Information Resources & Technology


Using digital ink to annotate a presentation

What is digital ink?

Would you like to sketch labels on your PowerPoint slides as you present? Do you enjoy giving chalkboard lectures but appreciate the powers of PowerPoint? The School of Medicine has installed tablet computers with digital ink capabilities to let you annotate PowerPoint during presentations in the LK120, LK130, LK101, LK102, LK005, LKSC Conference Center, and M106, M112, and M114 classrooms. Digital ink allows you to use a pen to add ink anywhere on your slides in a variety of colors, erase it as needed, and save the results into your file to distribute after your session.

Watch Dr. Gosling label and sketch an anatomy slide

What are examples of successful digital ink usage?

  1. Human Anatomy lecturers start with PowerPoint files containing rough outlines, but fill in and label nerves, bones, muscle and other structures as students follow along with colored pencils and paper
  2. Team learning facilitators jot down learners’ ideas on the tablet computer, adding new slides as necessary, and save the results to post online

In a recent study of the Human Health and Disease course, 41% of large lectures used digital ink to annotate slides. In addition to the statistics, individual responses to the tablet computers clearly demonstrate faculty support:

"Digital ink is awesome! Now that I've tried it, I can't wait to get digital ink for my laptop computer. They're giving us no excuse not to use this software." - Dr. Ben Barres, Professor Neurobiology and Development Biology

How do I use digital ink?

Digital ink is a simple component built into recent versions of PowerPoint. Bring your PowerPoint lecture on a USB memory stick and plug it into a podium. Start your slideshow like normal, and press the “PEN” button on the monitor when you want to use the pen to write.

Contact Educational Technology (650-723-6952 or ) to schedule a one-on-one training session on digital ink to help plan how to use it in your sessions.


click to download a printable version of instructions below

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