Applies to

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

Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Operating system:

Troubleshoot Surface Pen

If your Surface Pen won’t write, open OneNote, or connect to Bluetooth, the solution may be as simple as installing updates, replacing batteries or the tip, or pairing your pen with your Surface.


Note

This article tells how to troubleshoot the pen that comes with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3.

 

Before you begin

Make sure you’re using the Surface Pen with a compatible Surface

Surface Pen works with Surface Pro 3, Surface 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book. It doesn’t work with Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, or Surface Pro 2.

Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates may help fix problems with your Surface Pen. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Update & security.

Step 2:  Select Check for updates. If updates are available, select Details.
Step 3:  Select the updates you want to install and select Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates install.

Make sure the Surface Touch Controller firmware is installed correctly

Step 1:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Devices > Device Manager.
Step 2: 

Select the arrow next to Firmware and look for the touch controller firmware for your Surface:

  • Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, or Surface Book: Look for Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware.
  • Surface 3: Look for Surface Touch Controller Firmware.
Step 3: 

Next:

  • If the firmware is in the list and you don’t see a caution sign Yellow triangle icon, the firmware is installed correctly. Skip the rest of this procedure and try the suggested solutions for your problem.
  • If the firmware isn’t in the list, you need to install all the latest updates (see above). Then, start again with this procedure.
  • If the firmware name is in the list but has a caution sign Yellow triangle icon next to it, go to Step 4.
Step 4:  Go to Start Windows logo, and select Power > Restart.
Be sure to choose Restart, not Shut down.
Step 5:  Follow steps 1 through 4 again to make sure the touch controller firmware is installed correctly.
If you still see the yellow triangle, contact us.

Pen won’t write, and right-click and eraser buttons don’t work

If your Surface Pen doesn’t write and the right-click button and eraser button don’t work, you need to install, reinstall, or replace the AAAA battery inside the pen. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom and remove the AAAA battery (if there is one).

Surface Pen AAAA battery

If the battery was installed with the negative (–) end pointing toward the writing tip, put it back in with the positive (+) end pointing toward the writing tip and skip to Step 3.

Step 2: Insert the AAAA battery, wrapped in the paper label from the top of the pen, with the positive (+) end of the battery pointing toward the writing tip.
Step 3: Screw the top back on.

Pen writes, but right-click or eraser button doesn’t work

If your Surface Pen doesn’t write and the right-click button and eraser button don’t work, you need to install, reinstall, or replace the AAAA battery. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom and remove the AAAA battery (if there is one).

Surface Pen AAAA battery

If the battery was installed with the negative (–) end pointing toward the writing tip, put it back in with the positive (+) end pointing toward the writing tip and skip to Step 3.

Step 2:  Insert the AAAA battery, wrapped in the paper label from the top of the pen, with the positive (+) end of the battery pointing toward the writing tip.
Step 3:  Screw the top back on.

Pen writes, but writing is jagged or inaccurate

If writing becomes jagged or inaccurate, the AAAA battery is running low. To replace the battery, see Pen won’t write, and right-click and eraser buttons don’t work, above.

I didn’t pair my pen during setup

Surface Pro 3: During setup, Windows prompts you to pair your Surface Pen with your Surface. If you skip that step or you’re interrupted before the pen is paired, you can pair them manually.

Surface 3: During setup, Windows doesn’t prompt you to pair your Surface Pen with your Surface. Instead, you need to pair them manually.

Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book: You can pair a Surface Pen manually with these models of Surface.

To learn how to pair your pen with your Surface, see Pair your Surface Pen manually, below.

Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote

If OneNote doesn’t open when you click the top button, OneNote might not be installed, the pen might not be paired with your Surface, or you might need to replace the coin cell batteries in the top of the pen.

Note
Surface Pen can be paired with only one Surface at a time.

Solution 1: Make sure OneNote is installed

Here’s how you can make sure you have OneNote installed on your Surface:

Step 1: 

Select the search box in the taskbar and enter onenote.

Step 2: 

In the search results, look for the OneNote app (not OneNote 2013 or OneNote 2016).

  • If OneNote is in your apps list, skip to Solution 2.
  • If OneNote isn’t in your apps list, you can install it from the Windows Store.

Solution 2: Pair your Surface Pen manually

Your pen might not be paired with your Surface, or you might need to remove the pen from your list of Bluetooth® devices and pair it with your Surface again.

Step 1: 

Go to Start Windows logo, and select Settings > Devices > Bluetooth.

Step 2:  Make sure Bluetooth is on.
If Surface Pen appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, select it and select Remove device.
Step 3: 

Hold down the top button for about seven seconds, until the light in the middle of the pen clip starts to flash.

The light appears under the pen clip when Surface Pen is in pairing mode.

If the pen light doesn’t flash after seven seconds and you’ve installed all the latest updates, go to Solution 3.

Step 4: 

When the pen appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, select it and select Pair.

If the pen doesn’t pair, try these steps one more time. If it still doesn’t pair, contact us.

Solution 3: Change the coin cell batteries

Note
Change the coin cell batteries only if the pen light doesn’t come on when you hold the top button down for seven seconds.

You’ll need two new size 319 coin cell batteries and a jeweler’s Phillips screwdriver. Here’s how to change the batteries:

Step 1: 

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom, leaving the paper label in the top in place.

Step 2: 

Do one of the following to remove the battery case:

  • Recommended method: Insert a jeweler’s Phillips screwdriver into the battery case, through the middle of the spring, and unscrew the battery case.
  • Alternative method: Insert a flathead screwdriver into one of the notches on the side of the battery case and twist the battery case to unscrew it. You’ll need to press on the spring to fit the blade of the screwdriver into the larger notches on the battery case.
How to change the coin cell batteries in the Surface Pen
Step 3: Remove the battery case and remove the old batteries. Insert the new batteries with the negative (–) side facing the pen tip.
Step 4: 

Slide the top of the pen down over the battery case. Tighten the case just until you feel resistance. Don't overtighten it.

Note
If you hold the pen top sideways and slide the battery case in, the coin cell batteries may flip over before they’re secure and in their proper position.
Step 5: Screw the bottom and top of the pen back together.

You may need to pair the pen with your Surface again after you change the batteries.

If the light in the clip still doesn’t come on when you hold down the top button for seven seconds or if OneNote still doesn’t open when you click the top button, contact us.

Pen shows as not connected in the Bluetooth list

If your Surface Pen doesn’t show as Paired in your list of Bluetooth devices, first make sure you have the latest updates installed. See Install Surface and Windows updates, above, for how-to info.

If your pen still doesn’t show as Paired after you’ve installed the latest updates, follow the steps in Pair your Surface Pen manually, above, to remove the pen from your Bluetooth list and pair it again.

If your pen still shows as Not connected after you pair it again, contact us.

Double-clicking the top button doesn’t take a screenshot

If a single click of the top button opens OneNote but a double-click doesn’t take a screenshot, you may need to install updates for Windows and OneNote. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Click the top button of the pen once.

Step 2: 

Make sure you have the latest updates.
See Install Surface and Windows updates, above, for how-to info.

Step 3: 

Go to Start Windows logo, and select Store > Settings.

Step 4: 

Select App updates > Check for updates.

  • If OneNote appears in the list of available updates, select it, and select Install.
  • If OneNote doesn’t appear in the list of available updates and double-clicking the top button of the pen doesn’t take a screenshot, contact us.

Pen isn’t pressure sensitive in some apps

Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 support different kinds of pen pressure.

  • Built-in pressure detection: Windows apps and many other apps work with the pressure detection that’s built into Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. For apps like OneNote, Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, and Manga Studio, you already have the drivers you need for pressure sensitivity. To adjust pressure sensitivity, use the Surface app.
  • Wintab pressure sensitivity (Surface Pro 3): Other apps, like Corel Draw and earlier versions of Photoshop, use a Wintab driver to detect pressure. If you have a Surface Pro 3 and want to use pressure sensitivity with these apps, install the Wintab driver for Surface Pro 3.
Important
Install the Wintab driver only if you need pressure sensitivity for Wintab-based apps on Surface Pro 3.

To install the Wintab driver for Surface Pro 3:

Step 1: Open your browser and go to the Surface software, firmware, and drivers page on the Microsoft Download Center.
Step 2: Select Download.
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the list, select the checkbox for the .zip file that starts with Wintab, and select Next.
Step 4: Select Open.
Step 5: Extract the files from the .zip file, double-click to run the file WinTab_Setup_x64.exe, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Pen tip needs replacing

If your pen tip wears out, is lost, or breaks, you can order new pen tips from the Online Service Center.

Note
Your pen must be registered, and you will need to sign in with your Microsoft account.

Other problems?

If these solutions didn’t solve the problem you’re having with Surface Pen, contact us.


If your Surface Pen won’t write, open OneNote, or connect to Bluetooth, the solution may be as simple as installing updates, replacing batteries or the tip, or pairing your pen with your Surface.


Notes
  • Surface Pen is designed for Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. It doesn’t work with other Surface models. For help troubleshooting the pen that comes with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, see Troubleshoot Pro Pen.
  • Surface Pen uses two types of batteries:
    • Writing, erasing and right-clicking are powered by one AAAA alkaline battery you install in the bottom part of the pen.
    • Opening OneNote and taking screenshots are powered by two pre-installed, size 319 silver-oxide coin cell batteries in the top of the pen.

Before you begin

Install Surface and Windows updates

Installing the latest updates may help fix problems with your Surface Pen. 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 Change PC settings > Update and recovery.
Step 3: Tap or click Check now. If updates are available, tap or click View details.
Step 4: Choose the updates you want to install.
If you have a Surface Pro 3, be sure to select Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2968599) if it's available.
Step 5: Tap or click Install.
You may need to restart your Surface after the updates have installed.
Step 6: Repeat steps 1 through 5 to make sure you have all the updates.

Make sure the Surface Touch Controller firmware is installed correctly

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 Change PC Settings > Control Panel.
Step 3: Tap or click Hardware and Sound > Device Manager.
Step 4: Tap or click the arrow next to Firmware and look for the touch controller firmware for your Surface:
  • Surface Pro 3: Look for Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware.
  • Surface 3: Look for Surface Touch Controller Firmware.
Step 5: 

Next:

  • If the firmware is in the list and you don’t see a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark Yellow triangle icon, the firmware is installed correctly. Skip the rest of this procedure and try the suggested solutions for your problem.
  • If the firmware isn’t in the list, you need to install all the latest updates (see above). Then, start again with this procedure.
  • If the firmware name is in the list but has a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark Yellow triangle icon next to it, go to Step 6.
Step 6: Restart your Surface.
Be sure to choose Restart—not Shut down—when you tap or click the Power Power button icon button.
Step 7: Follow steps 1 through 4 again to make sure the touch controller firmware is installed correctly.
If you still see the yellow triangle, contact us.

Pen won’t write, and right-click and eraser buttons don’t work

If your Surface Pen doesn’t write and the right-click button and eraser button don’t work, you’ll need to install, reinstall or replace the AAAA battery. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom and remove the AAAA battery (if there is one).

Surface Pen AAAA battery

If the battery was installed with the negative (–) end pointing toward the writing tip, put it back in with the positive (+) end pointing toward the writing tip and skip to Step 3.

Step 2: Insert the AAAA battery, wrapped in the paper label from the top of the pen, with the positive (+) end of the battery pointing toward the writing tip.
Step 3: Screw the top back on.

Pen writes, but right-click or eraser button doesn’t work

Many apps support the right-click and eraser buttons, but others don’t. If the pen writes, but the right-click and eraser buttons don’t work in OneNote, contact us.

Pen writes, but writing is jagged or inaccurate

If writing becomes jagged or inaccurate, the AAAA battery is running low. To replace the battery, see Pen won’t write, and right-click and eraser buttons don’t work, above.

I didn’t pair my pen during setup

Surface Pro 3: During setup, Windows prompts you to pair your Surface Pen with your Surface. If you skip that step or you’re interrupted before the pen is paired, you can pair them manually.

Surface 3: During setup, Windows doesn’t prompt you to pair your Surface Pen with your Surface 3. Instead, you need to pair them manually.

To learn how to pair your pen with your Surface, see Pair your Surface Pen manually, below.

Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote

If OneNote doesn’t open when you click the top button, OneNote might not be installed, the pen might not be paired with your Surface, or you might need to replace the coin cell batteries.

Note
Surface Pen can be paired with only one Surface at a time.

Solution 1: Make sure OneNote is installed

Here’s how you can make sure you have OneNote installed on your Surface:

Step 1: 

On the Start screen, slide up from the middle of the screen to get to Apps view.
(If you’re using a mouse, click the down arrow Down arrow in the lower-left corner of the screen.)

Step 2: Look for the OneNote app. This is easiest if you sort your apps by name.
If OneNote is in your apps list, skip to Solution 2.
If the OneNote app isn’t in your app list, you can install it from the Windows Store.
Note
OneNote comes in two versions: the OneNote Windows app, which anyone can use, and OneNote 2013, available to anyone with Office 365. If both are installed and you launch OneNote by clicking the pen, it may ask you which version you prefer.

Solution 2: Pair your Surface Pen manually

Your pen might not be paired with your Surface, or you may need to remove the pen from your list of Bluetooth® devices and re-pair it with your Surface.

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 Change PC settings > PC and devices > Bluetooth and make sure Bluetooth is on.

Step 3: 

If Surface Pen appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, tap or click it and tap or click Remove device.

Step 4: 

Hold down the top button for seven seconds, until the light in the middle of the pen clip starts to flash.

The light appears under the pen clip when Surface Pen is in pairing mode.

If the pen light doesn’t flash after seven seconds and you’ve installed all the latest updates, go to Solution 3.

Step 5: 

When the pen appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, tap or click it and tap or click Pair.

If the pen doesn’t pair, try these steps one more time. If it still doesn’t pair, contact us.

Solution 3: Change the coin cell batteries

Note
Change the coin cell batteries only if the pen light doesn’t come on when you hold the top button down for seven seconds.

To change the coin cell batteries, you’ll need two new size 319 coin cell batteries and a jewellers’ Phillips screwdriver. Here’s how to change the coin cell batteries:

Step 1: 

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom, leaving the paper label in the top in place.

Step 2: 

Do one of the following to remove the battery case:

  • Recommended method: Insert a jeweller’s Phillips screwdriver into the battery case, through the middle of the spring, and unscrew the battery case.
  • Alternative method: Insert a flathead screwdriver into one of the notches on the side of the battery case and twist the battery case to unscrew it. You’ll need to press on the spring to fit the blade of the screwdriver into the larger notches on the battery case.
How to change the coin cell batteries in the Surface Pen
Step 3: Remove the battery case and remove the old batteries. Insert the new batteries into the battery case with the negative (–) side facing the pen tip.
Step 4: 

Slide the top of the pen down over the battery case. Tighten the case just until you feel resistance. Don't overtighten it.

Note
If you hold the pen top sideways and slide the battery case in, the coin cell batteries may flip over before they’re secure and in their proper position.
Step 5: Screw the bottom and top of the pen back together.

You may need to pair the pen with your Surface again after you change the batteries.

If the light in the clip still doesn’t come on when you hold down the top button for seven seconds or if OneNote still doesn’t open when you click the top button, contact us.

Pen shows as not connected in the Bluetooth list

If your Surface Pen doesn’t show as Paired in your list of Bluetooth devices, first make sure you have the latest updates installed. See Install Surface and Windows updates above, for how-to info.

If your pen still doesn’t show as Paired after you’ve installed the latest updates, follow the steps in Pair your Surface Pen manually, above, to remove the pen from your Bluetooth list and pair it again.

If your pen still shows as Not connected after you pair it again, contact us.

Double-clicking the top button doesn’t take a screenshot

If a single click of the top button opens OneNote but a double-click doesn’t take a screenshot, you may need to install updates for Windows and OneNote. Here’s how:

Step 1: 

Click the top button of the pen once.

Step 2: 

Make sure you have the latest updates.
See Install Surface and Windows updates, above, for how-to info.

Step 3: 

On the Start screen, tap or click Store.

Step 4: 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 5: 

Tap or click App updates > Check for updates.

  • If OneNote appears in the list of available updates, tap or click it and tap or click Install.
  • If OneNote doesn’t appear in the list of available updates and double-clicking the top button of the pen doesn’t take a screenshot, contact us.

Pen isn’t pressure sensitive in some apps

Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 support different kinds of pen pressure.

Built-in pressure detection: Windows Store apps and many other apps work with the pressure detection that’s built into Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. For apps like OneNote, Adobe Photoshop CC 2014, and Manga Studio, you already have the drivers you need for pressure sensitivity. To adjust pressure sensitivity, use the Surface app.

Wintab pressure sensitivity (Surface Pro 3): Other apps, like Corel Draw and earlier versions of Photoshop, use a Wintab driver to detect pressure. If you have a Surface Pro 3 and want to use pressure sensitivity with these apps, install the Wintab driver for Surface Pro 3.

Important
Install the Wintab driver only if you need pressure-sensitivity for Wintab-based apps on Surface Pro 3.

To install the Wintab driver for Surface Pro 3:

Step 1: Open your browser and go to the Surface software, firmware and drivers page on the Microsoft Download Centre.
Step 2: Select Download.
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the list, select the checkbox for the .zip file that starts with Wintab, and select Next.
Step 4: Select Open.
Step 5: Extract files from the .zip file, double-click to run the file WinTab_Setup_x64.exe, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Pen tip needs replacing

If your pen tip wears out, is lost, or breaks, you can order new pen tips for Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 from the Online Service Center.

Note
Your pen must be registered, and you will need to sign in with your Microsoft account.

Other problems?

If these solutions didn’t solve the problem you’re having with Surface Pen, contact us.