Stylus (computing)

How to Customize the Surface Pen Stylus

Microsoft’s Surface Pen, included on most of its first-party Surface machines, is one of the nicer options as far as modern touch screen styluses go. The latter version of the Pen, introduced with the Surface Pro 3 and subsequent models, includes a few customization options that weren’t present before. Here’s how you access them.

First: Install the Surface App

If, for some reason, your Surface doesn’t have the Surface control app, you’ll want to install it now. Open the Start menu, then tap “Store” to access the Windows 10 app store. (If it’s not on your main Start page, just type “store” to search through the menu.)

Tap the Search button and type “Surface,” then press Enter.” Scroll down until you see the Surface app icon—it’s a blue square— and click on it. Tap the “Install” button, then proceed to the next step.

Adjust Pressure Sensitivity

Open the Surface app and tap the pen icon on the left-hand column. Here you can adjust the pressure sensitivity of the pen’s tip. “Pressure” is something of a misnomer—it’s all digital, after all—and what’s really happening is an adjustment to how the Surface interprets a harder or softer push on the tip mechanism.

The Surface Pen attempts to emulate the way a real pen works: press down harder and you’ll get a thicker, wider stroke, press softer and you’ll get a fine line. The linear adjustment of this setting changes that sensitivity—use the testing area to the right to see an immediate example.

At the hardest and softest settings, you still should still be able to see what you’re writing. Once you’re done, close the Surface app.

Tweak Other Settings

Open the main Settings menu via the Start button, or by swiping from the right side of…

How to Use Handwriting Input on Windows 10

Windows 10’s handwriting keyboard allows you to enter text into any application with a pen or other stylus. It even works on old desktop applications.

This feature is separate from the Windows Ink Workspace, which directs you to applications with special support for pen input. The handwriting keyboard allows you to use a stylus in any application.

Finding the Handwriting Keyboard

This feature is built into Windows 10’s touch keyboard. To open it, tap the touch keyboard icon next to the clock on your taskbar.

If you don’t see the keyboard icon on your taskbar, right-click or long-press on your taskbar and enable the “Show touch keyboard button” option in the context menu.

Tap the keyboard button at the bottom right corner of the touch keyboard.

Tap the handwriting keyboard icon, which looks like a pen over an empty panel.

The handwriting input keyboard appears. By default, it spans the entire width of your display. To shrink it, tap the “Undock” button to the left of the “x” on the top right corner of the panel.

Touch the title bar of the panel with your stylus or finger to drag it around your screen and position it wherever you want it.

Once you switch to the handwriting input panel, it will automatically appear whenever you tap or click the keyboard icon on your taskbar. You’ll need to tap the keyboard button at the bottom of the touch input keyboard to select the default touch keyboard if you want to use it.

Writing With the Handwriting Keyboard

You can input text in any application with a text input field. For example, we’ll be using Notepad…