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Ardesia turns your entire desktop into a touch-friendly sketchpad

Ever wanted to use your desktop as a sketchpad? And by ‘use your desktop’ I do mean quite literally!

OMG! reader Marko dropped us a tip on the following self-described ‘free painting software’ that allows you to use your fingers, mouse and/or graphics tablet to make free-hand sketches, notes and annotations upon your desktop.

No longer do you need to stay within the rigid confines of application windows or dedicated drawing canvas’ – you can now treat your desktop like a chalkboard with Ardesia.

Ardesia in action on a HP touchsmart and a bamboo tablet on Ubuntu 10.10 nightly

Ardesia works with most pointing devices – use your mouse, a touchscreen, a drawing tablet, or any other device supported by Linux. There is probably very little benefit using a mouse with the tool over, say, something like Shutter’s Editing feature, but if you have a touchscreen or a digital graphics tablet Ardesia can be both fun and helpful.

Your creativity/OCD can be let loose upon more than just the desktop – import image you want to annotate and away you go. Best of all, you can save, record and even stream your work as you  create it.


I’ve loaded my feature-gun and here are the bullets: –

  • Recording feature (requires VLC)
  • Ability to stream ‘live’ screencast of your desktop as you use Ardesia
  • Save sketches as .pngs or .pdf’s
  • Draw freehand in any colour you like
  • Configurable brush size
  • Other tools include arrows, text and geometric shapes
  • Undo/redo feature

Coming soon…

There are also many more features due to be added in later releases including: –

  • ‘Stroke’ based virtual keyboard for entering text (like swype perhaps?)
  • Many extra tools for use in screencasts/presentations –
    • curtain for ‘hiding’ parts of your screen
    • Magnifier
    • Spotlight


You’ll find .deb installers over on the projects’ page @