Surface Duo, Surface Duo 2 pick up long-awaited inking support in Outlook

Surface Duo 2 Inking Outlook
Surface Duo 2 Inking Outlook (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has delivered the inking toolkit for its Outlook app on Android.
  • The ability to directly ink in a new email message is now available for Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2.
  • The new feature is found in the app version 4.2145.1.

During the press rounds for Surface Duo 2, one of the new features advertised was drawing directly in a new Outlook email message. However, while Surface Duo 2 launched, the inking feature was nowhere to be seen.

Now, in a just pushed-out version 4.2145.1 update the inking toolset is live for both Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2.

The feature is relatively simple: There is now a fifth tool icon near the bottom in the shape of a pen tip in a new email message. Tapping the icon brings up the toolbox with a pen, highlighter, pencil, and eraser options. Users can modify the color and thickness of the inking tools as expected.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Launching the inking toolkit creates a "sketch" within the new email message letting users also fully expand the window to full-screen for even more space to draw out an idea or image. Users can then save the drawing to the email message and create multiple and separate sketch entries in the same message.

While not a groundbreaking feature, the ability to ink in Outlook is another overdue one that makes using the Surface Slim Pen 2 and Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover more useful for everyday tasks. Likewise, in the OneDrive beta app, there is the capability to "markup" a photo using the same toolkit, letting users draw on images from the camera roll.

While Surface Duo 2 has yet to receive a meaningful system update, our sources hinted at a significant update later in December that focuses on some bug fixes (adding animations for app launches) and a few new features (e.g., choosing a default display). Additionally, Android 11 should also be launching for the original Surface Duo around the same time. According to sources familiar with the matter, that update was recently signed off on internally, likely meeting that "by the end of the year" public comment from Microsoft.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Not sure if this is new, but the OneNote app also supports inking now 🙌🏽.
  • Edit: Edited to correct error as shown by Mr Rubino.
  • Not new. OneNote has had inking since Surface Duo v1 launched.
  • I'm not sure what limitations the Duo had but we've had inking in OneNote on pen-enabled Samsung devices for a while. It's awesome.
  • I wish there is like automatically ink the moment you use the pen, without a need to manually tap the pen icon. It feels more natural that way. At least as an option even not a default behaviour.
  • Thankful for the feature because any and all are welcome, but I don't really see much use for this. Would've been nice to get something more useful 🤷🏾‍♂️
  • Now there seems to be also an option (a new icon shows up) to break out a new mail/reply to the other screen. That's pretty useful!
  • It's nice SOMEONE is adding features for the Duo, but it's certainly a weird one to see as a first feature addition. I couldn't tell you when I would ever want to draw in an email. MAYBE a very fast, rough sketch of a design for work, but my job blocks you from using work email accounts on personal devices, so that doesn't even fly for me.
  • I have appreciated this feature in Mail on Windows for a while now so I'd like to see this come to my phone too (one of Samsung's Note phones). Inking is a niche feature on mobile, but to those who use it, it can be a big deal. Nice stick man, BTW.
  • The Outlook update not available in the UK.
  • Microsoft should purchase LG stylus software since they are out of the Android phone game
  • LG doesn't make phones anymore?
  • Any support for the buttons on the Slim Pen 1/2? Would love to click on the top button and bring up OneNote.