Meet the new Action Pen

By Office Feature PM on April 10, 2020

Hi everyone, Jessica Chen here with Mark Rideout, and we’re Program Managers on the Office Pen and Ink team.  

We’re excited to share some improvements to the ink experience in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

Office’s Action Pens

new Action Pen

In addition to our general Drawing Tools, we are bringing intelligent tools, optimized for core experiences to each app.  

To start, we’re introducing the Action Pen in Word. It helps you edit documents with ink gestures. This is an easier way to launch the ink editing experience in Word. It replaces the previous Ink Editor button that you had on the Draw tab in Word.  

How it works

Locate the Action Pen on the right side of the toolbox (next to the other drawing tools), select it and start using intelligent ink. 

The Action Pen will be coming to the other apps soon! 

Updated Toolbox

We conducted usability tests and found value in simplifying the set of tools availableWe’ve brought together all the relevant tools across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in one unified toolbox  the pensthe lasso tool and the eraser 

Lasso

Excel and PowerPoint have had the Lasso for a while, and now it’s coming to Word. You use the Lasso to select ink on your document. You can select individual strokes or entire words or shapes. Once selected, you can change, move, or delete the ink. 

How it works

1. Select the Lasso (it’s on the left end side of the toolbox).  

2. Draw around the ink you want to select. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. Whatever the shape, and it will be selected. 

Point Eraser

Another feature that PowerPoint has had for a while is now coming to Word: the Point EraserIt offers more precision than the stroke eraser, which erases whole stroke at once when you swipe across the ink. If you just want to erase part of an ink strokeuse the new Point EraserIt works similarly to an eraser on a real pencil. Only the ink you pass the eraser over will be erased. 

How it works

1. Select the Eraser (it’s next to the Lasso).

2. Click the Eraser down arrow, and then the Point Eraser.  

You’re ready to erase. 

new Action PenNote: The Point Eraser is not available for Excel yet.

Pen colors

We’ve noticed that users have primarily been changing pen colors rather than changing the pens themselves. To give you faster access to your favorite pen colors, we’rnow showing your most recently used pen colors.  

How it works

1. Select Pen or the Highlighter.  

2. Click the down arrow, and then select the color you want to apply from the Recent Colors section, right below Thickness. 

new Action PenAvailability

  • This feature is available to Office 365 subscribers that are Insider Fast users on Version 2002 (Build 12527.20040) or later. 
  • This is not available for Office 2019 or 2016. 

Feedback

We are actively working on this feature in Office, and your feedback is key to guiding improvements. Let us know what content or styles you’d like to see! If you have any feedback or suggestions, you can submit them by clicking Help > Feedback.  

Learn more about what information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!  

With the Office Insider newsletter, you can get the latest information about Insider features in your inbox once a month! Head to https://insider.office.com/newsletter to sign up! 

Posted in Excel, Feature Deep Dives, Insider Fast, Office Insiders, PowerPoint, Windows Desktop, Word

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