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Feedback Friday: Improving the Windows Ink Workspace

With the success of the Windows Insider program, Microsoft now lets anyone give them formal feedback through the Feedback app. In this series we break down some of the most intriguing feedback and suggestions. We’ll do our best to dive into the lists of feedback rather than just have “dark theme everywhere.” This week we look at the Windows Ink Workspace.

Note that the links to feedback items work by opening the Feedback Hub in Windows 10.

The upcoming Anniversary Update to Windows 10 brings some nifty new features. One such feature is Windows Ink. This dedicated space includes pen related features such as Sketchpad, Screen Sketch, and pen enabled Sticky Notes. It also links you to pen friendly apps.

This feature hasn’t rolled out to the public but has been accessible to insiders for long enough to get some solid feedback.

This feedback actually calls for Windows Ink to have its own feedback section but one already exists. The somewhat confusing bit is that it’s in the “Desktop Environment” category. There’s an exchange between feedbackers and Microsoft that’s a bit more heated than I expected but “Archwizard B” asks a good question “Under the Desktop environment for something that is touch/pen interaction specific?”

While I understand that Windows Ink is part of the desktop environment, I think most people will associate it with pens. It seems like moving its category makes sense and wouldn’t be that difficult.

Windows Ink acts as it’s own little ecosystem. It’s in its early stages and could get greater integration in the future. This feedback calls for sticky notes to be pinnable to the desktop. Sticky notes were great on Windows 7 and a big part of that was their simple design. It would be great to combine the pen friendly nature of the new sticky notes with the classic setup.

This is my own little dream for Windows Ink. There are some left handed options on Windows. You can change your settings to your handwriting being left handed. You can even drag the taskbar to the left and make Windows Ink open from that side rather than from the right. But I prefer my taskbar on the bottom of my screen but would still like to have Windows Ink open from the left.

Maybe this would be more of an OS fix because Windows is oriented with certain elements on the left and the right. But at minimum I think pen specific features could be catered more to use by either hand.

While this specific piece of feedback refers to quitting the app, in general the Ink workspace does seem to be stuck in limbo as the feedbacker states. This doesn’t upset me the same way other issues might because Windows Ink is very new. I assume Microsoft is finding a place for it and hasn’t quite found what works best.

A few little things that this feedbacker and myself call for are the ability to open and close Sketchpad as if it were an app. At the moment when you open sketchpad and then switch to another app using the task switcher it closes and you have to re-open it. This seems a bit over complicated.

I can see this being confusing with so many drawing things already around. Between Paint, Fresh Paint, Windows Ink, and more you don’t want to simply duplicate features. Hopefully over time Microsoft can merge some of these functionalities or at least create some distinct roles for each program or feature.

Windows Ink Workspace is off to a good start. I wouldn’t say it’s great right now but Microsoft is investing heavy in pens and this is a manifestation of their commitment.

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