The Ink Workspace is a move by Microsoft to make pen input more usable for everyone with a PC, not just designers and artists. It is essentially a combination of quick tools designed around a pen and though not all of the features Microsoft outlined at BUILD are present, it’s a great preview of what’s to come.
The Ink Workspace can be launched using a shortcut on an active pen or from a button on the taskbar. If you have the option, the pen shortcut makes it possible to launch the Ink Workspace from anywhere, even the lockscreen. The pen shortcuts have been expanded as well, finally letting you choose what a tap or a double tap does, among other things.
Sticky Notes is a reimagining of the sticky notes application that’s been around in one form or another since Windows Vista. At this point, you can write or type on a sticky note but you can’t don’t both at once. The sticky notes launched from the Ink Workspace can also be set to show up on your desktop if the application is launched from the Start Menu. Microsoft has promised deeper integration with Cortana and Bing, but those features aren’t here quite yet.
Sketchpad is a blank canvas that can be used to doodle or jot down ideas. It has support for pen, pencil and highlighter emulation and each is available in a variety of colors. You can also turn on a virtual ruler that can be turned and placed anywhere on the canvas. When you’re done, it gives you the option of saving your canvas as an image or close it and come back to it later.
Screen Sketch gives you access to all the same tools found in Sketchpad, but it replaces the blank canvas with a screenshot of whatever you had on screen prior to launching. Hopefully, there will be more added to differentiate it down the line, but it’s still a great feature to have.
Recently Used and Suggested apps are pretty straightforward, but what’s interesting is that it seems to be unique only to apps that have pen-specific features. Not all of the apps it lists actually support Ink yet (like Photos and Maps) but are apps Microsoft has said will be getting more pen-specific features down the line.
As the launch of the Anniversary update comes nearer and nearer, Microsoft is sure to continue fleshing out the features of Ink and the Ink Workspace and it’s great to see the progress they’ve made so far.