Surface Book Tip: Master Surface Pen’s Eraser Button

Surface Book Tip: Master Surface Pen's Eraser Button

Surface Book—Microsoft’s “ultimate laptop”—comes with the new Surface Pen, which can be used when the device is in portable clipboard or creative canvas mode. But what you may not realize is that the new eraser button on Surface Pen works differently than previous Pens.

Note: Microsoft actually calls the eraser button the “magic button,” for some reason. Let’s just pretend that’s not happening.

UPDATE: Microsoft now lets you configure how the eraser button on Surface Pen works. Please check out Microsoft Now Offers Full Surface Pen Button Customization for the details.

If you’re familiar with Surface Pro 3 or other previous Surface devices, you may know that the Surface app—downloable from the Windows Store—helps you configure what was called the “top button” on previous Pen versions. That is, you used to be able to change which version of OneNote—the desktop application or the mobile app—ran when you clicked this button.

With Surface Book, things have changed. The Surface app is now included with Windows 10 on your Surface Book. And the top button is now an eraser button that works like a digital eraser when you flip the Pen around and drag that button across your device’s screen.

More to the point, the eraser button now has three functions, none of which are customizable. (That said, I do expect Microsoft to offer some customization of these actions via the Surface app at some point.) These are:

Open OneNote and start a new note page. Click the eraser button once to open the OneNote mobile app and immediately start taking notes. Unlike with previous Pen versions, you can’t configure this to use the OneNote desktop application, even if you configure that for all its defaults. (This is part of the reason I think that customization is coming. There is no way Microsoft will leave this like this.)


Take a screenshot. Double-click the eraser button to take a full-screen shot. This works identically to typing WINKEY + PRTSCN. That is, the screenshot will be saved to the Screenshots folder in Pictures. But it will also let you clip the shot and add it to OneNote, which can be handy.


Open Cortana. Press and hold on the eraser button to open the “Hey, Cortana” window, which is the same as typing WINKEY + C, meaning you can control Cortana with your voice.



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