Microsoft Now Offers Full Surface Pen Button Customization

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 0 Comments

Microsoft Now Offers Full Surface Pen Button Customization

When Microsoft first shipped Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, the updated Surface app actually provided less functionality than it had before. But that’s been fixed, and then some: Now you can use the new version of the Surface app to completely customize how the eraser button on the Surface Pen works.

As you may know, the Surface app dropped Surface Pen eraser button customization for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Previously, Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 users could configure which version of OneNote launched when they pressed the button on the end of the Surface Pen. Not so with Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, where pressing this button—now called the magic button, though I use the term eraser button—simply launched OneNote Mobile, and offered no way to configure it otherwise.

I explained the default behavior of the, um, magic button in Surface Book Tip: Master Surface Pen’s Eraser Button. As noted there, this button provides single- and double-click actions, and a press-and-hold action, in addition to working as an eraser. But now, with the latest Surface app update, you can configure each of these actions as you see fit.

I had been told to expect this change, but wasn’t sure when it would arrive. But put simply, the Surface app now works as it should, at least with regards to the Surface Pen eraser button. So in addition to the Pressure Sensitivity settings that were available previously for Pen, we now get Button Customization.


Better, you can really configure each action as you see fit. For example, single-click allows for more than just a choice of OneNote apps. You can choose to launch OneNote (Mobile, the default), any store app, or any desktop application. Or you can simply disable it.


The double-click and press-and-hold actions work similarly, though the latter adds a Cortana Ink Reminder too. Very cool.


These settings are available for the new Surface Pen only, by the way. But it doesn’t matter which Surface device you’re using: Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book should all work.

For you disgruntled Surface Pen users that wanted to just launch the desktop version of OneNote, here’s what you do: Select “Launch a desktop app” under “Single-click.” Then, click the “Browse for a program” box that appears and navigate to the location of your OneNote.exe file. (This will vary depending on which version of Office/OneNote you’re using, and whether you chose a 32-bit or 64-bit install. To find it, use Start search to find OneNote, and then right-click and choose “Open file location.” Voila.)


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