How to draw on the screen, highlight areas and insert notes with Windows Ink and the free Epic Pen. With the first Windows 10 update released one year after the final version of the operating system, Microsoft introduced Windows Ink. This tool facilitates interaction with touch screens using a stylus pen.
The Windows Ink Area icon appears in Windows 10 and 11 as soon as a digital pen is connected to the PC: it is shown in the tray bar, usually at the bottom right next to the clock, and allows access to a series of tools such as the whiteboard or whiteboard, the Capture & Annotate application, memos resembling post-it notes ( Memo app ). With all these apps, it is possible to interact with the digital pen, for example, to take notes and enter annotations.
In Windows 10, you can right-click the taskbar and then choose the Show Windows Ink Area button to show the icon, even when no digital pen is connected to the PC. In Windows 11, the Windows Ink icon only appears when a stylus is connected.
Draw On The Screen With Windows Ink
You can use the Snip and Annotate tool in Windows 10 to circle an item, highlight important information, add a note, or draw on the screen. The same software has been renamed to Snipping Tool in Windows 11.
Typing Keyboard Settings and choosing Accessibility Keyboard Settings in Windows 10, typing Keyboard Settings and selecting Accessibility Keyboard Settings, or pressing Windows+R then typing ms-settings: ease of access-keyboard to open the Keyboard window, you can activate Use the PRINT button to open the screen capture.
In both cases, I pressed the PRINT key to the screen’s contents to the Windows clipboard.
Using the tools above, it is possible to draw on the screen by intervening on the acquired image, adding notes, highlighting important information, circling areas of the image, etc. What has been created can then be copied ( CTRL+C ) and pasted CTRL+V ), saved as an image using the Save As icon ( CTRL+S ) or shared directly. For example, nothing prevents you from using the critical combination Windows+SHIFT+S to capture a specific area of the screen and intervene specifically on that.
Epic Pen: Write On The Screen Without Any Limitations
Those who often videoconference and are frequently engaged in online meetings know how useful it is, on many occasions, to highlight the screen to attract the attention of the participants.
Epic Pen is available in two versions: a free, completely free, and a paid Pro. The free version downloadable from this page allows you to use the pen tool, the highlighter, and the eraser. Still, above all, it will enable you to write on the entire screen while using any Windows (or macOS) application.
The difference between Epic Pen and Windows Ink is that with the former, you can draw comfortably on the screen even without a stylus. When starting Epic Pen, it asks if you want to try the Pro version immediately and activate the free trial period ( Start free trial ). If you choose, I want to use something other than Epic Pen Pro right now; Epic Pen is launched in the free version. At the end of the installation, it is still necessary to restart the PC (Epic Pen asks whether or not it should start automatically each time you enter Windows).
The operation of Epic Pen is intuitive: the application comes in the form of a compact vertical bar that can be freely repositioned on the screen. All its icons are hidden with a click on the eye symbol, leaving only two visible. By clicking on the Menu icon and then on Settings, you can ensure that Epic Pen remembers or not what you drew when you exit and then when you reopen the program ( Remember content after exit ). You also learn that by default, you can use the mouse wheel to vary the size of the stroke on the screen.
Scrolling down, you will find keyboard shortcuts ( Hotkeys ) which allow you to activate various actions. For example, pressing CTRL+SHIFT+3 activates the pen; CTRL+SHIFT+4 the highlighter; CTRL+SHIFT+5 the eraser. Pressing CTRL+SHIFT+2 returns you to the standard mouse pointer. The combination CTRL+Z allows you to undo a change on the screen, while with CTRL+SHIFT+1 and CTRL+SHIFT+7, you can hide the drawing or delete it completely.
All interventions can be carried out by acting on the Epic Pen icons: and remembering the main key combinations; however, the ghost mode can be activated ( Enable ghost mode box ). This way, the Epic Pen bar disappears entirely, and you can interact with the application using keyboard shortcuts. To proceed, click on the Menu icon and finally on the Close item.
To completely close Epic Pro, right-click its icon in the tray bar area and choose Exit Epic Pen.
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