Sketch your way around Microsoft 365

Whether you want to write, annotate, illustrate or ideate, there’s a way to do it digitally with Microsoft 365.

Take a break from the keyboard and reap the creative and collaborative benefits of sketching within Microsoft 365 and the applications you are already using in your day-to-day.


Built as a notetaking tool, you may already have a bunch of OneNotes chock full of dutifully typed notes. If you’re not sketching in OneNote you are missing out some powerful and creative features.

Sketchnote: Step away from the keyboard and pick up your stylus to take your meeting notes in a more mindful way. Whether you just use your handwriting or whether you add images and diagrams, sketchnoting aids learning and makes your notes much more attractive.

Write notes and draw in OneNote for Windows 10

Get visual and start sketchnoting

Virtual Conference Experience #MVPSummit
Sketchnote created in OneNote using Surface Pro 7.

Diagram it: Sometimes the best way to illustrate a point or get to an idea is to actually illustrate it. For a quick sketch the draw and shape features allow you to easily draw and erase your ideas. Using the replay feature you can even playback what you have sketched.

Replay your sketchnotes in OneNote for Windows 10

Review: Save paper by pulling your document into OneNote to review it. Not only does it become searchable but you can use the pen, highlight and shape features to make notes on that article or draft in the same way as you would for the physical document. In OneNote it is searchable, shareable and accessible across your devices.

Send documents and files to OneNote for Windows 10

Academic paper imported into OneNote and annotated using Draw features.


Presentations are here to stay, but they don’t need to stay the same. The Draw tab is a reasonably recent addition in PowerPoint which strengthens it’s use not just as a presentation tool, but also as a collaboration and ideation tool.

Illustrate: Add a bit of personal flair to your PowerPoint presentation by adding your own drawings and diagrams. The Draw menu item in PowerPoint offers a variety of colours, weights and shapes giving you full control. If you’ve ever struggled to find the exact image or diagram you need, a quick sketch can solve the challenge.

How to: Personalise PowerPoint with your own sketches

Animate: Take that illustration to the next level by animating it. Use animation for an attractive transition, or go all the way and animate a process while you talk through the steps. Even better, save your slide as a gif to create a quick and easy animated image.

Make an animated GIF from a slideshow | Microsoft

An animated GIF of 5 figures being drawn, created in PowerPoint.

Annotate and emphasise: Don’t limit the drawing to slide preparation, take it into your meeting. Draw a circle around a point you are trying to highlight, make a note on a slide or even draw a diagram live.

Draw on slides during a presentation | Microsoft


I’ve been using Whiteboard for a while and will admit to being disappointed by the limitations, sometimes floating to OneNote for a more full-featured sketching experience. But Microsoft recently stepped up Whiteboards features. Whiteboard is great teams who want a collaborative space that’s easy to use, easy to access and a low barrier to entry.

Ideate: Just like you would on a physical whiteboard, take down ideas, create diagrams and throw up sticky notes. Share it in real-time with a link or present it in Teams and allow everyone to contribute from wherever they are.

Welcome to the new Whiteboard | Microsoft Tech Community

Use Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft

Microsoft Whiteboard collaboration demo.

Do you love sketching in Microsoft 365? Share your examples and tips in the comments.

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