Applies to

Surface Pro 3, Windows 8.1.


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 pairing your pen with your Surface Pro 3.


Notes
  • Surface Pen is designed specifically for use with Surface Pro 3, and does not work with earlier Surface models.
  • Surface Pen uses two types of batteries:
    • Writing, erasing, and right-clicks 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 batteries in the top of the pen.

  • For help troubleshooting the pen that comes with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, see Troubleshoot Pro 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 then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

Step 2:Tap or click Change PC settings, tap or click Update and recovery, and then tap or click Windows Update.
Step 3:Tap or click Check now.
Step 4:

If there are updates available, tap or click View details.

Step 5:Tap or click to select the updates you want to install. Be sure to, select Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2968599) if it is available.
Step 6:Tap or click Install.
You may need to restart Surface after the updates have been installed.
Step 7:Repeat Steps 1 through 6 to make sure you have all updates.

Ensure that Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware is correctly installed

Step 1:

On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

Step 2:Tap or click Change PC Settings, and tap or click Control Panel.
Step 3:Tap or click Hardware and Sound, and then tap or click Device Manager.
Step 4:Tap or click the arrow next to Firmware, and look for Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware.
Step 5:

Next:

  • If Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware is listed and you don’t see a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark, the firmware is installed correctly. Skip the rest of this procedure and continue with the suggested solutions for you problem.
  • If Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware isn’t listed, you need to install all the latest updates as described above. Then start again with this procedure.
  • If the icon next to Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware has a yellow triangle icon with an exclamation mark Yellow triangle icon, continue with Step 6, below.
Step 6:Restart Surface.
Be sure to choose Restart and not Shut down when you click the power icon on the Start screen.
Step 7:Follow steps 1 through 4 again to make sure Surface Pro Touch Controller Firmware is installed correctly.
If you still see the yellow triangle icon, 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 buttons don’t work, the AAAA battery needs to be installed, reinstalled, or replaced. Here’s how:

Step 1:

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom, and remove the AAAA battery if one is installed.

Surface Pen AAAA battery

If the battery was installed with the negative (-) end of the battery 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. Replace the battery following the directions above under Pen won’t write, and right-click and eraser buttons don’t work.

Pen shows as not connected in the Bluetooth list

Surface Pen only connects to Bluetooth® when the top button is pressed. It uses the Bluetooth connection just long enough to open OneNote or to capture a screenshot. When you look at your list of Bluetooth devices, Surface Pen shows as Not connected because it’s not doing either of those things. This is normal—it saves battery life in the pen.

Pen uses Bluetooth only while top button is pressed.

If OneNote opens when you press the top button, Surface Pen is paired.

If OneNote doesn’t open, see the next section, Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote.

I didn’t pair my pen during setup

No problem––you can pair the pen to your Surface Pro 3 anytime. To learn how, see Pair Surface Pen manually below.

Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote

If OneNote doesn’t open when you click the top button, the pen might not be paired with your Surface Pro 3, or the coin batteries in the top of the pen might need to be replaced.

Solution 1: Make sure OneNote is installed

Although OneNote comes pre-installed on your Surface, but it may have been uninstalled. Here’s how you can make sure OneNote is installed:

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.
Step 3:If you don’t see the OneNote app listed, you can reinstall it from the Windows Store.

Solution 2: Pair Surface Pen manually

The Pen may not be paired, or may it may need to be removed from the Bluetooth list and paired again.

Step 1:

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.

Step 2:

Tap or click Change PC settings, and tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click Bluetooth. Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on.

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

Step 3:

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 have installed all Surface and Windows updates, go to Solution 3.
Step 4:

When the pen appears in the list of Bluetooth devices, tap or click it, and then 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
Only change the coin cell batteries if the pen light does not come on when you hold the top button down for seven seconds.

To change the coin cell batteries, you’ll need two size 319 coin cell batteries and a jewelers’ 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:

Next, 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 battery case.
  • -or-

  • Alternate 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 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 replace the old batteries with new ones. Insert the 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. Do not over-tighten.

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

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

If the light under the clip still doesn’t come on when you hold the top button down for seven seconds, or if OneNote still doesn’t open when you click the top button on Surface Pen, 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 all updates including KB2968599, as described in Before you begin: Install Surface and Windows updates at the top of this article.

Step 3:

At the Start screen, tap or click Windows Store.

Step 4:

Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap or click Settings.

Step 5:

Tap or click App updates.

Step 6:

Tap or click Check for updates.

Step 7:

If OneNote appears in the list of available updates, make sure it is selected, and then 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 screen shot, contact us.

Pen isn’t pressure sensitive in some apps

Surface Pro 3 supports two 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. So, for things like OneNote or apps like Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 or Manga Studio, you already have the drivers you need for pressure sensitivity.
  • Wintab pressure sensitivity. Other apps, like Corel Draw and earlier versions of Photoshop, use a different method to detect pressure called Wintab. To use pressure sensitivity with these apps on Surface Pro 3, you need to install the N-trig Wintab driver. For more info, see Surface Pro 3 Pen – Designed for Accuracy Across the Entire Canvas on the Surface Blog.
Important
Only install this driver if you need pressure-sensitivity for Wintab-based applications on Surface Pro 3.

To install the Wintab driver:

Step 1:

Open your browser and go to the N-trig Downloads & Drivers webpage.

Step 2:

Choose the following items in the drop-down lists:

  • For Operating System, choose Windows 8.1 64 bit.
  • For Manufacturer, choose Microsoft.
  • For Model, choose Surface Pro 3.
Step 3:

Click the Download link for the .exe file.

Step 4:When prompted to run or save the file, tap or click Run, and follow the prompts to complete the installation.

Other problems?

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



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Answer Techs aren't available now. Please try back during our hours of operation.
Operating Hours
Monday through Friday
8am - 12am (Eastern Time)
5am - 9pm (Pacific Time)

Saturday and Sunday
9am - 6pm (Eastern Time)
6am - 3pm (Pacfic Time)

Oops! We are currently experiencing technical difficulties.
Please call us for help at 1-800-Microsoft (1-800-642-7676).

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