Troubleshoot Microsoft Surface Pen with two side buttons

Applies to

Surface Studio, Surface Book, Surface Book with Performance Base, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 3, Surface 3.

Applies to

Surface 3, Surface Pro 3.

Operating system:

Here are things to try if your Surface Pen won’t write, open OneNote, or connect to Bluetooth.


Note

This article tells how to troubleshoot the pen that comes with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. For help troubleshooting the Surface Pen with single button on flat edge (the pen that comes with other Surface devices), see Troubleshoot Surface Pen with single button on flat edge. To get help with the pen that comes with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, see Troubleshoot Pro Pen.

Things to check first

Make sure your pen will work with your Surface

Surface Pen with two side buttons 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 with two side buttons. For more info, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

Make sure the Surface Touch Controller firmware is installed

Step 1:

Select the search box in the taskbar, enter device manager, and then select Device Manager in the search results.

Step 2:

Select the arrow next to Firmware and look for the touch controller firmware for your Surface. Depending on which Surface you have, it’ll be called Surface Touch, Surface Pro Touch Firmware, or Surface Touch Controller Firmware.

If the firmware is on the list and you don’t see a caution sign Yellow triangle icon, the firmware is installed correctly. If it isn’t on the list, install the latest updates.

Step 3:

If the firmware is on the list but has a caution sign Yellow triangle iconnext to it, restart your PC and check again to see if the touch controller firmware is installed.

If you still see the yellow triangle, contact us.

The pen won’t write

If your Surface Pen doesn’t write, you need to check or replace the AAAA battery inside the pen.

Step 1:

Unscrew the top of the pen from the bottom and remove the AAAA battery.

A drawing of the Surface Pen with two side buttons, with major parts numbered 1 through five to correspond to the text key below the image

1 Top button
2 AAAA battery
3 Right-click button
4 Eraser button
5 Tip

Make sure the positive (+) end is pointing toward the writing tip.

Step 2:

Check if the pen works. If not, insert a new 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.

The right-click or eraser button doesn’t work

If your Surface Pen writes but the right-click button or eraser button doesn’t work, check or replace the AAAA battery.

My pen writes, but the writing is jagged or inaccurate

This means that the AAAA battery is running low. Follow the steps above to replace the battery.

I didn’t pair my pen during setup

If you didn’t pair Surface Pen when you set up your Surface, you can do it in Settings. See Manually pair Surface Pen with two side buttons.

Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote

If OneNote doesn’t open when you click the top button, here are some things to try.

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

  • Make sure the OneNote app from the Windows Store is installed. Clicking the top button on the pen only opens the Windows Store version of the app, not the desktop version (OneNote 2013 or OneNote 2016). See Find all your apps and programs to learn how to check which version you have.
  • Check the pen shortcut and make sure OneNote is selected. To learn how, see Change pen settings.
  • Pair your pen. See Pair Surface Pen with two side buttons.
  • Change the coin cell batteries. If the pen light doesn’t come on when you hold the top button down for seven seconds, change the batteries. You’ll need two new size-319 coin cell batteries and a jeweler’s Phillips screwdriver:
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.

      A drawing of the components of the Surface Pen with two side buttons, with major parts numbered 1 through 6 to correspond to the text key below the image, plus illustrations showing which kinds of screwdrivers to use to remove the battery case
     
    1 Top button
    2 Phillips screwdriver access
    3 Coin cell batteries
    4 Battery case
    5 Flathead screwdriver notch
    6 Tip
    Step 3:

    Remove the battery case, and then 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.

    The pen shows as not connected in the Bluetooth list

    If your Surface Pen with two side buttons appears on your list of Bluetooth devices but isn’t connected, make sure you have the latest updates installed. See Install Surface and Windows updates for more info.

    If your pen still isn’t connected, remove the pen from your Bluetooth list and pair it again.

    If your pen still shows as Not connectedcontact 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 might need to install updates for Windows and OneNote.

    Step 1:

    Click the top button on the pen once. If OneNote doesn’t open, see Clicking the top button doesn’t open OneNote, above.

    Step 2:

    If OneNote opens, make sure you’re getting automatic app updates. To learn how, see Turn on automatic app updates.

    Step 3:

    Check the double-click shortcut. To learn how, see Change pen settings.

    The 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:

    Go to the Surface software, firmware, and drivers page on the Microsoft Download Center  and select Download.

    Step 2:

    Scroll to the bottom of the list, select the checkbox for the .zip file that starts with Wintab, select Next, and then select Open.

    Step 3: Open the .zip file and double-click WinTab_Setup_x64.exe. Then follow the instructions on the screen.

    The pen tip is broken, lost, or worn out

    If you need a new pen tip, you can order one from Device Support . For the Surface Pen with two side buttons, you’ll need a Surface Pen Tip for Ver.2 Pen.

    Note

    To order pen tips, your Surface must be registered, and you have to sign in with your Microsoft account.

    Here’s how to change tips:

    Step 1:

    Grasp the tip that’s in the pen and pull the tip straight out.

    Step 2: Insert the base of the new tip into the pen opening and push the tip in until it locks into place.

    Pressing and holding the top button doesn’t open anything

    Press and hold doesn’t work on this 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.


    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 upper-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 upper-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 upper-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 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:

    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 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 upper-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 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 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.


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