This paper reports results from a paper and pencil study of the use of hand-drawn gestures for simple editing tasks. The use of gesture is of particular interest in an interface which allows the user to write directly on the surface of a display with a stylus. The results of the study provided encouragement for the development of gesture-driven user interfaces. There was very good intra-subject consistency in the spatial form of gestures used for an editing operation, and also, good agreement across subjects in the form selected for a particular operation. Subjects' reactions to the use of gesture indicated that gesture commands were perceived as easy to use and remember. Specific implications for the design gestural interfaces are discussed. © 1987, Academic Press Limited. All rights reserved.