The Surface touchscreen

Applies to

Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro.

Applies to

Surface 2, Surface RT.

Operating system:

No matter where you use your Surface, the multi-touch screen provides crisp, wide-angle viewing and support for Windows gestures.


The basics

Some gestures you use on your Surface, like tapping a link in a webpage, are a lot like the gestures you use on a smartphone. Other gestures let you do more, like right-click, switch apps or open Notifications. Touch: tap, swipe and beyond tells you how.

For entering text, you can choose from several touch keyboard layouts, including one that converts your handwriting to text. For more info, see How to use the touch keyboard.

Rotate or lock screen orientation

When you rotate your Surface, the screen content rotates to the new orientation. For example, you might use landscape orientation for viewing webpages and portrait orientation when jotting down notes.

Landscape and portrait modes

Lock the screen orientation

If you don’t want the screen to rotate automatically, you can lock the orientation. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Rotate your Surface to the orientation you want.
Step 2:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 3:  Set Lock rotation of this display to On.
Note
When you have a Surface Typing Cover attached to your Surface, you may not be able to change the screen orientation setting. If the setting appears dimmed, detach the Cover or fold it back.

Adjust screen brightness

To quickly adjust the screen brightness by 25 per cent increments:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen or select Action centre in the taskbar.
Step 2: Select Brightness Brightness icon in Notifications until you have the brightness you want.
Note
If you have a Surface 3 Type Cover, you can also adjust screen brightness with the brighten screen Dim screen key and dim screen Dim screen key keys on the keyboard’s top row.

Turn off automatic screen brightness

By default, your Surface adjusts screen brightness automatically. If you prefer, you can turn off automatic brightness adjustment. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 2:  Set Adjust my screen brightness automatically to Off.

Adjust screen brightness manually

You can adjust screen brightness manually and set it to whatever level you like. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 2:  Move the Brightness level slider to make the screen brighter or dimmer.

Notes
  • The brighter the screen, the more power your Surface uses. For info on making the battery last, see Surface battery and power.
  • If you have a Surface 3 Type Cover, you can also adjust screen brightness with the brighten screen Dim screen key and dim screen Dim screen key keys on the keyboard’s top row.

Choose when the screen dims and turns off

If you don’t use your Surface for a few minutes, the screen turns off and locks. For info about Surface sleep states and unlocking your Surface, see Surface power states.

Here’s how to change when the screen dims or turns off:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Power & sleep.
Step 2:  Under Screen, choose when you’d like the Surface screen to turn off (on battery and when plugged in).

Change other screen settings

You can adjust other display settings, such as screen resolution and the size of apps, text and other items on the screen. Here's how:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > System > Display.
Step 2:  Select Advanced display settings and select the settings you want to adjust.

Use a pen with the touchscreen

The Pro Pen that’s included with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 is a digital pen that you can use to draw, sketch and write notes by hand. For more info, see Using the Pro Pen.

The Bluetooth®-enabled Surface Pen works with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 for writing, drawing and painting. Surface Pen is included with Surface Pro 3, and you can buy it as an accessory for Surface 3. For more info, see Using Surface Pen.

If you have a Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3 and want to use pressure sensitivity with graphics apps, like Corel Draw and earlier versions of Photoshop, install the N-trig/WinTab driver for Surface Pro 3 from Surface software, firmware and drivers.

Clean and protect the touchscreen

Fingerprints, scratches, dust, chemicals and ultraviolet light can affect the performance of your Surface screen. For more info, see Clean and care for Surface.


No matter where you use your Surface, the multi-touch screen provides crisp, wide-angle viewing and support for Windows gestures.


The basics

Some gestures you use on your Surface, like tapping a link in a webpage, are a lot like the gestures you use on a smartphone. Other gestures let you do more, like right-click, switch apps or open the Charms menu. Touch: tap, swipe and beyond tells you how.

For entering text, you can choose from several touch keyboard layouts, including one that converts your handwriting to text. For more info, see How to use the touch keyboard.

Rotate or lock screen orientation

When you rotate your Surface, the screen content rotates to the new orientation. For example, you might use landscape orientation for viewing webpages and portrait orientation when jotting down notes.

Landscape and portrait modes

Lock the screen orientation

If you don’t want the screen to rotate automatically, you can lock the orientation. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Rotate your Surface to the orientation you want.
Step 2:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 3:  Select Screen then select the screen rotation icon.
Note
When you have a Surface Typing Cover attached to your Surface, you may not be able to change the screen rotation setting. If the setting appears dimmed, detach the Cover or fold it back.

Adjust screen brightness

Turn off automatic screen brightness

By default, your Surface adjusts screen brightness automatically. If you prefer, you can turn off automatic brightness adjustment. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 2:  Select Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3:  Set Adjust my screen brightness automatically to Off.

Adjust screen brightness manually

You can adjust screen brightness manually, and set it wherever you’d like. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 2:  Select Screen and use the slider to make the screen brighter or dimmer.
Notes

  • The brighter the screen, the more power your Surface uses. For info on making the battery last, see Surface battery and power.
  • If you have Surface 3 Type Cover, you can also adjust screen brightness with the brighten screen Brighten screen key and dim screen Dim screen key keys on the keyboard’s top row.

Choose when the screen dims and turns off

If you don’t use your Surface for a few minutes, the screen turns off and locks. For info about Surface sleep states and unlocking Surface, see Surface power states.

Here’s how to change when the screen dims or turns off:

Step 1:  Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 2:  Select Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3: Under Sleep, choose when you’d like Surface to go to sleep (on battery and when plugged in).

Change other screen settings

You can adjust other display settings, such as screen resolution and the size of apps, text and other items on the screen. Here's how:

Step 1:  Start Windows logo, and select Settings.
Step 2:  Select Change PC settings > PC and devices > Display.
Step 3:  Choose the screen settings you want to change.

Use a pen or stylus with the touchscreen

You can use a capacitive pen or stylus (sold separately) with Surface RT and Surface 2. A capacitive pen is one that substitutes for your finger on a touchscreen. Surface Pen and Pro Pen don’t work with Surface RT and Surface 2.

Clean and protect the touchscreen

Fingerprints, scratches, dust, chemicals and ultraviolet light can affect the performance of your Surface screen. For more info, see Clean and care for Surface.


No matter where you use your Surface, the multi-touch screen provides crisp, wide-angle viewing and support for Windows gestures.


The basics

Some gestures you use on your Surface, like tapping a link in a webpage, are a lot like the gestures you use on a smartphone. Other gestures let you do more, like right-click, switch apps or open the Charms menu. Touch: tap, swipe and beyond tells you how.

For entering text, you can choose from several on-screen keyboard layouts, including one that converts your handwriting to text. For more info, see How to use the touch keyboard.

Rotate or lock screen orientation

When you rotate your Surface, the screen content rotates to the new orientation. For example, you might use landscape orientation for viewing webpages and portrait orientation when jotting down notes.

Image of Surface screen in landscape orientation
Image of Surface screen in portait orientation

Lock the screen orientation

If you don’t want the screen to rotate automatically, you can lock the orientation. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Rotate your Surface to the orientation you want.
Step 2:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and click Settings.)
Step 3:  Tap or click Screen.
Step 4:  Tap or click the screen rotation icon.
Note
When you have a Surface Typing Cover attached to your Surface, you may not be able to change the screen rotation setting. If the setting appears dimmed, detach the Cover or fold it back.
Lock Screen
A lock appears on the screen icon when orientation is locked.

Adjust screen brightness

Turn off automatic screen brightness

By default, your Surface adjusts screen brightness automatically. If you prefer, you can turn off automatic brightness adjustment. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3:  Under Brightness, tap or click to turn off Adjust my screen brightness automatically.

Adjust screen brightness manually

You can adjust screen brightness manually and set it to whatever level you like. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Screen and use the slider to make the screen brighter or dimmer.
Notes

  • If you have a Surface 3 Type Cover, you can also adjust the screen brightness with the brighten
    screen Brighten screen key and dim screen Dim screen key keys on the keyboard’s top row.
  • The brighter the screen, the more power your Surface uses. For info on making the battery last, see Surface battery and power.

Choose when the screen dims and turns off

If you don’t use your Surface for a few minutes, the screen turns off and locks. For info about Surface sleep states and unlocking your Surface, see Surface power states.

Here’s how to change when the screen dims or turns off:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3:  Under Sleep, choose when you’d like Surface to go to sleep (on battery and when plugged in).

Change other screen settings

You can adjust other display settings, such as screen resolution and the size of apps, text, and other items on the screen. Here's how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Display.
Step 3:  Under Customise your display, choose the screen setting you want to change.

Use a pen with the touchscreen

The Pro Pen that’s included with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 is a digital pen that you can use to draw, sketch and write notes by hand. For more info, see Using the Pro Pen.

The Bluetooth®-enabled Surface Pen works with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 for writing, drawing and painting. Surface Pen is included with Surface Pro 3, and you can buy it as an accessory for Surface 3. For more info, see Using Surface Pen.

If you have a Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3 and want to use pressure sensitivity with graphics apps, like Corel Draw and earlier versions of Photoshop, install the N-trig/WinTab driver for Surface Pro 3 from Surface software, firmware and drivers.

Clean and protect the touchscreen

Fingerprints, scratches, dust, chemicals and ultraviolet light can affect the performance of your Surface screen. For more info, see Clean and care for Surface.


No matter where you use your Surface, the multi-touch screen provides crisp, wide-angle viewing and support for Windows gestures.


The basics

Some gestures you use on your Surface, like tapping a link in a webpage, are a lot like the gestures you use on a smartphone. Other gestures let you do more, like right-click, switch apps or open the Charms menu. Touch: tap, swipe and beyond tells you how.

For entering text, you can choose from several on-screen keyboard layouts, including one that converts your handwriting to text. For more info, see How to use the touch keyboard.

Rotate or lock screen orientation

When you rotate your Surface, the screen content rotates to the new orientation. For example, you might use landscape orientation for viewing webpages and portrait orientation when jotting down notes.

Image of Surface screen in landscape orientation
Image of Surface screen in portait orientation

Lock the screen orientation

If you don’t want the screen to rotate automatically, you can lock the orientation. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Rotate your Surface to the orientation you want.
Step 2:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and click Settings.)
Step 3:  Tap or click Screen.
Step 4:  Tap or click the screen rotation icon.
Note
When you have a Surface Typing Cover attached to your Surface, you may not be able to change the screen rotation setting. If the setting appears dimmed, detach the Cover or fold it back.
Lock Screen
A lock appears on the screen icon when orientation is locked.

Adjust screen brightness

Turn off automatic screen brightness

By default, your Surface adjusts screen brightness automatically. If you prefer, you can turn off automatic brightness adjustment. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3:  Under Brightness, tap or click to turn off Adjust my screen brightness automatically.

Adjust screen brightness manually

You can adjust screen brightness manually, and set it wherever you like. Here’s how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down and click Settings.)
Step 2:  Tap or click Screen and use the slider to make the screen brighter or dimmer.
Notes

  • If you have Surface 3 Type Cover, you can also adjust screen brightness with the brighten screen Brighten screen key and dim screen Dim screen key keys on the keyboard’s top row.
  • The brighter the screen, the more power Surface uses. For info on making the battery last, see Surface battery and power.

Choose when the screen dims and turns off

If you don’t use your Surface for a few minutes, the screen turns off and locks. For info about Surface sleep states and unlocking your Surface, see Surface power states.

Here’s how to change when the screen dims or turns off:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Power and sleep.
Step 3:  Under Sleep, choose when you’d like Surface to go to sleep (on battery and when plugged in).

Change other screen settings

You can adjust other display settings, such as screen resolution and the size of apps, text, and other items on the screen. Here's how:

Step 1:  Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Settings.
Step 2:  Tap or click Change PC settings > PC and devices > Display.
Step 3:  Under Customise your display, choose the screen setting you want to change.

Use a pen or stylus with the touchscreen

You can use a capacitive pen or stylus (sold separately) with Surface RT and Surface 2. A capacitive pen is one that substitutes for your finger on a touchscreen. Surface Pen and Pro Pen don’t work with Surface RT and Surface 2.

Clean and protect the touchscreen

Fingerprints, scratches, dust, chemicals and ultraviolet light can affect the performance of your Surface screen. For more info, see Clean and care for Surface.


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