to enter them. Try a few. Hold down the alt gr key while you press and release one of the other keys.
alt gr+1 gives , the inverted ! used in Spanish.
alt gr+c gives , and alt gr +shift+c gives capital , for French. Or you can type these letters using alt gr and the C key.
Type a letter. Then alt gr+0 puts a two-dot diaeresis over it, used for German umlaut. There are ten of these accents that go above the letter, all on the top row of the keyboard. Then on the next row are nine accents that go below the letter. If you type a space and then one of these accents, it appears as if by itself.
You can put two or more accents above a letter, but beyond two, they don't stack well, and the result is a very special form of gibberish. You can also type two or more accents below a letter, but they don't stack at all. They all appear in the same place.
With all of this apparatus, there are still a number of characters in the standard ISO-8859-1 character set that you can't type on the XO US keyboard layout.
¦ ¶ ¢ ¥ © ® ± · ¹ ² ³ ½ ¼ ¾ ¤ ì í î ï
And a few others of importance for good style.
— – … ™
But note that there is a key for × and ÷, the two non-ASCII characters of most importance in elementary education.
A clumsy workaround is to use Browse to go to the code page displays on various Web pages, and copy characters from there. Later versions of Sugar will have fixes for this issue, along with simpler ways to change keyboard layouts for different writing systems.
There is a display bug in Write. If you put the cursor before a letter with two accents, and press enter, one of the accents will appear on both lines. It isn't really there, and you can't erase it. If you refresh the display, by zooming in and then out, or by going to another page and then back, the spurious marks on the screen go away.