Use a pen to draw, write, or highlight text on a Windows tablet

You can use a pen or stylus (or even your finger) to draw and write or highlight text on a Windows tablet. You can also convert hand-drawn forms to geometric shapes, and select and modify parts of what you draw.

Highlight text with a stylus or pen

Turn on the Draw tab to see inking tools

Note: This feature is only available if you have an Office 365 subscription. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure you have the latest version of Office. If you are using Office 2016 but aren't an Office 365 subscriber, the correct directions for you to read are on the "2013" tab of this article.

Inking tools are available on the Draw tab of the ribbon, but that tab is not, by default, turned on. To make the optional Draw tab visible:

  1. Open File > Options.

  2. Tap the Customize Ribbon tab in the Options dialog box.

  3. In the box on the right side of the dialog box, tap the check box labeled Draw.

    The Draw tab remains visible on the ribbon in this app until you return to this dialog box and turn off this option.

Write or draw, or highlight text

  1. Under Draw > Pens, choose a pen or highlighter.

    A small portion of the pen gallery is visible on the ribbon to begin with. You can expand the gallery by tapping the down arrow at the right edge to see more color and thickness options. There are also Color and Thickness drop-down menus to the right of the gallery.

    The Draw tab on the PowerPoint 2016 ribbon, with the Pen gallery shown below it
  2. On the touch screen, begin writing or drawing.

Once you have drawn an ink shape, it behaves like any shape that you are used to working with in Office. You can select the shape, then you can move or copy it, change its color, pivot its position, and so on.

In PowerPoint 2016 and Word 2016, you can convert hand-drawn shapes to standard Office graphic shapes by tapping Convert to Shapes on the Draw tab before you draw a shape.

Erase ink

  1. Under Draw > Tools, tap the Eraser.

    In PowerPoint 2016, you can choose from various erasers. Tap the down arrow on the Eraser button to pick the eraser that you want.

  2. With your pen or finger, drag the eraser over the ink you want to remove.

    With the Segment Eraser in PowerPoint, you can simply tap a segment of ink to remove it (rather than having to thoroughly wipe away the entire segment) or dragging across it. Dragging across segments is an easy way to erase several at once.

Convert ink drawings to shapes

Applies only to PowerPoint and Word

On a touch screen, you can convert ink drawings into common Office graphic shapes.

  1. On the Draw tab, before you draw a shape, tap Convert to Shapes.

  2. With a pen or your finger, draw a shape on the slide, and PowerPoint will automatically convert your drawing to the shape that looks most like it.

    See Convert ink to shapes with the Draw tab for a list of hand-drawn shapes that can be converted to standard Office shapes.

    Tip:  To stop converting ink drawings to shapes, click Convert to Shapes again.

Select parts of an ink drawing or written words

Applies to PowerPoint only

To select part of an ink drawing or written words, use the Lasso tool. (You cannot use the Lasso tool to select non-ink objects (shapes, pictures, etc.).

  1. Under Draw > Tools, tap Lasso Select The Lasso Select button on the Draw tab in PowerPoint .

  2. With your pen or finger, drag to draw a circle around the part of the drawing or word that you want to select. A faded, dashed selection region appears around it, and when you're done, the portion you lassoed will be selected.

    Shows portion of a drawing selected by Lasso Tool in PowerPoint

Find the drawing tools

Go to the Review tab and select Start Inking to display the Ink Tools and Pens tab.

Shows the Start Inking button on the Review tab in Office

Write or draw

  1. Under Ink Tools >Pens choose Pen.

    Shows the Pen button in Ink Tools in Office

  2. To change the ink color and stroke width, point to the color and width (0.35mm - 0.5mm) you want.

    Shows Pen style options in Office

  3. On the touch screen, begin writing or drawing.

    Shows an example of Inked words in a Word document

Draw a shape

  1. Under Ink Tools, on the Pens tab, click Pen.

  2. On the touch screen, draw a shape.

Highlight text

  1. Under Ink Tools, on the Pens tab, click Highlighter, and then pick a highlight color.

    Shows Highlighter button in Ink Tools

  2. Point and drag your pen or finger over the text that you want to highlight.

Note:  You can highlight text in Excel, Word, and Outlook, but PowerPoint doesn't support highlighting text.

Delete whole written words or ink drawings

  1. Under Ink Tools, on the Pens tab, click the arrow below Eraser, and then pick an eraser size.

    Shows Eraser button in Ink Tools in Office

  2. With your pen or finger, select the word or ink drawing that you want to erase.

Edit, ink, and convert shapes in PowerPoint

Delete parts of an ink drawing or parts of written words

Applies to PowerPoint only

  1. Under Ink Tools, on the Pens tab, click the arrow below Eraser, and then pick an eraser size.

    Shows Eraser button in Ink Tools in Office

  2. With your pen or finger, select parts of the ink drawing or text that you want to erase.

Select parts of an ink drawing or written words

Applies to PowerPoint only

To select part of a drawing or some written words, use the Lasso tool. (You cannot use the Lasso tool to select non-ink objects (shapes, pictures, etc.).

  1. Under Ink Tools, on the Pens tab, click Lasso Select.

    Shows Lasso Select button in Ink Tools

  2. With your pen or finger, drag to draw a circle around the part of the drawing or word that you want to select. A faded, dashed selection region appears around it, and when you're done, the portion you lassoed will be selected.

    Shows portion of a drawing selected by Lasso Tool in PowerPoint

Convert ink drawings to shapes

Applies to PowerPoint only

You can convert ink drawings on a touch screen into common shapes.

  1. Under Ink Tools > Pens, select Convert to Shapes.

    Shows the Convert to Shapes button in Ink Tools

  2. With a pen or your finger, draw a shape on the slide, and PowerPoint will automatically convert your drawing to the shape that looks most like it.

    Tip:  To stop converting shapes, click Convert to Shapes again.

Which shapes can PowerPoint convert?

When you create an ink drawing, PowerPoint can convert it to the shape that is most like it.

Ink drawing

Corresponding shape

Rectangle

A rectangle drawn with ink

Rectangle

A normal rectangle

Square

A ink drawing of a square

Rectangle with all sides equal

A normal square

Diamond

An ink drawing of a diamond

Diamond

A normal diamond

Parallelogram

A ink drawing of a parallelogram

Parallelogram

A normal parallelogram

Trapezoid

A ink drawing of a trapezoid

Trapezoid

A normal trapezoid

Irregular quadrilateral

A ink drawing of a quadrilateral

Closed freeform shape with four sides

A normal quadrilateral

Regular pentagon

A ink drawing of a pentagon

Pentagon with all sides equal

A normal pentagon

Regular hexagon

A ink drawing of a hexagon

Hexagon with all sides equal

A normal hexagon

Ellipse

A ink drawing of an ellipse

Ellipse

A normal ellipse

Circle

A ink drawing of a circle

Ellipse with shape height and width equal

A normal circle

Single-headed arrow

An ink drawing of an arrow

Arrow

A normal arrow

Double-headed arrow

An ink drawing of a double-headed arrow

Double arrow

A normal double-headed arrow

Arrows connecting two shapes

A line connecting two shapes

Arrow connectors

A connector between two shapes

Right triangle

A ink drawing of a right triangle

Triangle with right angle

A normal right triangle

Equilateral triangle

A ink drawing of an equilateral triangle

Triangle with all sides equal

A normal equilateral triangle

Isosceles triangle

A ink drawing of a isosceles triangle

Triangle with two equal sides

A normal isosceles triangle

Irregular triangle

A ink drawing of a scalene triangle

Closed freeform with three sides. A normal scalene triangle

For more information about using Office with Windows touch devices, see the following:

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