When it comes to using Ink in Microsoft Office, it’s been there for longer than you probably have realized. Even if you had a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, you probably never took advantage of it. The device was simply too heavy. Now, with the Surface Pro 3, you might have noticed the ability to use Ink is all throughout Office. It turns out it’s not just in OneNote. You can use it throughout the Office suite, you just have to look for it. Read on this post to make the most of the Surface Pen so that you can become an Inkmaster!
Inking in Word
Did you know that you can use ink when reviewing a document? I didn’t until Surface Pro 3. When you are reviewing a document, look for the Ink Comment button, it may be collapsed depending on the width of your screen.
Once you click it, you will see a new special comment box, just for inking.
Grab your stylus and start writing. It will automatically expand as you add more text.
You can also use the Start Inking button to start drawing on your document anywhere. As soon as you bring the stylus close to the screen in an Office app, the Pens menu will appear.
Once you click the button, the standard inking ribbon appears and you can write and draw all over your document.
You can use a variety of pen colors in addition to highlighters.
Inking in Outlook
You can also use Ink in Outlook of all places but it’s a bit more difficult to find. When you are replying to a message, click Popout to open the message in a unique window. If you remember, Outlook is actually launching an instance of Word for the text editor. By doing that, you can click Start Inking from the Review menu. When you do that, you can Ink in your reply along with using the highlighting features.
Inking in Excel
Ink will show up just about anywhere. All you have to do is wave the stylus over the screen in Excel and you will see the Pens menu show up. Click on it and you can start Inking to your heart’s content.
Inking in Excel is a great way to annotate things. Take a look.
Inking in PowerPoint
PowerPoint supports ink as well. Want to make some comments on someone’s slides? Just bust out your Surface Pen and make your notes.
Ink in Lync
When you are conducting an online meeting with Lync, it supports Ink as well…sort of. You can use the whiteboard feature in a meeting. It works ok, but it’s not really designed for a stylus. It doesn’t feature any of the standard menus nor does the eraser function work when you press the bottom button on the Surface Pen. You can still draw some things with a stylus, but it would be nice to see an update.
Ink in Visio
Like the Lync team, the Visio team apparently decided to go with their own Ink implementation as the controls are a bit different. Hovering the stylus over the screen will not activate a Pens menu in Visio. Instead, you need to go to the Review menu and click on Ink.
Here you have a choice between a Ballpoint Pen and Highlighter. However the icons in which you select them are different. After you select the tool you want then you have to select the Color and Weight.
Once you draw on the diagram, it will create a shape automatically for whatever you draw (if you have the option checked).
It also features highlighting tools.
Ink is everywhere in Office
It doesn’t matter what Office application you are using, chance are you can use your Surface Pen in it. I find that this has already transformed the way I work. Even when I am using the mouse, I often keep the Surface Pen in my hand so that I can mark on something with ease. I use it to review documents, take notes, and annotate. Having the Surface Pen in your set of tools gives you a slight advantage when you are working on Office documents. Maybe, it’s not for everyone, but once you get used to using it, it’s hard to go back. In fact you wish your colleagues had a stylus too when they are working on documents with you!
Be sure and check out my complete Surface Pro 3 review if you are considering one.