How to use the ink features in Microsoft Office

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If you like to doodle your words, shapes, or equations, you can use the ink features of Microsoft Office to convert those items. With Ink to Text, Ink to Shape, and Ink to Math, you can turn your doodles into usable items.

Another useful ink feature is Ink Replay. With it, you can reproduce the drawings from start to finish. This is convenient for documents, spreadsheets, or slides full of handwritten markup that you want to decipher.

Microsoft Office Ink Features

You can use Ink to Shape, Ink to Math, and Ink Replay in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. PowerPoint also offers an additional tool called Ink to Text. Each feature works slightly differently from another and differently in PowerPoint than it does in Word and Excel.

Ink features are available in versions of Microsoft Office, including 2016 and later, along with Microsoft 365 on Windows and Mac. However, the Ink Replay feature is only available to Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Using ink to shape

With the Ink to Shape tool, you can draw a shape, connector line, or arrow and convert it to the graphical Office equivalent for a nice, uncluttered look.

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Word and Excel

Head over to your document or spreadsheet and go to the Draw tab. Select “Ink to Shape” in the Convert section of the ribbon.

Ink to shape on the Draw tab in Word

Warning: Be sure to select the button to enable the feature before drawing your shape.

Choose a drawing tool and draw the shape. You should immediately see it converted to the Office equivalent.

PowerPoint

Unlike Word and Excel, you don’t select the Ink to Shape button before drawing your shape. Instead, draw the shape first.

Then use the Select or Lasso tool to select the shape. Then click the Ink to Shape button on the ribbon or icon at the top right of the drawing.

Ink to Shape for selected shape in PowerPoint

If your converted shape doesn’t look quite right, select the three dots that show up after you convert it. You can then choose a different shape.

Tips for a converted shape in PowerPoint

Use the ink for math

With Ink to Math, you can draw your equation and then convert the numbers and symbols to Office equivalents, similar to the Ink to Shape feature. For more details on using this ink equation editor, check out our full tutorial.

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Word and Excel

On the Draw tab, select “Ink to Math” in the Convert section of the ribbon. Draw your equation in the Write Math Here area.

Ink to Math on the Draw tab in Word

If everything looks correct, click “Insert” to insert the equation into your document or spreadsheet. If you need to make corrections before inserting it, use the Erase or Select and Correct tools in the window.

PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, you can use the same equation editor described above, or draw your equation right next to it and then convert it.

To use the editor, go to the Draw tab, click the drop-down arrow for Ink to Math, and select “Open Ink Equation Editor.” You can then use it to draw your equation and make any necessary corrections.

To convert your equation, use a drawing tool to draw it on the slide. Then choose the Select or Lasso tool to select the equation.

Click the Ink to Math button on the ribbon or the icon at the top right of the equation to convert it.

Like the Ink to Shape function above, select the three dots at the top right of the equation if it appears incorrectly and you want to see the hints.

Use ink to send text

As mentioned, the Ink to Text feature is currently only available in PowerPoint. And it works similarly to the other ink functions.

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Go to the Draw tab and use a tool to doodle your title, subtitle or other text. Use the lasso tool to select the text.

Lasso to select text in PowerPoint

Click the Ink to Text button on the ribbon or the icon at the top right of the text to convert it.

Ink to Text for selected text in PowerPoint

Like the other ink features, select the three dots at the top right of the text to see additional tips.

Tips for converted text in PowerPoint

Use ink repeat

Ink Replay is one of those features you’ll appreciate if you have a document, spreadsheet, or slide that contains a lot of markup like circles, arrows, and text. Just click the button and watch each drawing appear as it was originally drawn.

Note: You cannot use Ink Replay after you have converted the ink to a shape, math, or text.

Go to the Draw tab and select “Ink Rendering” in the Ribbon Rendering section.

Ink Replay on the Draw tab in PowerPoint

You don’t have to select anything first. The feature then plays all the drawings as a video for you to view.

You can use the playback bar at the bottom to play, pause, rewind, and fast-forward the playback. But you can also use it to slowly move through the replay. Just move the point on the slider yourself instead of using the play button.

Use the Ink Replay slider to slow down playback

Note: You cannot use Ink Replay as a presentation video in PowerPoint. It’s only available in the edit mode you use to create your slideshow. However, as a workaround, you can record your screen while in edit mode and then insert the video into the presentation.

If you like to draw shapes, doodle equations, or annotate text, you can easily convert these items so they look great in your Office documents using the ink features. Try them!

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