How to select ink strokes (HTML)

Applies to Windows only

Learn how to select ink strokes in a Windows Store app using JavaScript.

Updates for Windows 8.1:  Windows 8.1 introduces a number of updates and improvements to the pointer input APIs. See API changes for Windows 8.1 for more info.

Because an app that supports inking needs to differentiate between input that is intended for drawing ink strokes and input that is intended for selecting ink strokes, selection is typically implemented as a modal state.

After a user selects the ink stroke, a user can perform basic editing tasks:

Selection can be activated in different ways: through an app bar command or when a user holds down a barrel button. Barrel buttons are useful because they reduce round-trips between the drawing surface and the app bar.

Note  We recommend that your app support all options and device capabilities because barrel button functionality isn't as discoverable as an app bar command and not all devices include barrel buttons.

Here, we show a single canvas drawing surface used to accept both ink strokes and selection strokes based on an input state specified by the user.

InkManipulationMode specifies the behavior of any new strokes drawn by the user. By default, in selecting mode, new strokes are displayed on the drawing surface but are not rendered, and disappear when the user lifts the pen. The user selects existing strokes when they draw a closed loop around them.

The code in this how-to demonstrates this default behavior. The ink platform also provides two other modes of selection that you can opt into if you prefer: SelectWithLine and SelectWithPolyLine.

What you need to know

Technologies

Prerequisites

We build on Quickstart: Capturing ink data.

We assume that you can create a basic Windows Store app using JavaScript that uses the Windows Library for JavaScript template.

Instructions

Step 1: Create an ink manager

Initialize an InkManager object that will process and manipulate the ink-related data obtained from the pointer input.


        // Create an ink manager.
        // InkManager is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260648.
        var inkManager = new Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManager();


Step 2: Define initial stroke settings

Each InkManipulationMode has unique stroke settings to indicate to the user which mode they are in. By default, this example starts in inking mode with the specified stroke settings.


        // Initial stroke property values.
        var strokeColor;
        var strokeWidth;


Step 3: Enable mode selection

Provide a way for your user to choose the InkManipulationMode.

First, we declare a set of mode buttons.


<body>
<div id="applicationTitle">Ink sample</div>
<div>
    <canvas id="inkCanvas"></canvas>
    <div>
        <button id="load">Load</button>
        <button id="save">Save</button>
        <button id="draw">Draw</button>
        <button id="select">Select</button>
        <button id="selectall">Select all</button>
        <button id="erase">Erase</button>
        <button id="eraseAll">Erase all</button>
        <button id="recognize" value="selected">Handwriting recognition</button>
    </div>
</div>
<div id="modeMessage"></div>
<div id="deviceMessage"></div>
<div id="statusMessage"></div>
</body>


Then, we declare an event listener.


get("select").addEventListener("click", selectStrokes, false);


Finally, we define the stroke settings in the click event handler for each mode button.


    // Set up draw mode.
    function drawStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.inking;
        strokeColor = "black";
        strokeWidth = 2;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }

    // Set up selection mode.
    function selectStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.selecting;
        strokeColor = "red";
        strokeWidth = 1;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }

    // Set up erase mode.
    function eraseStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.erasing;
        strokeColor = "gold";
        strokeWidth = 1;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }


Step 4: Select all strokes

Provide the option of selecting all strokes at one time.


// Select all strokes handler.
function selectAllStrokes() {
    inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.selecting;
    strokeColor = "red";
    strokeWidth = 1;
    modeMessage.innerText = "Select all strokes.";
    // Iterate through each stroke.
    inkManager.getStrokes().forEach(
        function (stroke) {
            stroke.selected = 1;
        }
        );
    renderAllStrokes();
}


Step 5: Re-render strokes after selection

The renderAllStrokes function uses the inkManager to process each stroke segment through the bezierCurveTo method. Each stroke is redrawn using the appropriate stroke settings. (When a user selects a stroke, the stroke width is doubled and the color is set to green.)


// Render all strokes using bezier curves instead of line segments.
function renderAllStrokes()
{
    statusMessage.innerText += "Render strokes as bezier curves."

    // Clear the drawing surface of existing strokes.
    inkContext.clearRect(0, 0, inkCanvas.width, inkCanvas.height);

    // Iterate through each stroke.
    inkManager.getStrokes().forEach(
        function (stroke)
        {
            inkContext.beginPath();
            if (stroke.selected) {
                inkContext.lineWidth = stroke.drawingAttributes.size.width * 2;
                inkContext.strokeStyle = "green";
            } else {
                inkContext.lineWidth = stroke.drawingAttributes.size.width;
                inkContext.strokeStyle = "black";
            }

            // Enumerate through each line segment of the stroke.
            var first = true;

            stroke.getRenderingSegments().forEach(
                function (segment)
                {
                    // Move to the starting screen location of the stroke.
                    if (first)
                    {
                        inkContext.moveTo(segment.position.x, segment.position.y);
                        first = false;
                    }
                    // Calculate the bezier curve for the segment.
                    else
                    {
                        inkContext.bezierCurveTo(segment.bezierControlPoint1.x,
                                                 segment.bezierControlPoint1.y,
                                                 segment.bezierControlPoint2.x,
                                                 segment.bezierControlPoint2.y,
                                                 segment.position.x, segment.position.y);
                    }
                }
            );
            
            // Draw the stroke.
            inkContext.stroke();
            inkContext.closePath();
        }
    );
}


Remarks

This example uses the default selection behavior of the ink platform for Windows 8. The platform provides two other modes of selection that you can opt into: SelectWithLine and SelectWithPolyLine.

Complete example


//// THIS CODE AND INFORMATION IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF
//// ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
//// THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND/OR FITNESS FOR A
//// PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
////
//// Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved

// Windows Store app that demonstrates the use of the Windows.UI.Input.Inking APIs.

// Ink functionality is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260649.
// User interaction functionality is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260650.
// Ink APIs are documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260652.
// Pointer APIs are documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260653.

(function ()
{
    "use strict";

    //
    // Global variables
    //

        // UI object references.
        var inkCanvas;
        var inkContext;
        var modeMessage;
        var deviceMessage
        var statusMessage;

        // Create an ink manager.
        // InkManager is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=260648.
        var inkManager = new Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManager();

        // Initial pointer values.
        var pointerId = -1;
        var pointerDeviceType = null;

        // Initial stroke property values.
        var strokeColor;
        var strokeWidth;

    //
    // End global variables
    //

    // Obtain reference to the specified element.
    function get(elementId)
    {
        return document.getElementById(elementId);
    }

    function initialize()
    {
        // Set up the UI.
        inkCanvas = get("inkCanvas");
        inkContext = inkCanvas.getContext("2d");

        inkContext.lineCap = "round";
        inkContext.lineKJoin = "round";

        inkCanvas.width = window.innerWidth - 10;
        inkCanvas.height = window.innerHeight * 0.5;

        deviceMessage = get("deviceMessage");
        deviceMessage.innerText = "Undefined";
        modeMessage = get("modeMessage");
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
        statusMessage = get("statusMessage");
        statusMessage.innerText = "No pointer input detected."

        // Set initial ink mode.
        drawStrokes();

        // Set default recognition language.
        if (!setRecognizerByName("Microsoft English (US) Handwriting Recognizer")) {
            statusMessage.innerText += "\nRecognition: Failed to find English (US) recognizer.";
        }
        else {
            statusMessage.innerText += "\nRecognition: English (US) recognizer.";
        }

        // Set up the handlers for input processing.
        inkCanvas.addEventListener("pointerdown", onPointerDown, false);
        inkCanvas.addEventListener("pointermove", onPointerMove, false);
        inkCanvas.addEventListener("pointerup", onPointerUp, false);

        get("save").addEventListener("click", saveStrokes, false);
        get("load").addEventListener("click", loadStrokes, false);
        get("draw").addEventListener("click", drawStrokes, false);
        get("select").addEventListener("click", selectStrokes, false);
        get("selectall").addEventListener("click", selectAllStrokes, false);
        get("erase").addEventListener("click", eraseStrokes, false);
        get("eraseAll").addEventListener("click", eraseAllStrokes, false);
        get("recognize").addEventListener("click", recognizeStrokes, false);
    }
    document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded", initialize, false);

    function getPointerDeviceType(pId)
    {
        var pointerDeviceType;
        var pointerPoint = Windows.UI.Input.PointerPoint.getCurrentPoint(pId);
        switch (pointerPoint.pointerDevice.pointerDeviceType)
        {
            case Windows.Devices.Input.PointerDeviceType.touch:
                pointerDeviceType = "Touch";
                break;

            case Windows.Devices.Input.PointerDeviceType.pen:
                pointerDeviceType = "Pen";
                break;

            case Windows.Devices.Input.PointerDeviceType.mouse:
                pointerDeviceType = "Mouse";
                break;
            default:
                pointerDeviceType = "Undefined";
        }
        deviceMessage.innerText = pointerDeviceType;
        return pointerDeviceType;
    }

    // Occurs when the pointer (touch, pen, mouse) is detected by the canvas.
    // Each stroke begins with onPointerDown.
    function onPointerDown(evt)
    {
        // Get the device type for the pointer input.
        pointerDeviceType = getPointerDeviceType(evt.pointerId);

        // Process pen and mouse (with left button) only. Reserve touch for manipulations.
        if ((pointerDeviceType === "Pen") || ((pointerDeviceType === "Mouse") && (evt.button === 0)))
        {
            statusMessage.innerText = pointerDeviceType + " pointer down: Start stroke. "

            // Process one pointer at a time.
            if (pointerId === -1)
            {
                var current = evt.currentPoint;

                // Start drawing the stroke.
                inkContext.beginPath();
                inkContext.lineWidth = strokeWidth;
                inkContext.strokeStyle = strokeColor;

                inkContext.moveTo(current.position.x, current.position.y);

                // Add current pointer to the ink manager (begin stroke).
                inkManager.processPointerDown(current);

                // The pointer id is used to restrict input processing to the current stroke.
                pointerId = evt.pointerId;
            }
        }
        else
        {
            // Process touch input.
        }
    }

    // Mouse: Occurs when the pointer moves.
    // Pen/Touch: Occurs at a steady rate (approx. 100 messages/second) whether the pointer moves or not.
    function onPointerMove(evt)
    {
        // Process pen and mouse (with left button) only. Reserve touch for manipulations.
        if ((pointerDeviceType === "Pen") || ((pointerDeviceType === "Mouse") && (evt.button === -1)))
        {
            statusMessage.innerText = pointerDeviceType + " pointer move: Draw stroke as lines. "
            // The pointer Id is used to restrict input processing to the current stroke.
            // pointerId is updated in onPointerDown().
            if (evt.pointerId === pointerId)
            {
                var current = evt.currentPoint;

                // Draw stroke in real time.
                inkContext.lineTo(current.rawPosition.x, current.rawPosition.y);
                inkContext.stroke();

                // Add current pointer to the ink manager (update stroke).
                inkManager.processPointerUpdate(current);
            }
        }
        else
        {
            // Process touch input.
        }
    }

    // Occurs when the pointer (touch, pen, mouse) is lifted from the canvas.
    // Each stroke ends with onPointerUp.
    function onPointerUp(evt)
    {
        // Process pen and mouse (with left button) only. Reserve touch for manipulations.
        if ((pointerDeviceType === "Pen") || ((pointerDeviceType === "Mouse") && (evt.button === 0)))
        {
            statusMessage.innerText = pointerDeviceType + " pointer up: Finish stroke. "
            if (evt.pointerId === pointerId) {
                // Add current pointer to the ink manager (end stroke).
                inkManager.processPointerUp(evt.currentPoint);

                // End live drawing.
                inkContext.closePath();

                // Render strokes using bezier curves.
                renderAllStrokes();

                // Reset pointer Id.
                pointerId = -1;
            }
        }
        else
        {
            // Process touch input.
        }
    }

    // Render all strokes using bezier curves instead of line segments.
    function renderAllStrokes()
    {
        statusMessage.innerText += "Render strokes as bezier curves."

        // Clear the drawing surface of existing strokes.
        inkContext.clearRect(0, 0, inkCanvas.width, inkCanvas.height);

        // Iterate through each stroke.
        inkManager.getStrokes().forEach(
            function (stroke)
            {
                inkContext.beginPath();
                if (stroke.selected) {
                    inkContext.lineWidth = stroke.drawingAttributes.size.width * 2;
                    inkContext.strokeStyle = "green";
                } else {
                    inkContext.lineWidth = stroke.drawingAttributes.size.width;
                    inkContext.strokeStyle = "black";
                }

                // Enumerate through each line segment of the stroke.
                var first = true;

                stroke.getRenderingSegments().forEach(
                    function (segment)
                    {
                        // Move to the starting screen location of the stroke.
                        if (first)
                        {
                            inkContext.moveTo(segment.position.x, segment.position.y);
                            first = false;
                        }
                        // Calculate the bezier curve for the segment.
                        else
                        {
                            inkContext.bezierCurveTo(segment.bezierControlPoint1.x,
                                                     segment.bezierControlPoint1.y,
                                                     segment.bezierControlPoint2.x,
                                                     segment.bezierControlPoint2.y,
                                                     segment.position.x, segment.position.y);
                        }
                    }
                );
                
                // Draw the stroke.
                inkContext.stroke();
                inkContext.closePath();
            }
        );
    }

    // Set up draw mode.
    function drawStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.inking;
        strokeColor = "black";
        strokeWidth = 2;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }

    // Set up selection mode.
    function selectStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.selecting;
        strokeColor = "red";
        strokeWidth = 1;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }

    // Set up erase mode.
    function eraseStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.erasing;
        strokeColor = "gold";
        strokeWidth = 1;
        modeMessage.innerText = inkManager.mode;
    }

    // Select all strokes handler.
    function selectAllStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.selecting;
        strokeColor = "red";
        strokeWidth = 1;
        modeMessage.innerText = "Select all strokes.";
        // Iterate through each stroke.
        inkManager.getStrokes().forEach(
            function (stroke) {
                stroke.selected = 1;
            }
            );
        renderAllStrokes();
    }

    // Select all strokes handler.
    function eraseAllStrokes() {
        inkManager.mode = Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkManipulationMode.inking;
        strokeColor = "black";
        strokeWidth = 2;
        modeMessage.innerText = "Erase all strokes.";
        // Iterate through each stroke.
        inkManager.getStrokes().forEach(
            function (stroke) {
                stroke.selected = 1;
            }
            );
        inkManager.deleteSelected();
        renderAllStrokes();
    }

    // Save all strokes owned by inkManager.
    function saveStrokes()
    {
        // Ensure that strokes exist before calling saveAsync.
        if (inkManager.getStrokes().size > 0)
        {
            // Set up the file save screen.
            var savePicker = Windows.Storage.Pickers.FileSavePicker();
            savePicker.suggestedStartLocation = Windows.Storage.Pickers.PickerLocationId.picturesLibrary;
            savePicker.fileTypeChoices.insert("GIF with embedded ISF", [".gif"]);
            savePicker.defaultFileExtension = ".gif";

            // Set up the stream.
            var saveStream = null;

            // Asynchronously save the ink data to the stream.
            savePicker.pickSaveFileAsync().done(
            function (file)
            {
                if (null !== file)
                {
                    file.openAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.readWrite).then(
                        function (stream)
                        {
                            saveStream = stream;
                            return inkManager.saveAsync(saveStream);
                        }
                    ).then(
                        function ()
                        {
                            return saveStream.flushAsync(); 
                        },
                        function (e) {
                            // Override the standard saveAsync error with our own.
                            throw new Error("saveAsync");
                        }
                    ).done(
                        function ()
                        {
                            statusMessage.innerText = "Strokes saved as GIF with embedded ISF (.gif).";
                            saveStream.close();
                        },
                        function (e) {
                            statusMessage.innerText = "Save: " + e.toString();
                            // Close the stream if open.
                            if (saveStream) {
                                saveStream.close();
                            }
                        }
                    );
                }
            }
        );
        }
        else
        {
            statusMessage.innerText = "No strokes to save.";
        }
    }

    // Load strokes into an inkManager.
    function loadStrokes()
    {
        // Set up the file open screen.
        var openPicker = Windows.Storage.Pickers.FileOpenPicker();
        openPicker.suggestedStartLocation = Windows.Storage.Pickers.PickerLocationId.picturesLibrary;
        openPicker.fileTypeFilter.replaceAll([".gif"]);

        // Set up the stream.
        var loadStream = null;

        // Asynchronously load the ink data from the stream.
        openPicker.pickSingleFileAsync().done(
            function (file)
            {
                if (null != file)
                {
                    file.openAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.read).then(
                        function (stream) {
                            loadStream = stream;
                            return inkManager.loadAsync(loadStream);
                        }).done(
                            function()
                            {
                                var strokes = inkManager.getStrokes().length;
                                if (strokes === 0)
                                {
                                    statusMessage.innerText = "No strokes in file.";
                                }
                                else
                                {
                                    statusMessage.innerText = strokes + " strokes loaded.";
                                }
                                renderAllStrokes();
                                loadStream.close();
                            },
                            function (e)
                            {
                                statusMessage.innerText = "Load failed.";
                                if (loadStream)
                                {
                                    // Close the stream if open.
                                    loadStream.close();
                                }
                            });
                }
            });
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Finds a specific recognizer, and sets the inkManager's default to that recognizer.
    /// Returns true if successful.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="recognizerName">The name of the handwriting recognizer.</param>
    function setRecognizerByName(recognizerName) {
        try {
            // recognizers is a normal JavaScript array
            var recognizers = inkManager.getRecognizers();
            for (var i = 0, len = recognizers.length; i < len; i++) {
                if (recognizerName === recognizers[i].name) {
                    inkManager.setDefaultRecognizer(recognizers[i]);
                    return true;
                }
            }
        }
        catch (e) {
            displayError("setRecognizerByName: " + e.toString());
        }
        return false;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Invoked when the "Handwriting recognition" button is pressed.
    /// The ink manager processes all strokes through recognizeAsync, which returns 
    /// the number of words detected and a set of recognition results for each word. 
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="evt">The event object.</param>
    function recognizeStrokes(evt) {

        // Ensure ink strokes exist before calling recognizeAsync.
        if (inkManager.getStrokes().length > 0) {
            // recognizeAsync fails if other recognition tasks are in progress.
            try {
                // The ink manager is used to store the recognition results.
                // recognizeAsync has 3 modes: all | selected | recent.
                // For this example, we process all strokes.
                // recognizeAsync is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=265172.
                inkManager.recognizeAsync(Windows.UI.Input.Inking.InkRecognitionTarget.all).done
                (
                    // The recognitionResult object returned by recognizeAsync exposes the 
                    // bounding rect, strokes, and text candidates for each word. 
                    // In this example, we simply display the word count and recognition results.
                    function (results) {
                        // recognizeAsync does not automatically update existing recognition results in the ink manager.
                        // updateRecognitionResults is documented at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=265175.
                        inkManager.updateRecognitionResults(results);

                        var x = inkManager.getRecognizers();

                        // Display the number of words returned in results.
                        statusMessage.innerText = "Words recognized: " + results.length.toString();

                        // Iterate through each word and display the ranked list of possible matches.
                        for (var i = 0; i < results.length; i++) {
                            statusMessage.innerText += "\nWord" + (i+1).toString() + ":";
                            var alts = results[i].getTextCandidates();
                            for (var j = 0; j < alts.length; j++) {
                                statusMessage.innerText += " " + alts[j].toString();
                            }
                        }
                    },
                    function (e) {
                        displayError("InkManager::recognizeAsync: " + e.toString());
                    }
                );
            }
            catch (e) {
                displayError("recognize: " + e.toString());
            }
        }
        else {
            statusMessage.innerText = "No strokes to recognize.";
        }
    }

    // Returns true if any strokes inside the ink manager are selected; false otherwise.
    function anySelected() {
        var strokes = inkManager.getStrokes();
        var len = strokes.length;
        for (var i = 0; i < len; i++) {
            if (strokes[i].selected) {
                return true;
            }
        }
        return false;
    }



})();


Related topics

Conceptual
Responding to pen and stylus input
Quickstart: Capturing ink data
Reference
Windows.Devices.Input
Windows.UI.Core
Windows.UI.Input
Windows.UI.Input.Inking
Samples (DOM)
Input: DOM pointer event handling sample
Samples (Windows Store app APIs)
Input: Device capabilities sample
Input: Ink sample
Input: Simplified ink sample

 

 

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