In the sense that this is an interface with the user of pens, I thought this might be an acceptable place to ask this question, but if it's just application interfaces, then please remove or close this question with my apologies.

Are there manufacturers of whiteboard and or permanent markers that produces one type with cylindrical shafts and the other with octagonal / hexagonal cylinders? This would help people identify the type of marker just by touch rather than having to find the print on the side that says dry-wipe or permanent. It could save us a few calls to facilities to clean permanent marker off the white boards.

  • 3
    cleaning permanent marker off a white board is simple: just retrace with a white board marker and wipe. Dec 8, 2010 at 7:03
  • @Marjan Venema Mind = blown
    – Rahul
    Dec 8, 2010 at 10:21
  • @MarjanVenema Haha yeah I discovered that too. It's probably because the white board ink contains some component that makes it "unsticky", which mixes with and affects the permanent ink. Mar 6, 2012 at 22:42

2 Answers 2


I've never heard of manufacturers producing different shapes to differentiate, but there is a workaround that many teachers know about:

--When you buy dry erase markers buy fat ones

--When you buy permanent markers buy skinny ones

Or vice versa. Kids in my classrooms picked up on the difference really quickly - but then, kids tend to be better at these sorts of things than adults...

  • 1
    Cool hack, gef05. :-)
    – Rahul
    Dec 8, 2010 at 0:47
  • I'm going to accept this as the answer because of two reasons: There really doesn't seem to be a manufacturer that makes hexagonal/octagonal pens, and the thinner permanent markers are a better idea because it's even more obvious than a different section shape in the pen shaft. Dec 9, 2010 at 10:00

I've noticed that whiteboard markers tend ot be made of white plastic with coloured caps and writing on them. Highlighters and other markers tend to be of coloured plastic with black ink on them.

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