How to: Touchscreen pen annotation in Microsoft Windows 10

Annotate a pdf with pen in Windows 10

It is ridiculous that we still print out documents and scrawl all over them with a biro.  Not only is this terrible for the environment, but it’s expensive and wasteful for print resources.

Windows 10 has some built in features that enable you to annotate documents and websites.  Paired with the right hardware this can be a slick process which removes the need to print.  If you don’t have a copy of Windows 10 you can pick up a copy here.

Hardware wise we’re using a Dell XPS 13 which has a built in touchscreen (see more details of the Dell here).  For pen like annotation we’re using the Adonit Jot Pro – this is not expensive it retails at $22.49 on Amazon (see here).

Once you’ve got your PDF that you want to annotate, open up Microsoft’s OneNote desktop application.  You need to go to ‘Insert’ then ‘File Printout’ which will import the PDF:

Annotate PDF with pen in Windows 10

Once the PDF has loaded, click on Draw and select the Pen.  You can then annotate your PDF as you would do a normal document by touching the pen to the touchscreen:

Annotate a pdf with pen in Windows 10


A helpful tip when writing is to zoom in on the document to get finer granularity.

If you want to annotate a web page fire up Microsoft Edge (Windows 10’s new browser). Tap the icon with a pen on the right of the address bar.  You can save your notes (and the original webpage) to Microsoft’s OneNote service as was used above to annotate the pdf.


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