Inkable Sidebar Gadget in Vista using WPF


I decided to take a break from setting up my new Vista development system and try out some coding for a bit instead.

Today, I played around wtih Vista Sidebar Gadgets. I wanted to see if it was possible to leverage Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) in a sidebar. Turns out you can. In fact, you can drop in an inkable InkCanvas extremely easily too. Without too much work, here’s what I came up with:


You can see the inkable gadget at the top right of the Vista desktop image. Nothing special. Just a white box with some blue grid lines and some ink I wrote on the surface.

Here’s the same gadget, undocked. The gadget grows in size when undocked to make it easier to scribble notes.


There’s not much else to the gadget at this point. It doesn’t persist the ink, nor provide any user options to set the pen color, pen thickness, background, and so on. I’ll post the code–maybe later night after I get some of my emails anwered that have stacked up–or more likely tomorrow. There’s really not that much to the code, so hopefully someone can take it and run with it. If nothing else it’s a simple Hello Ink! Sidebar Gadget.

OK. I’ve run out of my coding playtime….I’ve gotta get some “real” work done….

Update: I posted the executable for the InkPad Sidebar Gadget here.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 years ago


Great blog! Question – what hardware are you running Vista on?


15 years ago

Forget I asked! *l* found the earlier post regarding your mod. Thanks!

15 years ago

For others, I’m running Vista on a Toshiba M400.

I also have it running on an iMac using Bootcamp.

I have plans to install it too on my Samsung Q1 UMPC, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I saw the Q1 and TabletKiosk eo running Vista and it looks really nice on that form factor so I’m looking forward to installing Vista on my Q1. I have heard that there are still some driver issues and you’ll want 1GB of memory.

15 years ago

How did you get it working with Windows Vista Sidebar. I’ve read all over that sidebar gadgets using WPF were not possible without leveraging HTML that most gadgets in the sidebar use.

15 years ago

Hi – you don’t have to go through all that unzipping of files into your program files … Windows Vista has functionality built in for installing gadgets.

1) after you .zip up your gadget files, rename the file to *.gadget (like inkable.gadget)
2) when someone wants to install the gadget, they just double-click on this file to install it. Or, they just click the URL on your website. Vista will unzip and install the gadget for you.

In fact, the method you’re using will not be supported in future versions of Vista.