Massachusetts Historical Society

Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes of the State of Virginia Manuscript


Tips for Best Use on Tablets and Touchscreens

Multiple tabs required.

Touchscreen devices are fully supported, but some of the features will operate differently from computers with mice and pointing devices. With a pointing device, you can hover your mouse pointer over a button or other clickable area to reveal contextual help. On touchscreens, you must tap on an area to see this help. A second tap will act as a click. For example, tap on the main document to reveal clickable icons, such as the magnifying lense. Then, tap on the magnifying lense to use the hi-res zoom feature.

Please note: the main document displays do not support small screens such as phones, although some functionality may be possible.


It takes a long time for a page to load.

These manuscript pages are composed of many high resolution images, which can take some time to download. We can blame Thomas Jefferson for being so fastidious in his editing of the manuscript.


My browser performs very slowly, and any movement on the page is choppy, sluggish.

Some of the manuscript pages are very complex and push the limits of what current browsers are capable of displaying. Try closing the Key (click the grey triangle at the top right-hand corner of the Key), or try using only the 100% zoom level. Also, closing other browser windows and exiting other programs on your computer may help.

Dragging the manuscript is very slow, especially at all but the largest zoom levels.

Hide the Key by clicking the grey triangle at the top right-hand corner of the Key. This will dramatically speed up dragging of the manuscript.


When I zoom out, the red viewfinder on the key disappears.

Unfortunately for technical reasons, we can only offer the viewfinder at 100% zoom.

I can't see some of Jefferson's handwriting because it's obscured by the user interface.

Moving the mouse away from an attachment will hide the icons that flip and remove. Zooming in to 100% will make the colored labels as small as possible relative to Jefferson's handwriting. You may temporarily hide most of the visual guides by clicking "hide labels and guides" under the "options" menu of the zoom control bar. Also, you can see a completely unobstructed and extra large view of each attachment and full page by clicking on the magnifying lens which appears at the top left-hand corner when you mouse over an attachment or a full page.

After zooming out to 25% or 50% or 75% I can no longer see the document.

Zoom back in at 100% and center the manuscript within the viewport (drag the manuscript or drag the red viewfinder). Once the manuscript fills the viewport, then zoom out as desired. You can also stay zoomed out and refresh your browser (press F5 or choose "refresh" or "reload" from the "view" menu).

Known issues:

Dragging the manuscript image at zoom levels other than 100% with the Key expanded can cause performance to be sluggish. Please minimize the Key or drag the manuscript at 100% zoom.

Numerous visual problems in IE 7 (choppy shadows, missing backgrounds). Use of IE 7 is discouraged.

No clickable areas on page i of IE 7.