I happened upon a blog post by the Office team yesterday which surprised me, because it talked about a feature in PowerPoint that Iâ€™ve wanted ever since I first got my Surface 2.
Hereâ€™s a link to documentation on how to use this feature in PowerPoint.
It seems like the obvious feature a tablet should have.
Here’s a video of me using it to draw a few random shapes:
But not just in PowerPoint â€“ this should be in Word, in OneNote, in Paint, and pretty much any app that accepts ink.
So hereâ€™s the blog post from Office noting that this feature will finally be available for OneNote in November.
On iPad, iPhone and Windows 10. Which I presume means itâ€™ll only be on the Windows Store / Metro / Modern / Immersive version of OneNote.
Thatâ€™s disappointing, because it should really be in every Office app. Hell, Iâ€™d update from Office 2013 tomorrow if this was a feature in Office 2016!
Please, Microsoft, donâ€™t stop at the Windows Store version of OneNote.
Shape recognition, along with handwriting recognition (which is apparently also hard), should be a natural part of my use of the Surface Pen. It should work the same across multiple apps.
Thatâ€™s only going to happen if itâ€™s present in multiple apps, and is a documented API which developers â€“ of desktop apps as well as Store apps â€“ can call into.
Well, desktop apps can definitely get that.
Iâ€™ll admit that I havenâ€™t had the time yet to build my own sample, but Iâ€™m hoping that this still works â€“ thereâ€™s an API called â€śInk Analysisâ€ť, which is exactly how you would achieve this in your app:
It allows you to analyse ink youâ€™ve captured, and decide if itâ€™s text or a drawing, and if itâ€™s a drawing, what kind of drawing it might be.
[Iâ€™ve marked this with the tag â€śAlunâ€™s Codeâ€ť because I want to write a sample eventually that demonstrates this function.]