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How to fix Surface Pen not writing on Surface Tablet

The Surface tablet works with the Surface pen. It isn’t the best drawing tool but it works well enough for annotating documents and taking notes. The Surface pen pairs easily with the tablet and Windows 10 will install the necessary drivers for it. Since both the tablet and the pen are Microsoft products, setting them up is seamless.

Surface Pen not writing

Fix Surface Pen not writing

The Surface pen can draw and it has a button on the side. The button’s function changes depending on the app that you’re using but the pen’s tip will generally do the same thing across all apps. If the pen isn’t working i.e., you cannot draw with it but the buttons are working fine, check if the app you’re using this supports drawing or annotation. You can test it in the OneNote app. If the pen isn’t working, try the fixes below.

1. Check device battery

Make sure both the pen and the tablet are sufficiently charged. The tablet may not accept input from the pen if it is low on power. Likewise, if the pen is low on power, it may not work as well. Charge both items and then try again.

2. Unpair and pair device

Try to unpair the Surface pen and pair it again. Much like turning something off and on can fix problems with, unpairing and pairing the pen can resolve this issue.

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Devices.
  3. Select Bluetooth.
  4. Select the Surface pen.
  5. Tap on Remove device.
  6. Once removed, pair the pen again.

3. Restart Surface tablet

The Surface tablet, like any other tablet, is always kept on. It can be turned off but tablets aren’t really used that way. Try turning the Surface tablet off and then on again.

  1. Press and hold the volume up button and the power button on the Surface tablet.
  2. Release after 20 seconds.
  3. Press the power button to turn the tablet back on.

4. Install driver updates

Check for driver updates for the Surface pen. Make sure the pen is paired with your system. 

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Human interface devices.
  3. Right-click the Surface pen and select Update driver.
  4. Check online for driver updates.
  5. Install available driver updates.

5. Roll back driver updates

Some users have been able to fix problems with the pen by rolling back a driver update. 

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Human interface devices.
  3. Double-click the surface pen.
  4. Go to the Driver tab.
  5. Click Rollback driver.

6. Install Windows updates

If you have pending Windows updates, install them. Updates often fix problems with software and drivers. 

  1. Open the Settings app with the Win+I keyboard shortcut.
  2. Go to Update and security.
  3. Select the Update tab.
  4. Click Check for updates.
  5. Install available updates.
  6. Restart the system if needed.

7. Update Surface pen firmware

Much like Windows 10, the Surface Pen also gets firmware updates. 

  1. Make sure the pen is paired to your system.
  2. Download the Surface Hub pen update tool from Microsoft
  3. Run the app and it will update the pen’s firmware.

Conclusion

The Surface pen is a hardware device and it can be damaged physically. If all else fails, have the device checked. The tip may be damaged. It may be repairable or you may need to buy a new one. 

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