Hands-on with Windows Ink in Windows 10 Insider Build 14328

Windows Ink is one of the new features added in build 14328 for Windows 10 Insiders. It's a set of pen-driven experiences that help you quickly write notes, sketch, or annotate screenshots. If you want to see how it works before you try, we've got it all on video. Make sure to hit that Play button (and subscribe while you're at it)!

You can tap the Windows Ink Workspace button in the system tray or create a shortcut with your pen in the settings. For example, I've set up the Surface Pen so that clicking the top button once opens the Windows Ink home while double clicking opens the Sticky Notes.

Pen Shortcuts

Sticky Notes currently lets you create and save notes to your Windows machine in multiple sizes and colors. But this is just the beginning: Microsoft says it is going to add more advanced features like writing down a flight number will fetch data from Bing to give you the flight status.

Windows 10 Sticky Notes

Another Windows Ink experience is the SketchPad. a simple blank canvas where you can quickly and easily draw an idea or simple doodle. You have options to switch between the types of brushes and colors, but my favorite is the digital ruler. It helps you draw straight lines just like on paper.

Screen Sketch takes a screenshot of your whole desktop, and you can edit, crop, or draw over it. Just like SketchPad experience, you can easily save your creations or share them online.

Windows Ink

The Windows Ink team says they're just getting started, so keep your eyes open for more new features. Give it a try, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • Wow, this looks like a very cool addition to Windows 10 and a perfect use case for the pen.
  • Addition with subtraction. The update removes Windows Journal. BIG no-no for me but that's life I guess.
  • who still uses that? isn't that what free onenote is for?
  • Does Journal do anything that you can't do in OneNote? I hadn't looked at that since Windows XP with Pen Extensions, but I thought OneNote captured everything Journal did and then added a lot to it (with no performance hit).
  • cool stuff, can you post the link to the desktop wallpaper please :)
  • Sorry but please.. I need that wallpaper.
  • lost the exact link, but found it on interfacelift
  • Thank you!
  • https://interfacelift.com/wallpaper/details/3993/nebula_city.html
  • Awesome! Thanks!
  • A city with a clear sky, yeah  right, no pollution at all. But the pic is damn awesome, a cool wallpaper.
  • Has anyone figured out how to draw on the Maps app like Brian Roper did in the //build/ demo? My Surface Pen just scrolls the map around when I try.
  • Is the Maps app part of the OS? It might need an update of its own to accept the input.
  • That's probably the case. The app shows in the Ink Workspace, so I assumed ink support was ready to try out.
  • I was wondering the same thing.
  • Hopefully they bring 10 to windows rt
  • Haters. I'm just saying. I bought a surface rt and it's a nice service
  • * device
  • I don't own one, but with more and more UWP apps coming out, that ARM based RT/Mobile hybrid we were hearing about becomes more and more viable. It would be a great gift from Microsoft to some of their most loyal customers to do it, although I'd be concerned about performance. Personally I think that continuum should just be the same desktop experience that you are used to, effectively turning it into an RT device. That gives you the same desktop experience across all three form factors, with differences in x86 compatibility of course.
  • Nice - Cortana connected sticky notes sounds pretty cool.
  • Is this available to those who don't have a surface pen, or a non touch laptop?
  • Ooh... let me see...
  • You can turn on the button in the taskbar, but I doubt you'd get much use out of it....
  • Well typed sticky notes seem like a use case, if that is an option. Something where you don't want to go through the hassle of setting up a Cortana reminder, or if you don't want to use Cortana. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • True, the old sticky notes is still there though, the one from Win7 (or maybe even Vista days) so you could always use that if you want something streamlined without the ink specific features.
  • Valid point, and they have the benefit of being pinned to the desktop (not sure if the new ones can be). However, who knows for how long they will stay, if these stickies adopt the purpose and features of the old stickiest app.
    It is easier to type Sticky into the search bar though, not sure if there's a keyboard shortcut for these yet or not.
    Would really love to see windows adopt a few more system-wide shortcuts like OSX. That windows key isn't mapped to everything just yet.
    Or even better, have a super easy to adjust keyboard shortcut creator like some versions of *NIX systems. That's probably fantasizing a bit, but this Microsoft continues to surprise. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Try this: Click Start/Cortana and Type "Sticky"
    Right click on the Sticky Notes desktop app
    Choose Open File Location
    Right click the Sticky Notes shortcut in explorer window that pops up
    Choose Properties
    Just under "Start in" you should see "Shortcut Key"
    Click into that box
    Hold Ctrl and tap N
    Click Apply or OK You can now press "Ctrl + Alt + N" to launch sticky notes. Not the most user friendly thing to setup but you can use this to setup shortcuts to pretty much any desktop program. Sent from Microsoft Band
  • I just learned about shortcuts like that like 10 minutes before you responded XD
    Thanks for that advice though. Can you do this with the sticky notes in windows ink however? That's the issue with these new universal apps and system additions. Not a whole lot of control on the user's end, so have to rely on the creator to bake it in. I want shortcuts like CMD+M on OSX, which minimizes the current window, and CMD+Q which quits the program. I know that you can use the Windows Key + Down arrow to minimize, but takes a couple presses and usually messes up any tiling I have set up.
    And Alt+F4 is so annoying to press, so far away. And my with my surface I also have to hold the function key down to override the volume controls set up on that key. But currently Windows + Q brings up Cortana (Windows + C brings up Cortana voice search, which I did not know about, so that's cool). Mostly just wishing and pointless complaint on my part, but would like some kind of better Alt+F4 (It was originally designed to be hard to hit accidentally, but now I see it more of a useful function than a last resort, although it's coded as a last resort I believe). Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • They seem to be making good strides with UWP. As both a user and dev it was frustrating not to have Badges on the taskbar icons to indicate there was a new message / notification in a UWP app - So so glad to see it finally added in todays build. On my Surface Pro 3 I have set the keyboard to activate the F1-F12 keys by default, and I hold the Fn key to activate things like the volume controls. I have it set the opposite way to yourself mainly because I use the F keys a LOT on a daily basis in Visual Studio. I think the default is the setting you are on as for a lot of people it probably makes more sense. I'm sure the UWP platform will keep progressing, having worked on Windows 8 apps in the past it sure does feel like you have a lot more freedom and it keeps getting better and more flexible.
  • I don't know much about it from the Dev side of things, currently only able to write Linux terminal programs XD
    However, I am always wary of things that are billed as "for mobile" in some form, because they're usually less useful, accessible, and more limited than other things. This stems to programs from the store being hidden in the file system. I use Cold Turkey to help me focus by blocking websites and programs on my computer. But I can't access store apps to block them (maybe the developer could add some kind of function on his end). What really annoys me about UWP (as with any other mobile platform) is the inability to run more than one instance of something. I use Drawboard PDF for my school work, books, and preparing for exams, and I'm constantly switching between documents, because you cannot have more than one instance of the program open at once, and they haven't added multiple PDF view. Could be alleviated if I could just open a second version. Seeing as Microsoft seems very committed to the success of the program, however, I wouldn't surprised to see it improve further. The function key on the SP4 keyboard is a toggle switch, which is a great feature (not sure if you use an SP3 or SP4 keyboard with your surface). The few times I've used visual studio or android studio, I'll toggle it on. But 99% of the time the extra functions are enabled because I use them universally, as opposed to the function keys. Different on my desktop, which doesn't have any special actions. However, many laptops are now taking this approach (mac has done it since I've been using them, for better or worse), so it feels more and more like something that should be addressed at some point. The badges is great. In my opinion, the OS with the best notifications is Android, hands down (have not used any windows phones though). Going from an iPhone to android it blew my mind how useful the notifications were. Little icons across the top to tell you what apps were providing info. Didn't have to remember if there were actually notifications that you're forgotten. And now they stay on the lock screen even after you open the phone, so you don't forget them after you open it.
    Glad to see Microsoft is taking a similar approach and making the notifications very useful, will all kinds of features. I do like the badges as well, something that native android doesn't really have, but I have added, although I don't really need because of how notification center works on android. Windows still has a long way to go , but it's getting better all the time. And Bash on windows is going to be awesome. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Apps can actually run several windows at a time: Try middle-clicking Edge in the taskbar when it's running. The developer simply needs to support it in their app.
  • Never thought about it, guess Edge is a UWP application (would really suck if a web browser could only have one window). I'm just very used to most mobile style applications being single run, like on Android and iOS. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • I'm sorry sticky notes isn't win32. I think it's uwp
  • Sticky Notes is definitely Win32.
  • The old one is Win32, the new one is UWP
  • I thought we were talking about the old one, my bad.
  • Oh ok
  • I like the search button on my laptop to launch Cortana
  • They swapped that out for something else on the SP4. Normally I just hit the windows key and then start typing away. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Try Alt + Space + n to minimize instantly.
  • Thank you kindly for the tip. Still not quite as easy as two fingers, but this is good to know. Seems to work with most programs so far.
    Some time ago I bookmarked Microsoft's website with every keyboard shortcut native to windows. It's HUGE. Haven't' really been able to look through it all. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • But the new sticky notes that is available with ink workspace can also be used as a separate app, and the notes works exacly like the sticky notes from w7. The goal is to replace each other further ahead
  • Nice, I didn't realise it could just be launched like that, but it makes sense that it can. I guess the old sticky notes will be removed at some point
  • This is specifically a touch / pen centric feature. So, no you can not. On non-touch devices / instances - like Virtual Machines. The optionis simply not there, But you can use and type into the Sticky Note app all you want. This Sticky Note app has been in Windwos for years now.
  • This would be even better on W10M, since most of the things I want to jot down hit my brain when I'm away from my desktop. Even in the case of a convertible PC like a Surface, if you think of something you want from the store while walking around, it's much easier to pull out a phone than a tablet (and you might even have left the tablet at home for the time being). I sure hope we get this into Mobile with the next hardware refresh!
  • I think it would be great to see inking come to mobile, I seem to remember there were rumours of the 950 XL supporting it, but in the end there was no chance it would have shipped on time (It was somewhere on WC I read the rumour ages ago) Inking is particularly useful in business I find, jotting down notes or brainstorming an idea without losing a paper copy. In these scenarios doing it on a Surface Pro or similar makes a lot of sense. Totally get where you're coming from with wanting it on mobile, I'd love that in the next phone and it would give me a genuinely big reason to upgrade my phone at that point from the 950.
  • It's not the most wonderful solution, but I found it works well enough on my 640XL with use of an Active Stylus. The app is called Squid. I can keep rough hand written notes on my phone, doodles and very rough quick sketches with info that I can later redraw into my W3 in one note or just trash once I have made use of the info.  It's almost there in terms of ablity to use a Pen on any Windows 10 mobile, now Microsoft just needs to let it loose. I think Microsoft could almost kill the Galaxy Note line if they just noticed an Active Stylus + a Low or Mid Range Lumia with Ink and Pen support could do almost everything a Galaxy does - hover.
  • Do you use this sw (Squid) in combo with an active digitiser like the Surface Pen, or just a passive capacitive stylus? I don't think the former is possible, right? i.e. it must be built into the phone too, not just the pen...
  •  I have a Lumia 640 XL which as we all know has no digitizer layer, so any pen like a Surface Pen should not work ( Wacom, Synaptics ), and I have never tried these types of stylus. What I have is known as an Active Stylus, has  a battery in the pen to provide static charge to the tip which mimics your finger. Adonit has 3 models of Fine Tip Active Stylus ( Adonit Jot Script ). There are more then a few makers of Active Stylus, however they market to the iOS crowd, so it's no wonder Windows Phone users have no clue they are even on the market. Some have bluetooth for a basic form of palm reject in iOS apps with built in support, but this does not apply to Windows yet as most target iOS only. Adonit may look to add Windows support for tablets and phones if enough people start to ask, but no plans as of now are set.  My Adonit goes from Phone to Tablet with no issue and gives me close to surface ability on a low end tablet that no one reviewed well the Acer W3. It was never ment to be used as a note taker but adding the stylus opened up a whole new set of features most tablet owners have no idea are there, like switching the keyboard input to hand written for note taking.  An active Stylus is miles better then the old style fat mush tip.
  • Ah yes, was looking into them a while back, haven't had an iOS device for a while, but will likely be getting a Tablet this year, just to observe again what's going on. Have a SP3/950XL/Galaxy_Note4/Android_Tablet/Retina_MBP(15"), thanks for the insights, might be an accessory to consider for 950XL, 430am, bed time!
  • I could see the use indeed but that would mean carrying around a pen everywhere... Not that the pen is big or bulky but it's just another thing in your pants...
  • I like the idea of it being compatible with the Surface Pro 3 / Pro 4 / Surface 3 pens, that way you can just carry (and buy) one pen to keep with you but can write a note on whatever is suitable at the time. I do think from personal use that something like the Surface 3 (Non Pro) is actually an ideal size for a note taking device when combined with a more powerful computer at your desk (or just the one device suits the sales guys at our place - powerful enough for office and lightweight and good for note taking in meetings) Also, often at the office my Pro 3 is docked so it's not convenient to write on without undocking, when I'm at home I use my more powerful desktop PC so my Pro 3 is free to be used for note taking and sketching ideas.
  • Right now, you have to carry a tablet AND the pen. How is just the pen worth mentioning when you have to carry a tablet? Besides, I could easily see it as somethihng like the Nintendo 3DS, where there is a slot for the pen to slide in (either with the hpeon's body or a case). I usually have 2 pens in my pockets at all times anyway, I could easily put one on the table and take a digital one in its place.
  • Clips with magnets. Or you could be geeky and keep it in the shirt pocket
  • Personally, I don't have shirt pockets. The magnet thing is an easy-ish solution, but I worry about it on a phone. It seems it would be really easy/likely to knock loose, pulling it from your pocket.
  • I like you don"t normally have shirt pockets, but Microsoft solved this with the Surface Loop. For now I carry my Active Stylus in my back pants pocket up against my wallet. It's body is roughly the size of a Surface Pen so the Loop would be something I would get if inking comes to mobile.  As of now I am thinking attach the Loop to my Tablet however I need to find a metal Pocket clip you find on cheep ball points that slide on and off.
  • Cool cool cool. One of my favourite new features from redstone update. Long time coming. Fingers crossed for more goodies to come.
  • Looks interesting.  I'm really interested in the OneNote integration - I tried that on shipping Windows 10 about 6 months ago on a Surface Book and it was very primitive and half-baked.
  • This could become a unique feature on mobile with stylus support added
  • Did you just call it a stylus :-o lol
  • Hopefully there are other color options than ones that are based on pastel hues. I hate pastel hues. Drives me nuts that Google Keep switched to them for no apparent reason, especially since it doesn't mess with the material design of android. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Aren't they pastel hues so that it's easy to see the text on top no matter which colour you choose, without having to provide additional formatting options like font colour
  • Perhaps, but black tends to show up really well on anything that isn't a darker color. The windows ink pictures seem to have that really rich orange-yellow, so maybe they do have options. Whenever I bought sticky notes (a bit before my time I guess, so never really used them) I would get the rich colors, so that I would remember to look at them. They are supposed to be things that you don't want to forget usually, and pastel colors don't really catch your eye. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Lovely OS
  • I hope this comes to all Windows 10 devices!! Now that I use an Active Stylus with my Acer W3, Sticky Notes would be a great feature to have. Also most Lumia XL's could see benefit from this...even if not full a subset would be awesome in mobile 10
  • this is great . i like to take screenshots onmy surface and usually have to open adobe photoshop to edit it.
  • If one looks past the cool features you can see how this is a terrible implementation. Feels like the old Microsoft way of adding features: the new stuff is on top and not integrated (hello Tablet PC Edition!) but the old is still there. Sketchpad should be a separate app that can also use all Windows 10 feature like Snap (if you want to draw/note something from a website) and Sticky Notes shouldn't be a separate pen-only app only running in full screen mode. My suggestions:
    -turn Sketchpad into a feature where every drawing app can connect to, default is a special OneNote page, developers can plug into this
    -replace the old Sticky Notes with an UWP app and link this to the Ink menu.
  • But the new sticky notes is a separate app and don't run in full screen. Try to search for the app in all apps list. The app is exacly like the old sticky notes from w7, but probably they didn't remove the old one because the new one isn't ready yet, but until the release of anniversary update they must already have replaced.
  • Open the notes app from the all apps list. Now the notes are on the desktop like the old gadgets in Windows 7. Awesome.
  • They should link Snip with Ink
  • Slink?
  • Does the ruler work with OneNote?
  • They should work with the Fresh Paint team.
  • Hmm, I'd hoped they included writing recognition for the notes, like that Lenovo thing...
  • At Build they showed that, not just recognition, but also cortana would analyse the text and create reminders and tasks automatically. Guess it's not ready yet
  • Oh ok, good good :)
  • I have a great idea...if you want to actually write something down, how about a piece of paper and a real pen
  •  Do you have any idea how many "real Post-it" notes have gone missing???  I have even had the bad luck in my life to loose 2 bits of paper with the phone numbers to girls who could now be very disgruntled ex's, but never got the chance.  It's hard work to loose a digital sticky.....and it's better for our carbon foot print to not waste paper !!!!!  Go back to 1950 Caveman with your real Ink and Paper ;-)
  • While I've seen touch screens out there, are there monitors being marketed for pen support as well? Would be good to upgrade my desktop to utilize this upcoming ink feature.
  •  There are 21-27 inch All in One PC's that have a touch screen and I do think a few make Flat Pannel Touch screen for your PC but I never looked to deeply into it. Bing or Google is your friend here, try a search.
  • Last time I used my surface 3 for notes it was laggy and didn't respond at times.... Very frustrating, not sure if this was a one time thing or not. I haven't used the pen since. I was using drawboard pdf. I also have touch issues sometimes, I think it might be hardware related but a restart usually fixes it. Weird.
  • I have no pen option in my Settings. Can someone tell me what's wrong here? Thanks.