Applies to

Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface 3, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1.


The Surface touchscreen

Whether you’re using your Surface at work, at school, or at home while relaxing on the couch, the multi-touch screen provides crisp wide-angle viewing and support for Windows 8 gestures.


The basics

Some gestures, 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, there are several on-screen keyboard layouts to choose from, including one that converts your handwriting to text. For more info, see How to use the on-screen keyboard.

Rotate or lock screen orientation

When you rotate 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 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 upper-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 Surface, you may not be able to change the screen rotation setting. If the setting is grayed-out, either detach the Cover or fold it back.
Lock Screen
A lock appears on the screen icon when rotation is locked.

Adjust screen brightness

Turn off automatic screen brightness

By default, 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.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3: Tap or click Power and sleep.
Step 4: 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’d 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 upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Screen, and use the slider to adjust the brightness up or down.
Notes

Choose when the screen dims and turns off

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

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.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3: Tap or click Power and sleep.
Step 4: 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 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.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)
Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click PC and devices.
Step 3: Tap or click Display, and under Customize your display, choose the screen setting you want to change.

Use a pen or stylus 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 handwrite notes. 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 optional accessory for Surface 3. For more info, see Using Surface Pen.

You can use a capacitive 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.