Windows Ink in Windows 10

With the adoption rate of touchscreen laptops and tablets, especially the Microsoft Surface Pro, Windows 10 has added more functionality to touchscreen users in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Windows Ink allows any pen-enabled device to take advantage of a variety of touch-enabled apps, including the new universal Windows Sticky Notes app.

Let’s look at the changes to Windows Ink and how you can take advantage of it with a pen and touchscreen-enabled device.

Taking a Closer Look at Windows Ink

So long as you have a touchscreen and/or pen-enabled Windows 10 laptop or tablet, you can use Windows Ink. You’ll open it by clicking on the “Windows Ink” icon in the Taskbar.

Windows Ink in Taskbar

If you don’t see the Windows Ink icon, right-click anywhere on the Taskbar.

How to show Windows Ink icon

From there, click on “Show Windows Ink Workspace button” and it’ll pop up.

You have a variety of options to use based on what’s enabled and installed on your device.

Immediately, you’ll have access to Sticky Notes, Sketchpad, and Screen Sketch.

Sticky Notes saw a major update in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update by finally becoming a universal Windows app. This update changed the font, colors, settings, and more for the app, allowing you to have a more traditional Sticky Note experience. You can now draw and write on notes as you see fit.

Windows Ink Sketchpad

The Sketchpad gives you a fully functional sketchpad that can be stretched to full screen, allowing you to write and draw in a variety of colors and pen sizes.

You can even use a ruler to get straight edges if you wish. These sketches automatically save if you exit out of the Sketchpad and can be saved as images or shared, too.

Screen Sketch
Screen Sketch on our site interface

The Screen Sketch function is an awesome addition to touchscreen and pen technologies, allowing you to draw, write and highlight what’s on the screen to save for later. This can come in handy if you need to mark up a presentation, a website, or something else.

OneNote drawing with Windows Ink
Nice handwriting huh?

By default, there’s a variety of universal Windows apps that can be used with Windows Ink, including the updated Maps app, Edge, and the app version of OneNote.

Windows Store apps for Windows Ink
A healthy choice of apps makes Windows Ink more useful

In the Windows Store, you’ll find hundreds of new apps that work with a pen or touchscreen that you can download and use, too.

Windows Ink Demo

Troubleshooting Issues with Windows Ink

At the moment, some of the pen and touchscreen apps are buggy, including Maps which isn’t allowing all devices to draw a line between two points. Until Microsoft rolls out an update to the functionality of both Windows Ink and Maps, this issue will continue.

If you find you’re not getting a smooth stroke with a pen on your touchscreen or devices, you may need to invest in a better overall stylus. Cheap stylus’ just don’t work well when you’re really trying to write or draw on a device. Invest in something better, like an S-Pen for smoother control.

If Windows Ink doesn’t appear at all on your device, check with your manufacturer for the latest display drivers. If that still doesn’t work, I recommend contacting Microsoft Support for help with your specific hardware and Windows 10 installation.


Overall, Windows Ink is a pretty nifty feature if you’re using a touchscreen PC or device. Once you get the hang of how it works, it’s easy to see what the functionality can do for you, especially if you’re a visual note taking.

As more apps come out that support Windows Ink, I’m sure we’ll see some pretty awesome ways to capitalize on the technology and functionality in the future.