Changing Surface Pen’s Button Actions

Changing Surface Pen’s Button Actions

To be honest, I rarely use the pen that came with my Surface Pro 4. Over the years, Microsoft has gone off on tangents where the company believes a specific technology direction should be adopted but customers think differently. I know Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into making the Anniversary edition of Windows 10 more pen-friendly, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be enough to entice me to use pen input more.

However, some customization options in the Surface app for Windows 10 could just turn me around, particularly the default for the Press and Hold action. The Surface app, downloadable from the Windows store HERE, provides the ability to alter what the Surface pen button does for various input actions.

You can change what the pen does with a single-click, a double-click, and a click-and-hold. The current defaults are this:

Single-click default = launch OneNote

Double-click default = Send a screen capture (copy the current screen) to OneNote

Press and Hold default = Launch Cortana

…but, you can change each in the following ways:

Single-click options = OneNote, disabled, launch a store app, launch a desktop app

Double-click options = Screenshot to OneNote, disabled, launch a store app, launch a desktop app

Press and Hold options = Cortana, Cortana ink reminder, disabled, launch a store app, launch a desktop app

The Press and Hold functionality for Cortana is already a valuable piece that I’ve started using, but this will become even more valuable once Windows 10 Anniversary edition releases next month. Why? Because Windows 10 Anniversary will include a feature where Cortana will be available over the Windows 10 lockscreen – which essentially turns any PC, tablet, or Mobile device into Microsoft’s version of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled gadgets (Echo and Tap).

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