How to Customize Your Surface Pro Pen

The Microsoft Surface line of laptops, desktops, and convertible laptops has an optional Surface Pen, a Microsoft stylus that lets you write, draw, and annotate documents and images. It works great out of the box, but if you find that you are not at all comfortable with its functionality, you can customize it to suit your writing and drawing habits.

Choose your dominant hand first

Before doing anything else, you should set up your Surface Pen to work with the hand you write with the most. Go to the Settings page, select Devices, and click Windows Pen and Ink (or type “windows ink” in the Start menu search bar). Choosing the right or left hand option will determine how Windows 10 detects (and ignores) the pressure that hand can apply to the screen when you draw or write with the Surface Pen.

Customize your handwriting

Writing with Surface Pen is fun, but you can improve its handwriting recognition software with a little practice. On the Windows Pen and Ink page, where you selected your hand for writing, select Improve Recognition under the Handwriting Input Panel section.

You can fix specific mistakes related to your sloppy handwriting or write full sentences to introduce Windows 10 to your particular style. You will type a few sentences so the program can tell you how you cross your t and dot the i, which is sent to Microsoft for analysis. You can even go a little deeper and help your handwriting program tell the difference between similar characters like Z and 2, or the number 1 and the letter L.

Adjust your sensitivity

You may find it uncomfortable to apply force with the Surface Pen to the laptop screen to darken the line. If you want more easily accessible darker lines, download the Surface app from the Microsoft Store (or find it on the taskbar in the Start menu) to access additional Surface Pen configuration options.

You will be able to adjust and check the pressure in the Surface Pen line, and adjust it until you are satisfied with the result. Choosing a lighter pen pressure makes it easier to create darker lines, while the other way means you will rub the pen against the screen to create noticeable lines.

Customize your clicker

Depending on your model, your Surface Pen may have an eraser tip that doubles as an extra button that you can reprogram if you’re not a fan of its default functionality that either opens Microsoft OneNote or takes a screenshot of your display. This eraser button is great for instantly saving the contents of your display for posting, cropping, or adding comments.

In the Windows Pen and Ink section of the Settings page, you can assign new quick actions for your pen eraser. Perhaps you want it to launch your Windows Ink Workspace, Microsoft OneNote, Windows desktop, or a universal app from the Microsoft Store. If you select the desktop application, you will be prompted to find its executable file in File Explorer. Universal Apps will appear in a drop-down menu below the shortcut you choose. You can also customize the eraser button to act as a simple shortcut to your device’s voice assistant – in fact, it’s the only way to launch Cortana with your Surface Pen.

The eraser button supports up to three actions depending on how you press it (single click, double click, or hold down the clicker). You can customize this feature in the Windows Pen and Ink section.

Buy batteries

The Surface Pen is tiny and lasts quite a while, but it’s not a perpetual motion machine, and it won’t charge when you plug it into your Surface. You will need AAAA batteries to charge the stylus. Yes, that’s four fives. Luckily for everyone, they are pretty cheap, and one set will last for a year (depending on how good you are at art).


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