The “InkBias” registry key in OneNote

This week I was contacted by a fellow using OneNote and he had a couple of questions about inking. First, he wanted some help changing pen thickness (which was relatively easy to answer) and then he had a question about the "InkBias" registry key. It is a key that (may) exists at


It occurs to me that I never asked him why he wanted to know about this particular registry key or how he even bothered to find out about it. I guess years as a tester has made me take these questions in stride.

Anyway, here is the upshot on this key:

InkBias is the setting for controlling whether ON should treat ink as handwriting (in which case we analyze it for text so search for words can work) or drawing (we do not analyze it for text).

0 or not present means treat the ink as handwriting and drawing ( this is the default)

1 means all ink is treated as handwriting

2 means all ink is treated as a drawing.

You can see this by looking at the key as you toggle the Pen Mode setting on the Draw tab.


So if you have never changed this setting, the value will not be there, and OneNote will treat it the same as "0." This means any ink you add will be analyzed to see if it is letters or a drawing. If OneNote detects it is a drawing, it gets marked that way and the analyzer is done. If it detects it is handwriting, then we add the letters to the search index so that searching for words you wrote by hand is possible.

If you select to Create Drawings Only, we will not try to detect letters or words and all ink is labelled as a drawing.

Obviously, Create Handwriting Only means we will treat every ink stroke you create as a letter or word.

Anyway, this is where that key is controlled and what it does. I really wonder what made him notice this, though…

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (0)

Skip to main content