Windows 10’s Mail app will finally let you write emails with a stylus

Microsoft first got serious about digital inking in Windows 10 a year after the operating shipped. The software maker added Windows Ink in the aptly named Anniversary Update to improve stylus support for devices with a pen. Windows Ink was a good first step, and Microsoft has been gradually improving its inking across Windows 10 ever since. Microsoft is now finally bringing stylus support to the Mail app in Windows 10.

Windows Insiders can test the latest Mail app update, and it includes a new draw tab in the ribbon interface when you compose a new email. You can now write an entire email with a stylus if you like, and it’s something that has been strangely absent from Windows 10 for three years now. There are plenty of pen options and colors with this new feature, and it should ship in time for Microsoft’s next major Windows 10 update, currently codenamed Redstone 5. Microsoft is expected to make this update available in September, and the company is getting close to finalizing its feature set.

The addition of inking support in the Mail app and SwiftKey for Windows 10 could come at an important time for Windows 10 and its future on new dual-screen devices. Microsoft is currently developing clever modes for clever hardware with Windows 10, and the company is widely expected to unveil a special Surface notepad-like device soon.

References to the device, codenamed Andromeda, have been spotted a number of times in the Redstone 5 update, and Intel is preparing to support device makers to create a variety of similar dual-screen devices. These dual-screen devices will likely focus on stylus input to serve as notepads, and Dell is even reportedly working on its own dual-screen devices, alongside Lenovo and Asus.


It finally let’s you draw. But nobody wants your handwritten text.

I will probably still type my emails only because my handwriting is so bad. But I don’t mind signing the email with my personal hand written signature. Will try it out when it becomes available to general release.

You have no imagination.

Correct. Handdrawn attachments are fine.

But handwritten text should be converted into standard, fully searchable text, else its pointless.

You can already do that now – bring up a handwriting panel and you can have it read your handwriting and turn it into text (works pretty well, but I always have my keyboard attached). You don’t need this to achieve something as boring as that. I see this more as a "Hey, Mommy is on a business trip, do you want to draw her something at the bottom of this email message?". Or I’ve got these pictures I dropped into the email, let me circle the parts that are important and draw arrows to where they relate to the text I’ve used as captions.

This is not about replacing your normal text input. It’s about giving you the tools to augment those messages in small, creative ways. Of course you can do more with it, but at a certain point, there are better tools for that. But the mixing of text and ink is best done right within the email itself.

You can already do that now

I know. Thats a legacy feature which has been around for ages. It works really well.

I`m talking about the fact that Windows 10 is evolving to use inking in more parts of the UI, and that this progress means users will perceive more inconsistencies.

"How come I can write in an email but I cant write on the the subject line?" Is not an unreasonable question for a regular user whos not an expert.

Will it also finally let you disable autocorrect? I think that would be slightly more useful.

Settings → Devices → Typing → Turn off autocorrect

Not working for you?

Nope. The Mail app ignores this setting. There’s a long thread about this in the Microsoft’s Windows 10 forum with a lot of people complaining and no solution provided.

It’s been like this since freaking Windows 8, it’s unbelievable.

Force everyone to type emails
Stop teaching cursive
Introduce handwritten email

Great, now no one can read anything…

Because no one can hand-write in print?

No thank you.

Since it’s Microsoft, you have a choice.

Can it finally let you find an email you’re looking for? How about type ahead with search?

Look at the picture of the app. The sidebar. There’s a box that says search. It’s called the search box.

Wth is type ahead? I looked it up online and it sounds like it’s key buffering? Which does happen sometimes on my computer on poorly optimized websites and is INFURIATING. (Not the fault of the feature per se..). Anyway, I’m sure that’s not what you’re referring to…

Mail search was definitely terrible. Couldn’t find emails that I wanted, except occasionally when I had it search "online". It’s gotten better though. Not perfect, but rarely an issue anymore.

When are Normal Win10 users going to be able to enable focused inbox for their Gmail accounts in Outlook or Mail? That’s the real feature they need to ship..

I do think Focused Inbox is already there for Gmail, at least on the Mail app.

focus inbox already works. I use it with my Gmail and my Outlook account and works fine.

It works.. SOMETIMES. I’m fairly certain this is Google’s fault honestly and not wanting to obviate the need for their own Inbox system. When it works it’s a freaking Godsend. Don’t have to sift through a hundred emails looking for the important one (though, with the swipe feature of Win 10 Mail, I can at least get rid of the unimportant stuff quickly without opening it). It works more often on my phone version of Outlook oddly enough. Who knows.

MS has yet to get a single screen to device to work fully with touchscreen. I have little faith they can suddenly make dual screens work.

WinPhone 7&8 work well with touchscreen. The phones worked great, they just failed to reach market penetration.

But Windows 10 on a Surface with touchscreen works perfectly?

What issues are you referring to with Win 10 touchscreens? They work very well in my experience.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑