Microsoft's Surface Pen buttons can now be tweaked to launch any program

A new update to the Surface app lets you launch a desktop program with a click of your digital pen.

Microsoft is adding some new customization options to the Surface Pen for the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The three-way button on the newest Surface Pen comes programmed with three different functions by default: A single click launches OneNote, double-click takes a screenshot, and press and hold calls up Cortana.

With the latest version of the Surface app, however, you can now add a lot more functionality to the Surface Pen, as Windows Central first reported. The defaults remain the same, but you can do away with one or all of them to launch desktop and Windows Store apps instead. There’s also an option to disable each button entirely.

Say, for example, you wanted a quick way to call up your web browser. You could assign that to the Surface Pen's single click instead of OneNote. If Cortana isn’t your thing, you might use press and hold to launch Photoshop or an Office program.

The impact on you at home: While not a massive update, the ability to customize the Surface Pen’s actions to your liking takes the Surface experience up another notch. Custom launch buttons on the pen can go a long way to better integrating the pen into your workflow. It’s surprising Microsoft didn’t add this functionality out of the box, but you’ll have it as soon as you grab version 10.0.342 of the Surface app, which is available now from the Windows Store.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindows 10Surface Pro 4

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?