Pen compatible Apps - Which Ones?

I have a question about using the Pen. I don’t have any experience using one as this will be my first tablet.
So here goes:

What Windows applications support the use of the Pen?

What can I achieve with it assuming it can be used for note taking and drawing?

Would you need to purchase applications or out of the box Windows applications will do the job?

Thanks in advance



If you run Windows 10 you can always look at the Windows Ink Workspace. Everything there should support it.
But there is also the question of what you define as supporting use of the pen. If you mean that support means that the app is built with a pen in mind, look in the Windows Ink Workspace. If you mean that it accept pen input, pretty much anything will work.


This’ll be my first Windows tablet with Pen support too, but I’m greatly looking forward to using StaffPad (costs money). It’s a music composition program made for Surface/Pen devices.

As far as I know, OneNote (Metro version) comes preinstalled and that is a good note taking program with full pen support. You can draw or write whatever in it. The Office 365 version is better, but that does require an Office subscription.

Microsoft Edge allows you to take a screenshot of a webpage and write and draw all over it with the pen, and then save/share that. That’s preinstalled.

There’s probably heaps more apps with pen support, I just can’t think of any right now. If you think of the pen like a mouse, then every application technically supports it (even for just selecting stuff).


Thanks, I wasn’t aware of the Windows Ink application, I am stuck in the traditional windows 8.1 and windows servers world and no touch screens.

I had a look at this microsoft page for get more information

I have Office 365 so that will be useful to be using the O365 One Note version, I actually usually uses the Office installed version, but will start using my O365 version once I am up and running with the V.


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Practically any application supports the use of pen. In apps that don’t have special support for the pen, a tap of the pen is registered as if it was a mouse click, similar to how finger-touch on Windows laptop/tablet/desktop works. In addition to that, pen features that don’t require the app developer to customize their apps to support it, like palm rejection, will also work with all apps.

Assuming it has the same feature set as other N-Trig devices (Acer, Sony, Microsoft Surface, etc.):

  • Palm Rejection. When the tip of the pen is about 1-2 cm from the screen, all touch input will be ignored
  • Pressure sensitivity. The harder you press the pen, the thicker the line on the screen. This requires app developers to implement this feature.
  • Pen Buttons. On apps that don’t have special support for the pen, the buttons will act as right click modifier, that is when you tap on the screen, it is registered as a right click instead of left click. Apps that have the support can customize the function to however their like, usually one is for eraser and the other one is for making a selection.

Features that are NOT supported, once again assuming it has the same feature set as other N-Trig devices:

  • Tilt. The angle of the pen against the screen describes the drawing on the screen. For example, with the pencil tool, the more youre leaning the pen, the thicker -but lighter- the stroke is on the screen.

As @nawthor and @jimimatthews mentioned, Windows 10 has plenty of apps that are optimized for pen. You can use ink-optimized apps by visiting Windows Ink Workspace (the tiny pen icon on the taskbar). There are some neat tools there as well as suggestion of recommended Windows Store apps that are optimized for the pen.

In addition to Windows Store apps, Microsoft Office (2016 or 365) has inking support for annotation. Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and up also has support for the N-Trig pen.


Out of the box - not really. But if you want to take notes, you can use OneNote, which is free. And if you want to draw, pretty much any drawing app supports pens - at least the ones used by professionals. Examples are SketchBook, Photoshop.

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Drawboard is great application.

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Has anybody tried Mischief (an indie drawing programme) and can share their experience?
Just a random thought.

A great drawing & sketching app is Sketchable. While it’s not free, 10$ seems very fair for an app of that quality.

If you prefer vector drawing, you should give affinity designer a chance. It’s a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw.

Your go to note taking app will probably be OneNote, which is free in all versions, not only als Metro app. You can get the full desktop application for free without the need to have O365 at O365 is needed to have local notebooks, the free version only lets you use cloud services (as in the Metro app).


You can also visit the Microsoft Store and search for “Pen”.
It will give you some Apps that seem to work with the pen.

I shared my experience of using my Surface pen in a new thread.
Over here if you are interested.

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