How to: Calibrate the Touchscreen on your Surface

calibrate touchscreenThis may have happened to you:

You click on a button or menu option and “miss”. Maybe you’re using Fresh Paint and notice that your Surface Pro stylus is drawing just “a little to the left”.

The cause? Your touch inputs are out of calibration.

The touchscreen and pen inputs on your Surface are pretty accurate out of the box so, you may not have seen any problems with this. However, that doesn’t mean  it won’t happen  in the future. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix that you can do in less than two minutes. We’ll cover the procedure for a Surface Pro then for a Surface RT.

Calibrate Touchscreen or Pen input on a Surface Pro

  • Bring up the Charm Bar (swipe in from the right of the screen)
  • In the Search Charm, search for “calibration
  • Tap on Settings then tap on “Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input
  • The following screen will appear

calibrate touchscreen

  • Tap on Calibrate. When you do, you’ll get the following window

calibrate touchscreen

  • The procedure for doing the Pen or touch inputs are the same so select which one you want to calibrate
  • Next you’ll see a screen a lot like the one below (I enlarged the text to make it easier to read)

calibrate touchscreen

  • Start in the upper left corner and touch (or tap with the pen) the cross-hairs as they appear. There will be 16 in all. If you make a mistake, right-click on the screen to back up and try again
  • After you’re done, you’ll get a popup asking if you want to save your configuration. Tap OK
  • Repeat for the touch or pen input as needed

Calibrate Touchscreen on a Surface RT

  • Bring up the Charm Bar (swipe in from the right of the screen)
  • In the Search Charm, search for “calibration
  • Tap on Settings then tap on “Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input
  • The following screen will appear

calibrate touchscreen

  • Tap on Calibrate. When you do, you’ll get the following screen since the RT only has the touch input option

calibrate touchscreen

  • Start in the upper left corner and touch (or tap with the pen) the cross-hairs as they appear. There will be 16 in all. If you make a mistake, right-click on the screen to back up and try again
  • After you’re done, you’ll get a popup asking if you want to save your configuration. Tap OK

That’s it. Hopefully, you won’t need to do this very often but if you do, now you know what to do.

Let me know if this helps you at some point and don’t be afraid to post a comment if you have any questions.

Tim

11 thoughts on “How to: Calibrate the Touchscreen on your Surface

  1. Hi Tim, I have tried to connect a 60″ Touchscreen to the Surface tablet and unfortunately the calibration is way out. I can get the calibration screen but it won’t allow me to touch the touchscreen. The calibration will only work on the surface tablet itself, even though it does mirror on the large screen.
    Any ideas on what else I can do to calibrate the Touchscreen?
    Regards
    Tanya

    • Tanya,

      It depends a bit on the touchscreen. Some of them come with their own calibration and driver software. Are you running a RT or a Pro? It may be the case you have to install some software to get the touchscreen to work right and that will only work for a Pro.

      Hope this helps,
      Tim

        • Unfortunately, only software in the Windows Store can be added to a Surface RT tablet.

          Have you checked the manufacturer’s website for the external touchscreen you’re trying to use? They may have some information to help you get it working without a driver or, perhaps, they have a list of alternate drivers that might come on the Surface RT.

          Just go to their website and search for Surface RT and the model of the external display. If that doesnt work, try the same thing with “tablet” or even “ipad” in place of Surface Rt in the search string.

          Hope this helps some more,
          Tim

  2. Hey I have tried to calibrate my pen but nothing happens when I try to touch the crosshairs on the screen with my pen. HELP!

      • It shouldn’t be, I literally just took the stylus out of the box. Also I don’t get the option to calibrate my touch or pen input.

        • Hmmm… Don’t be so sure. All manufacturers have a certain percentage of out of the box failures. It’s possible that you simply are the victim of bad luck.

          I assume touch calibration works? If so, I’d contact Microsoft and see if they’ll send a replacement.

          Tim

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