How to use your Surface Pen

Applies to: Surface DevicesSurface

Here’s how to set it up and use it.

Surface Pen diagrams

Surface Pen with no clip


1 Top button
2 LED light
3 Right-click button
4 Tip


Surface Pen with single button on flat edge

Drawing of a Surface Pen with single button on flat edge, with key features marked with numbers 1 through 7 to correspond to the text key following the image

1 Top button
2 LED light
3 Cap
4 Clip
5 Magnet
6 Right-click button
7 Tip


Surface Pen with two side buttons

Picture that calls out the different buttons on Surface Pen with clip.


1 Top button
2 Right-click button
3 Eraser button
4 Tip


Microsoft Classroom Pen

Microsoft Surface Classroom Pen features

1 Right-click button
2 Eraser button
3 Tip


Surface Pen features

The features of your Surface Pen depend on which pen you have and the device you're using. Here's some info on the features supported by each pen and device type. In some cases, you'll need both a specific pen version and a specific device type to use a feature. 

Features by device

Feature Non-Surface PCs Surface Pro 1 and 
Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Laptop (1st Gen), Surface Laptop 2 Surface Pro 4, Surface Book (all) Surface Book 2 (13”), and Surface Studio (all) Surface Pro (5th Gen), Surface Pro 6, and Surface Book 2 15” Surface Go
Inking **
Magnet attach
Tilt (inking at a 45-degree angle) ***
Inking/pen pressure points N/A 1024 1024 4096 4096 4096
Inking latency N/A ~58ms ~58ms ~47ms ~21ms ~30ms


*Surface Pen can connect to computers running Windows 10 via standard Bluetooth. Functionality, connectivity, and feature availability can vary by manufacturer.

** Surface Pro 1 and Surface Pro 2 only support inking with the Surface Pro Pen.

*** Requires a Surface firmware update. See Surface update history for more info.


Feature by pen version

Pen version Bluetooth connectivity Magnet attach Tilt (inking at a 45-degree angle)
Surface Pro Pen
Surface Pen with two side buttons
Surface Pen with single button on flat edge
Surface Pen with no clip
Microsoft Classroom Pen

Pair Surface Pen with your Surface

Surface Pen uses Bluetooth to pair with your Surface. To put your pen in pairing mode, press and hold the top button on the pen for 5-7 seconds, then let the button go. You’ll see a light on the flat side of the pen when it’s ready. For more info, see Connect a Bluetooth device.


Try out buttons and features

Once your pen is paired, here are some things to try.

Magnet Use the magnet on the flat side of the pen to attach your Surface Pen to the side of your Surface when you’re done using it.
Top button

The top button does different things depending on how many times you press the button, and how long you hold it. See Press the top button for more info.

To erase, flip the pen over and use the top as an eraser.

Right-click button

The end of the raised area on the flat side of the pen works as a right-click button in most apps.

To right click, hold the button down as you tap the screen with the pen. (In some apps, the right-click button might work differently.)


Press the top button

Press to open Windows Ink Workspace

When you press the top button once, Windows Ink Workspace will open. It’s the perfect place to get started with your pen: jot down a reminder in Sticky Notes, draw a picture in Sketchpad, or doodle on a webpage, picture, or app using Screen sketch.

Press and hold to open Sticky Notes

When you press and hold the top button, Sticky Notes will open. Write down reminders, doodle away, or note your next big idea.

Double-click to open Screen sketch

When you double-click, screen sketch will open. Draw on the current screen or resume a previous screen sketch. All sketchpad tools are here, from stencils to line width to sharing and exporting.

To change what the top button does when you press it, see Change pen settings.


Write and draw

Use your Surface Pen in any app that supports inking, like Windows Ink Workspace, Office apps, or Microsoft Edge. When you bring your Surface Pen close to the touchscreen, a point appears on the screen, and the screen will ignore other input (like your hand or a mouse). Then write or draw on your screen like you would with a regular pen and paper.

Even if inking doesn’t work in your app, you can use your Surface Pen to enter text by using the handwriting panel in the touch keyboard.

  1. Select Keyboard   in the lower-right corner of your Surface screen.

  2. On the touch keyboard, select Keyboard  > Handwriting 

    Icon for on-screen handwriting

  3. Write something in the handwriting panel. Your Surface will convert your words to text automatically.

For more info, see Use the On-Screen Keyboard (OSK) to type.


Use Surface Pen with apps

Surface Pen works seamlessly with apps designed for creative tasks like Adobe Photoshop Elements, Sketchable, Drawboard PDF, and Staffpad. For a list of recommended apps that you can use with your Surface pen, go to Apps for Windows Ink.

Try it with Surface Dial

For the full creative experience, use Surface Pen and Surface Dial together. With Surface Pen in one hand and Surface Dial in the other, you’ll have easy access to shortcuts, controls, drawing tools, and more while you sketch.


Customize your Surface Pen

Change pen settings

To personalize what your pen does and how it works, go to Change pen settings for more info.

Adjust pressure sensitivity

Use the Surface app to set the pressure sensitivity to suit your writing style. Get the Surface app free from the Microsoft Store. 

Change pen tips to get the experience you want

Use different tips to change your pen experience. For more info, see Replace Surface Pen Tips


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