Home Microsoft Microsoft announces massive improvements to the inking experience in OneNote on Windows

Microsoft announces massive improvements to the inking experience in OneNote on Windows

Microsoft OneNote Draw ink tab

Microsoft today announced massive improvements to the inking experience and Draw tab in OneNote on Windows. Microsoft rewrote the ink stack from the ground up to deliver an 85% improvement of ink latency. So, ink will render instantly when you draw using your Surface Pen on a Surface device. Microsoft has also added support for tactile signals when you ink using Surface Slim Pen 2 on a Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Pro 8.

In the coming months, Microsoft has plans to deliver improvements to ink quality, pencil and ink replay and a new pen focus view. Microsoft also has plans to add more features specifically for Math Assistant, such as Immersive Reader, Practice Quiz, and Graphing in the upcoming months.

Find the details of the new improvements below.

Improved inking features

Tactile Signals

Digital inking in OneNote not only looks better, it also feels more natural with new support for tactile signals. When inking with your Surface Slim Pen 2 on a Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Pro 8, you will feel small vibrations that mimic the feel of pen on paper. 

Note: Both the tactile signals and lower latency are also now available on OneNote for the web while inking with your Surface Slim pen 2 on compatible devices!

Ink Cursors  

Ink confidently with ink cursors! Now you can preview both the color and thickness of the tool you’ve selected as part of your cursor. This lets you know how your ink or eraser will appear on the canvas and reminds you of what tool you have selected. No more accidental marks.   

Ink Selection Improvements  

One of the magic elements of digital ink is that you can move and change it once it’s been drawn. We’ve listened to customer feedback and improved this experience for touch by increasing the hit target on your selected ink. Now, you can drag your ink with your finger from anywhere within the selected target, not just the center icon.   

Draw tab refresh

The new pens and highlighters in OneNote align with the inking tools in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Now once you select your pen you can change the color from that pen’s dropdown menu.


The thickness of your ink can be changed right from the dropdown menu of the pen you select, with 5 different thickness options.   

Recent Colors  

The Recent Colors menu makes it easy to access custom colors you’ve recently used within the Pen Menu dropdown, letting you define your own inking pallet for that pen in addition to the 16 default pen colors. 

 Effect Pens  

Add some sparkle to your notes with Effect Pens that come in options like Galaxy, Rainbow and Lava.   

More Colors 

Add more personalization to your inking tools with the infinite color options you can explore by selecting More Colors.  

Highlighter tool 

All the improvements we’ve made to the Pen tool also apply to the Highlighter tool. Select from 5 different thicknesses and 16 different default colors.  

Add Pen 

Easily add more tools to your toolbar as needed using the Add Pen button. You can add up to 15 pens of any type. 


This popular tool is now available in OneNote on Windows! Draw perfect lines at any angle by clicking on the Ruler button. 

Format Background   

Give structure to your blank canvas with Format Background. Now instead of having to switch to the View tab to access this feature, you can select it within the Draw tab. With Format Background you can add ruled lines or grid lines to your page to help guide your ink, or change the color of your page.  


We’ve consolidated the shapes experience in OneNote into a convenient dropdown menu, keeping all the shapes capabilities you know and love. Just click the Shapes button to dropdown a gallery of all the ink shapes you can create.   

Undo / Redo 

You can undo or redo any action right from the Draw tab. You no longer have to type Ctrl+Z on your keyboard or click back to the Home tab on the ribbon.   

Math Assistant

Math Assistant is here! This popular feature is now available in OneNote on Windows. OneNote can understand your handwritten equations and guide you through step-by-step solutions. You can work with real or complex numbers, and teachers can turn it off for their students while doing assignments in the Class Notebook. 

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