Sorry if this has been asked in the past (I'm new here):

I use pocketpc Sudoku programs exclusively to play (currently Sudoku Rules Extreme and Sudoku Master- also trying Mastersoft Sudoku). At the point where I have used the usual basic methods to fill cells that have only one candidate, I have found it easier to use the auto-pencil function to pencil in the possible candidates and then proceed from there manually. Otherwise, it seems like unnecessary tedium to do it manually since it doesn't seem to require any skills of logic.

However, some people seem to think using auto-pencil at that point is a hint (or even 'cheating'). In fact, the Mastersoft program, which keeps a running 'score' to establish your skill level, dings you for using the auto-pencil feature at any time.

Just to clarify: I don't use auto-pencil at any point to determine cells with only one candidate and if when I use it, it turns out there is only one candidate in any cell then I do consider that a major hint/cheat.

Any comments?