Microsoft continues to provide timely and extensive updates to their ever-expanding Office 365 suite of products. Whether it’s on the desktop or mobile, the company is taking care to ensure that Office apps don’t stagnate. The newest version of Office 2016 and Office Mobile for Windows 10 is offering up some enhanced drawing and annotation capabilities for touch- and pen-enabled devices.

Microsoft is specifically highlighting new annotation functionality, allowing you to take notes, highlight text, create shapes, and have mathematical equations automatically convert to text. Active pens (as opposed to a capacitive stylus) will be detected that inking will automatically be available. If you’re an Office Insider, then you’ll see this functionality today in Office 2016 (currently at version 16.0.6468.2025). If not, then you’ll have to wait until the production version catches up.


You’ll notice some differences between Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2016 regarding annotation options, based on the functionality that makes the most sense for each app.

Word 2016 annotations.

Excel 2016 annotations.

PowerPoint 2016 annotations.

Not to be left out, Office Mobile for Windows 10 also has extensive drawing and annotation functionality. You’ll need to be on the latest version of Windows 10 to see all of the available functionality.

Word Mobile for WIndows 10 annotations.

Excel Mobile for Windows 10 annotations.

PowerPoint Mobile for Windows 10 annotations.

Office has long had the ability to utilize a pen for notetaking, going all the way back to the Tablet PC days the preceded today’s modern tablet. We’re glad to see that it‘s not only the iPad Pro that’s getting some love from Microsoft in terms of utilizing active pens on touch-based devices.