Windows Ink: How to use Screen Sketch

Screen Sketch is a new feature available in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, part of the new Windows Ink Workspace feature-set. It allows tablet users to doodle and take notes on their screen directly on their tablets in a dedicated inking environment, equipped with virtual rulers, pen-types and more. Here's how to use it.

How to open Screen sketch

  1. Tap the Pen icon on the taskbar to open the Ink Workspace.

  1. Tap the "Screen sketch" block. It will be the third block in the list. It will automatically take a screenshot of your display and load it for your sketching.

How to change pen type

  1. Navigate to top right of screen where pen bar is.
  2. Select either of the first three icons located on left of the bar. These icons look like different variations of a pen.

Screen sketch pens

The first three icons are different kinds of pen-types. You have the option of the following:

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Highlighter

How to change color and size of selected pen

  1. Tap the icon of the pen you have selected.
  2. Choose color from dropdown menu.

Pen colours

  1. Slide "size" slider to the left to decrease the size of the pen ink and to the right to increase.

How to use the eraser

  1. Navigate to the pen bar at the top right of the screen.
  2. Select the eraser icon. This icon looks like an eraser erasing a line.

Pen eraser

  1. Drag the pen tip of your sketch to erase that potion.Tapping the eraser icon a second time will erase all ink on the screen.

How to use the virtual ruler

The Sketch pad features a new virtual ruler that makes drawing straight lines super easy on a touch screen. Here's how to use it.

  1. Navigate to the pen bar at the top right of the screen
  2. Select the ruler icon. This looks like a diagonal ruler.

  1. Use two fingers or mouse scroll wheel to rotate and position the ruler.
  2. Select your pen.
  3. Draw a line down side of ruler. The line will automatically snap to the ruler.

How to switch between pen input and touch input

  1. Navigate to the pen bar at the top right of the screen.

Pen bar

  1. Select **input switch button* to switch between pen and touch input. It looks like a hand pointing up.

How to undo and redo Ink strokes

  1. Navigate to the pen bar at the top right of the screen.

Pen undo and redo

  1. Select the undo button to undo the last action. It looks like an arrow icon looping back to the left.
  2. Select the redo button to undo the last undo. It looks like an arrow icon looping to the right.

How to crop your sketch

  1. Navigate to the pen bar.
  2. Select the crop button, which looks like two right angles overlapping each other with a line going diagonally through them.
  3. Position the crop area by dragging the white circles at each corner to resize the highlighted area.

  1. Select the check button at the top right of the screen to apply the crop.Select the cancel button to cancel the cropping. The pen bar will return to its full toolset.

How to delete, save, copy and share your sketch

  1. Navigate to the pen bar
    • To save, tap the save button. This icon looks like a floppy disk.
    • To delete, tap the trash button. This icon looks like a trashcan.
    • To copy, tap the copy button. It looks like two rectangles (i.e. copying paper)
    • To share, tap the share button. This icon is a circle with three smaller circles on it.

Save and delete

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Screen sketch is an awsome tool. Would be even better if it was rather a native part of the OS instead of the ink workspace. Even for pen use, it would be nice if the pen could be programmed with an extra button to enable this app or even with a touch gesture on windows or a keyboard shortcut. As far as I know this is isn't supported to date.
  • you can enable the pen shortcut to go directly into screen sketch (at least for surface). its under settings > devices > pen&windows ink.
  • do u know any keyboard shortcut?
  • Windows+W
  • @Willem Evenhuis, it is a native part of the OS. The ink icon is there is the notification area new and always visible with the Anniversay Update in a standard Windows Install, if being used on a computer with ink capabilities.
  • I love inking and use the pen often in adobe, etc. But, adobe needs to get more streamlined and touch/pen oriented. But, not to be clueless...what do you do with screen sketches?
  • I use it to annotate something that isn't a web page (for a web page I use the edge tools - maybe they will start using the ink toolbar in the future too)
  • I don't have the ink work space on my linx 8 even though i am on the latest version of Windows, any ideas?
  • its only enabled for touch/pen interfaces.  So you will only see the ink workspace if you have a touch screen.  I'm not sure if all touch screens will get it or only the type that allow for pen interface, though.
  • Personalisation/taskbar/turn system icons on n off/ turn the windows ink option on. I use linx10, there was no ink workspace for me then I have realised that u should turn its icon on,hope that helps.
  • The icon isn't shown by default on the Linx tablet since it doesn't support pen input. But like you say it can be enabled on any PC using your steps
  • Yes,I have tried it also on my desktop which does not have touch screen. You can turn the icon on and use it on any computer.
  • I don't understand why the work is automatically lost if I accidentally switch to another program (like if notification banner pops up and I tap on it, or if I need to quickly check something on the web and I alt-tab into Edge). This is something that quite annoys me and prevents me from using the app more often.
  • Odd indeed. I suspect this will be addressed in a future version. Also, if you have the pen-enabled computer hooked up to an external monitor, the Screen Sketch always appears on the primary screen (so possible the external monitor), where you can't actually use the pen. I don't see any easy way to move it to another monitor (same problem with Sketchpad).
  • Correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe your work is automatically stored. Therefore, all you need to do is open the app, and it continues from where you last left off.
  • I stand corrected, I thought Screen Sketch behaved similar to Sketchpad.
  • I REALLY want them to expand the Insights feature in Sticky Notes outside the US. They talk about it at every single event and are very proud of it but they never mention it's a US specific feature. Yes, they are a US company but it doesn't even work in the UK where the language is so closely linked to US English. I don't mind them showing a product off that they are proud of but they should communicate better that its US only when they are presenting to international audiences
  • I really love using Screen Sketch on my Surface Pro 2. It's the perfect replacement for the ancient Snipping tool, and I can easily activate it with my Wacom Pen via a shortcut in the Wacom Radial menu (with latest Wacom Feel Drivers). This is one of multiple other feature I love in Windows 10 that somewhat make up for the loads of bugs and frustrating headache it currently comes with. Hopefully those get ironed out ASAP and make it a perfect upgrade from 8.1.1 on the Tablet side.
  • I had no idea this function existed, thank for the tip!
  • I normally use a multi-monitor setup, with my Surface Book i7 and Surface Dock as the main components. The 3 screens are the Surface Book i7 (which is the only touch screen) and 2 desktop monitors connected to the Surface Dock. However, Screen Sketch only shows the Surface Book i7's screen, which means that I still need to use the Snipping Tool for the other monitors. Print Screen still gets all the monitors, so I can also use that when I need a screenshot of another monitor (I need to paste and possibly crop it in Paint, but that's quick and not hard). Similar situations sometimes exist for other scenarios, features, or software, but this is the most obvious one. Is there some setting or configuration that can be changed to make multiple monitors be recognized by things like this?