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Use of Stylus with DOCViewer

Use of Stylus with DOCViewer

(1)
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

This idea is applicable to any 2-in-1 / hybrid device with stylus capacity eg Chromebook, Surface Pro 4, Yoga, ASUS etc.

Microsoft's recent education event (May 2017) highlighted the increasing opportunities for schools to invest in low cost 2-in-1 hybrids running Windows 10. Since then at least 5 new devices have been released - 5 Budget Windows Hybrids 2-in-1 Tablets and Laptops for Schools – Colour My Learning . Many schools, including our own, are now looking at these as viable alternatives to 1-1 iPads.

The potential of inking is huge, not just in the hands of students but for teachers and marking.

Canvas has just released DOCViewer in Beta. As yet it is not possible to annotate work inline using the stylus (at least on my Surface Pro).

We would love to see inking/hand-written/stylus based annotations being available for those using Canvas via the browser.

This idea has been added to our product plan for Q1 2019 and will influence development within Canvas. Follow this idea to receive updates as they are available.

:smileyinfo: Adding this idea to our product plan means we will be working on it, but it does not guarantee that it will be developed exactly as defined by the idea, or that it will be added to the production environment.

Read more about the feature idea process:

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through the https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16291-canvas-release-notes-2019-02-16 .

137 Comments
Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

cc.armidale,  @luc_vancauwenbe ,  @gbaxley , gharbor

Thank you so much for your feedback.  Our product and engineering teams are looking into this further.  We have been testing this feature set on a 3rd generation surface pro with a bamboo pen and it is working perfectly.  We're actually a bit surprised that other hardware has such a vast difference in handling.  We're looking to see if we can get our hands on some other hardware for further testing and refinement.  If you haven't already posted your hardware in your comments, please post it here so we can see what everyone is working with.  Thanks 

MattHanes
Navigator

The Lenovo Chromebook 300e has a unique ability to write on the screen with a normal #2 pencil. We would love for students to be able to use this functionality for peer reviews.

I think the Lenovo 500e has one of the more classic active stylus capabilities. That might be another good test model.

cdgray
Community Member

I am using a Surface Pro (2017) with a Windows Pen and I am experiencing the same issues that were previously mentioned. I didn't think it was possible, but the functionality is actually worse than it was before.

locke
Community Member

I have a Surface Pro 4 and am working with the Surface Pen which came with it.  I've tried using both Chrome and Edge, but the stylus functionality seems to randomly (or at least unpredictably) switch between annotation and scrolling.
Interestingly, I have near success if the document I'm viewing is so small that there is no scroll bar.  However, there is still a vertical "jump" in the annotation as shown in this Most of a Chrome tab showing "jump" in annotation.

As I was writing the G, the line "jumped vertically".  The result being the same as cutting the G in a few places and shifting parts up and down on the "paper".

Below, I've circled in red my attempt to write a "G" when I'm in the general case that the scroll bars are present.  The scroll bars are present for any multi-page document (and generally for any 8.5" by 11" page) which is the standard document that I need to annotate.

Attempt to write a "G" when scroll bars are present scrolls document while leaving horizontal and vertical marks only

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

Thank you all.  We did some deeper digging and it turns out like the code didn't get deployed as it was supposed to on Saturday.  Thehttps://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16291 will have updates when the deploy is complete!

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

David BarrettLuc Van CauwenbergeGreg BaxleyGrant Harbor,  @MattHanes  ,  @cdgray ,   @locke .  Give it one more try for us.  Deploys just completed.

cdgray
Community Member

Now none of the annotation features seem to be working.

cc_armidale
Community Member
Hi, Renee
I've tried to use SpeedGrader on a Lenovo X1 Yoga this morning (Australian time) and had the following results:
  • Microsoft Edge 42.17134.1.0: Finger and stylus move the page when attempting to use highlighter or brush tools. No annotations appear. No response when trying to use the mouse. (The cursor moves across the screen as usual, even with the left button clicked.)
  • Google Chrome 72.0.3626.: As above.
  • Firefox 64.0.2: Finger and stylus create annotations with the brush tool, but they are jagged, and it seems impossible to write this way. The mouse does seem to work all right, but it isn't an optimal tool for writing.
I haven't had the opportunity to test the SpeedGrader update with a Wacom tablet yet and will do so at the earliest opportunity. However, I would rather be able to use my built-in touchscreen facilities than an additional device for several reasons, including the need to carry extra equipment, which seems redundant given the capabilities of the laptop.
Thanks to all concerned for the work you're putting into trying to make this work. So many of us are excited to see it up and running, and although we appear to be undergoing a little setback here, I'm sure it will work in the end.
Cheers
David
jfenton
Surveyor

Hey David, 

Thanks for sending those results over. The stylus should work with the annotation tools when the action button is pressed. On Edge and Chrome the behavior that you've seen (no annotations being placed) is expected with the finger and the stylus when the action button is NOT being pressed. However, once you press the action button, the annotation tool that you have select should then engage. 

Would you mind giving it a try with the button on the stylus?  

On Firefox the support that we currently have is limited due to some limitations in the way that Firefox interprets touch events. We've been able to use a few work-arounds to get some of the annotations to behave like the other browsers, but there are still some issues. And again, the intention there is that the button on the stylus is being used. In any case, the best experience will be on Chrome and Edge. 

locke
Community Member

Hi Jon,

I guess there are two Davids and you were addressing the other, but you did get the annotations to "work" for me.  I can annotate clearly while holding in the button on my Surface Pen.  I put work in quotes, because it is not easy to hold the button continuously while writing.  I don't think holding it continuously was the intent when the pen was designed.

Here is an image with the buttons.  To annotate clearly, I must continuously hold the "Right-Click Button" labelled in the figure.

Image of Surface Pen

Is there any way to turn the finger scrolling off in Speedgrader so that I would be able to use the Surface Pen in a more natural way?

David

MattHanes
Navigator

I tested it on our Lenovo 300e Chromebooks at 4:30 EST. Using a finger or other stylus, the page jumps around as it tries to simultaneously scroll and write on the screen. I tried it with the Google Touch Events API disabled and then again with it enabled. Same behavior with both.

gbaxley
Surveyor

Hello!

Wow, the annotations now work! I only tried Chrome with a Surface 5th gen and the MS pen. It was easy to pencil in comments on a document submitted by a student. This will make grading so much easier/faster!

One does have to push the stylus button to draw on the page, and this is a bit awkward. Be mindful to scroll with a finger on the side of the document to avoid a fingerprint streak of ink. Using fingers to zoom also caused streaks of ink.

IE was not as good, with lots of pen lag.

If there was room for improvement other than having to hold the pen button, it would be the placement of the little checkmark/trashcan icon. It pops up right above the first pen stroke and makes certain characters hard to write, like dotting a lower case i. Thank you so much though, this is a huge improvement!

307014_Surface Canvas ink.JPG

gharbor
Learner II

Yay!!!! So below is an email I got to send to 100 staff today!

307015_Pen.png

Great work and thanks Canvas for (eventually) getting this working.. Smiley Happy

#veryhappy

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

As the person who proposed the original idea I am pleased to see the stylus functionality being brought but need to make these comments:

  • Pressing down the button when using the stylus is not easy - it is also not a natural use of the stylus and means you grip the pen tighter which is not great for any long term use
  • The Microsoft stylus are very smooth and holding the stylus down and pressing is not an easy task
  • The right hand button on the stylus is meant to be a click not a click and hold!
  • The functionality for the stylus is not the same as when writing on Word/OneNote and many of our staff who have Surface Pros will be disappointed by this. The quality of writing is most definitely not the same.
  • Doing some testing this morning on Google/Edge and Surface Pro 5, the pen works best when you don't lift off the surface. It struggles when you take your stylus off the screen ie annotating for Maths, Science or drawing features or even just writing letter ts!307011_pastedImage_1.png
  • You clearly need to practice with it and find a (handwriting) style that works - perhaps some work needs to be done with the pen settings? I dont get anywhere near the quality or clarity of writing of gharbor
  • Not all of our staff have Surface Pro 4 pens which will cause an issue I believe?
  • I had hoped for erase functionality through the stylus pen as opposed to the toolbar

Its an improvement but its not what I had hoped for (and maybe not our staff). Am hoping we see more developments.

Sorry.

locke
Community Member

Although I can write clearer than what  @GideonWilliams  has posted, I agree that this is not the way one expects to write with the Stylus. I'm already back to circling and making check marks and X's with the touchpad and typing comments.  

So to me, it is as if the feature has not been deployed.  The stylus is designed so that a natural grip for writing does not press the "Right-Click Button".  The purpose of the "Right-Click Button" is so that you can do non-handwriting tasks with the stylus without switching to a mouse or touchpad.  It is meant to open a context menu.

I too would like to see the use of Stylus improved.  I would ask for the goal to be functionality like Drawboard PDF in which I can write the clearest while mostly writing math equations and drawing figures.  

GideonWilliams
Adventurer III

Need to see you for some handwriting lessons :O) Agree entirely with what you said..

cc_armidale
Community Member

I've given annotation in SpeedGrader a try with the action button (right-click) down on my stylus, and it works in Chrome and Edge. (I didn't bother going into Firefox.)

Unfortunately, I don't know how long I can maintain the very uncomfortable and unnatural grip on the stylus to annotate student work on SpeedGrader.

Here is my natural pen grip on the Lenovo stylus:

Lenovo stylus natureal grip

And here is the grip I must maintain to annotate in SpeedGrader:

Lenovo stylus Canvas grip

When I tried writing on a student paper, I found the latter quite uncomfortable and unnatural, because not only must I shift my grip upwards along the staff of the pen, but I must also put constant pressure on the button. Writing style aside (and no, it wasn't as good with the second grip, although perhaps more practice is the answer there), it wasn't long before the muscles in my hand began to feel the strain.

For the record, I know of no other application, web-based or desktop, that requires me to hold down a button on my stylus to write or draw. (I'm happy to stand corrected on that.)

So while I wholeheartedly applaud the efforts of all concerned to enable us to annotate in SpeedGrader, I feel that unless the requirement to hold down the button is remedied, a lot of stylus users are going to find it a chore rather than a natural, digitised extension of their normal student feedback routine.

I'll watch this thread with great interest.

Cheers
David

schenk
Surveyor

So,

I didn't have the time to check the functionality out myself, but it seems pretty clear that holding a button on the stylus won't be a feasible solution, it's just not the intended way for a Stylus to be used.

From what I'm seeing so far, the problems with implementing a solution that works as good as the IPAD Version, seem to come from trying to do this in the browser and the limitations that those bring to the table. It's a bit late now, but wouldn't it make more sense to create a Windows App (UWA) for Canvas? That should give Instructre the benefit of not having to support / code for multiple platforms and I doubt any Windows User will have a problem with installing an APP for interacting with Canvas if this actually improves usability.

Cheers!

dhallstone86
Community Member

I agree Bjorn.  This solution is not at all a feasible solution.  After excitedly waiting for this to roll out, I am totally disheartened. 

gharbor
Learner II

307141_Pen.png

We're using the Dell pens and the button seems lower than on other pens ... it's a massive step forward so thank you Canvas for moving in the right direction on this one!