Is there an overlay software (display marker) to mark/draw right on screen just as if it was a real print outs?

The ideal scene I have in mind is using a tablet PC in full screen mode, eg. displaying a PDF presentation or a web page design, and some meeting attendant draws his/her ideas/changes/notes on the display, marking areas, writing notes right in place, etc. A piece of software that is (graphically) on top of the display actual in sight to the observer, i.e. has the focus, collects all those “screen touches” and assigns them to the open file. But this should also work with just a normal PC/mouse set up or any tough screen environment. The hard bit would be, so I reckon, for the software to assign some “notes capture” to a certain page of an open document been presented, a subset of the document that is. The two ad hoc solutions that come to mind include either a support for the overlay software by the presenting software, so the assignment is actually done by the presenter. Or else the overlay software hast to have an understanding of all possible file formats’ structures, i.e. PDF, bitmaps, just anything that should be marked. Now, if this file is opened the next time, and the overlay software is activated, it should from it’s database display all notes associated with this document’s page.

Easy stuff I thought, someone must have done that already. But I must be missing something. Eather I haven’t searched hard enough or it is really much harder to achieve than I think. The only mentioning I have come across so far was what reads to me as it’s the same idea by moomintrol. All hints on software in comments to his post are, as he claims, missing the point in some way or another. Up to now I haven’t reviewed it myself, though.


  • VirtualTransparency by Evan Golub: The effekt comes close — the intention obviously is more or less the same afterall — but works on a screen shot of the desktop, so really is seams not to be much more than MS Paint’s possibilities.
  • TweakWindow from it’s description seams to have the essential windowing features but doesn’t ship the annotation or marking functionality. This, of course, for simple scenarios could be helped out with, say, MS Paint or any other simple drawing program. I’d have to give it a try sometime.
  • The progs on the list at seamingly all work on screen shots, judged by a quick glimpse. Right now I can’t be bothered to dig into them all.
  • Delight Software GmbH has a private free software that sounds rather rudimentary and lacks a detailed description (see also at Might have to try it out, also.

Additional  features could be:

  • Gesture support for navigation of 1) the overlay software, eg. change of colour, and 2) the underlying program, eg. next slide commands.
  • Network capability in terms of conferencing scenarios. This would make possible to have a local meeting/presentation of something on your local screen or present the same thing to another screen. This screen could even participate in annotating so you rather have two (or more) equipollent participants than a server/client structure.


  1. Pietro said,

    Wednesday, 13th Apr 2011 at 19:12

    WiildOs 1.3.2 is out,
    WiildOs is an educational live and installable GNU/Linux distro build
    from the Ardesia stuff and thinking for teaching purposes. It includes
    the software that enable you to use a wiimote whiteboard.

    WiildOs includes lubuntu-desktop, python-whiteboard, ardesia, sankore,
    spotlighter, curtain, florence-ramble, wmgui, wiican, easystroke,
    whyteboard, vmg, shutter, gimp, tuxpaint, tuxmath, tuxtype, dia,
    scribus, audacity, stellarium, xournal, gcompris, geogebra, wxmaxima,, jokosher, musescore, solfege, stellarium, dasher,
    eviacam and more!

    More info on

    Build a wiildOs4win wubi like installer that allow to install wiildOs
    inside windows without partitioning the hard disk.

    – new kernel 2.6.35; this add the support to some new devices including
    the toshiba bluettoth
    – thunderbird in now the default mailer instead of sylpheed
    – firefox is the default browser instead of chromium
    – removed xscreensaver for performance issue
    – remove all the gnome office suite; we use openoffice suite
    – fix the wiican program; now you can you use the wiimote as controller
    usinf the infrared camera or the accelerometers in a visual user
    friendly way

  2. alpha said,

    Saturday, 6th Nov 2010 at 18:35

    jarnal is upon a pdf not upon the desktop

    Please try Ardesia

  3. pietro said,

    Wednesday, 23rd Jun 2010 at 11:39

    Ardesia 0.3 it is out and available
    4 Linux and windows

    Ardesia allow to annotate upon the desktop
    see the screenshot on

  4. Marco said,

    Monday, 31st May 2010 at 20:26

    Hi. I want share with you an overlay software called Ardesia

    Ardesia enables you to make colored free-hand annotations on your computer screen, record it and share on the network.

    This is especially useful when making presentations, to highlight things or point out things of interest.

    The tool facilitates the online presentations and demos showing in real time your computer screen to anyone in the network.

    Ardesia is XInput-Aware, so if you have a mouse, a graphic tablet, a touch screen, a wiimote whiteboard or a commercial whiteboard;

    you can draw lines with different strength, select color, erase things and draw arrows.

    You can free-hand draw geometrical shapes using the shape recognizer, insert text with the keyboard and highlight screen areas.

    You can draw upon the desktop or select an image as background.

  5. Henrik said,

    Thursday, 24th Jul 2008 at 01:45


Leave a Reply to Marco Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: