3 Ways to get started with Windows Ink

Students collaborating on a Windows device.

Microsoft Education provides teachers with 21st century tools that offer powerful new ways to engage and inspire students.  Windows Ink is just one useful tool to have in hand for students looking to improve creativity, comprehension, and learning outcomes. With Windows Ink, it can spark up to 36 percent increases in favorable STEM outcomes alone.

To get you started within the Windows Ink Workspace, we’ve created three easy ways for you to experience all that Windows Ink can do. Once you try these, you can easily use inking in your class with your students, to provide feedback on assignments, and to invite class collaboration. And while digital inking pairs well with Surface Pro, you can find other suitable devices recommended for educators by our Device Finder.

Windows Ink newcomers, try these features first:

Sticky notes


Sticky Notes allow you to create and save notes to your Windows machine and customize them in little ways, whether its size or color. You can also ask Cortana, the Windows digital assistant, to create reminders from your notes that will flow with you across your devices.

Sketch Pad


Sketch Pad is a simple, blank canvas on which you and your students can quickly and easily draw an idea, doodle, create, and solve problems. You can use your hands more naturally, too – you can rest your palm down when writing and intuitively use your other hand to bring up a digital ruler for writing straight lines, just like on paper. You can then easily save and share your ideas when you’re done.

Screen sketch


Screen sketch lets you and your students draw on a screen capture of the entire desktop, allowing you to collaborate on documents as though you would with pen and paper. You can even add a personal touch to a standout picture you saw in the Photos app, then easily share it with the rest of the world.

Here’s how to get started with an Ink compatible device:

  1. Get Office 365 Education FREE for students and teachers
  2. Select the pen icon to open the workspace or click the back of your pen. (From here, you can open your Sticky Notes, or sketchpad, or draw all over whatever you’re doing on your PC by using screen sketch.)
  3. Start Inking

Note: If you don’t have a pen, you can turn on the workspace and write by using a mouse, or your fingers by right-clicking or pressing on the taskbar, and then selecting “Show Windows Ink Workspace” button.

Use Ink with OneNote Online


As we announced recently, we’re bringing inking and the Draw tab to OneNote Online and letting you make your mark with ink or highlighter while in the browser. OneNote now has the flexibility on any device to support students whether they’re writing by hand with the stylus, typing, recording audio/video of lectures, snapping a picture, or clipping research from the web – whatever the format, OneNote saves it all. Students can find their notes in any form with OneNote’s powerful search, which spreads across all saved notes and includes handwritten work.

Teachers can also prepare lessons and assignments from any device, reducing not only paperwork, but also the time spent on grading assignments in Class Notebook, or creating reports for administrators or parents.

Inking is currently available to all customers using OneNote Online in the Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome browsers.

What educators think about Ink


“Microsoft offers the best ecosystem for education. The Surface with Windows Ink combined with Office 365 and OneNote Class notebooks enables our teachers to build and deliver incredible learning experiences. Students simply write their math homework, type their essays, and do worksheets in their OneNote notebook using digital ink. The icing on the cake is they don’t need an internet connection to do this. The technology just works whether they are connected or not.“

Kimberly Mecham, Director of Information & Communication Technology, St Thomas School, Medina, WA, USA

“Keyboards get in the way of creativity and Windows 10 on a pen-based tablet is an ecosystem that finally takes all the advantages of paper and makes it more effective, collaborative, and efficient. Inking, either on Edge or OneNote, not only makes student thinking visible, it captures, stores and distributes their learning for their, and my, convenience.”

Cal Armstrong, Mathematics Teacher, Appleby College, Canada

For more on Microsoft Ink and using it to teach the way you want, visit our Windows Ink page.

Our mission at Microsoft is to equip and empower educators to shape and assure the success of every student. Any teacher can join our effort with free Office 365 Education, find affordable Windows devices and connect with others on the Educator Community for free training and classroom resources.

Browse affordable devices starting at $219