Windows 10 Anniversary Update: What’s new with pen and touch

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The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a number of new improvements and features to pen and touch. “Windows Ink Workspace,” otherwise known as Windows Ink, provides map and photo enhancements, along with other new capabilities using the Surface Pen in the Anniversary Update.

Windows Ink Workspace
Windows Ink Workspace (Windows Ink)

Windows Ink allows Surface Pen users to draw or annotate on top of any Windows 10 app.

The Anniversary Update allows Surface Pen users have a new sidebar accessible on the taskbar (or by clicking the Surface Pen) giving access to Sketchpad, Screen sketch, or Sticky Notes. Ink Workspace provides users with a virtual ruler too, making it easy to draw straight lines when needed. Sticky Notes quickly integrate with Cortana, and Cortana sets reminders for you based on your sticky note content. There is also a new map and photo inking feature available in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Windows Ink, Map Inking
Maps inking

At Build 2016, Microsoft showcases the capability where the user can draw directly on photos in the Windows 10 Photos app, or draw on a route in the Maps app. When inking on a map, the ink can calculate distances when drawing routes in the Maps app and even re-position itself when drawing in 3D mode. For example, if you are using the Maps app to calculate heights if you were planning a hike. Many might enjoy the map inking integration after going on a hike using the Explore Tile on the Microsoft Band.

For Office 365 users, Ink Workspace figures out if you want to delete an entire paragraph of text just by scribbling the paragraph out. When highlighting notes or text, the highlight function will automatically snap to sentences to keep you from highlighting text unintentionally. The highlight function works best for teachers when grading student papers or other documents in OneNote.

Microsoft is trying to make the Surface Pen a more useful than just an accessory. Sketchpad, Screen sketch, and Sticky Notes all provide a renewed focus on the “power of the pen.”


Windows Ink Workspace, microsoft

Sometimes jotting things down on a blank piece of paper can lead to ideas you never thought possible. Sketchpad offers that experience while focusing on how people use analog pens today. Sketchpad allows Windows 10 users to start with a blank slate to use the Surface Pen or just your fingers to doodle, create, or brainstorm. You can simultaneous use the digital ruler with one hand while you wield your finger or Surface Pen in the other. Once, you’re done, you can easily save and share doodles and ideas from any email or messaging app to get your ideas in motion.

Screen sketch

Windows Ink Workspace, Screen sketch, gif
Screen sketch

Screen sketch takes a screenshot of your entire desktop and allows you to draw on top of the screenshot in any way you choose. Screen sketch allows you to draw, write on, and crop the entire image. Screen sketch is similar to Sketchpad and offers ample opportunities to share your created content.

Sticky Notes

Windows ink Workspace, gif, Sticky notes
Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes allows you to create and save notes to your Windows 10 device experience. Not only can you customize the colors on your sticky notes, but you also have the ability to integrate with Cortana to set reminders. With Sticky Notes and Cortana, you can see your notes and reminders across all of your Windows 10 devices. Smart entity extraction is also available with Bing. For example, you will be able to write a phone number in Sticky Notes and Bing will ready the number to be called or write down a flight number and Bing will bring you latest flight status update. Sticky Notes will help Windows 10 users realize what they were missing with Windows Ink.

Windows Ink Workspace
Windows Ink Workspace pen settings

Finally, there are always ways of customizing your Surface Pen settings for Windows Ink Workspace. You can change the buttons of the pen to correspond with your own personal preferences. Click the pen once to go to the Windows Ink Workspace Home, click twice to be taken to the Sketchpad, hold down the button to open Cortana. You choose what each pen click represents. You can also use pen clicks to open Windows 10 apps, or change other pen settings, like turn pen cursor on or off, or ignore touch when using your pen.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update makes using the pen easier, improves touch, and provides a better overall pen and touch experience on Windows 10 than ever before.

Editor’s note: This is the second post in a series that will go over the new features of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This post is ideal for new users who are experiencing the update for the very first time. For those who have been a part of the Insider program, share your thoughts on the Anniversary Update in the comment section below.

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