Calibrate the Touchscreen on your Surface

Calibrate the Touchscreen on your Surface

This 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. The same procedure works for Windows 8 and Windows 10 (technically, it works for Windows RT as well but you won’t get a prompt for Pen or Touch Calibration).

Calibrate Touchscreen or Pen input on a Surface

  • Search for “calibrate
  • 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 similar so select which one you want to calibrate. For this example, I’m going to do Touch Input
  • 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

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.


is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director). He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.


  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?

    • 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,

        • 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,

  2. I type in calibrate in my surface pro and there is no option to “Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input” i do get one option that brings me to this help page though….

    • Dan,

      Above the search box there’s a little pull-down arrow next to where it says “Everywhere”. Click or tap on it and select “Settings” then search for calibrate.

      You should see it then.

      Hope this helps,

  3. Hi, my compliments for the article. I have bought my new Surface PRO 3 3 days ago but i have discovered a strange thing: if I use the default PEN and TOUCH settings, my SP3 work very properly and the accuracy of the input (pen and touch) is very good. But, if I try to do an accurate PEN and TOUCH calibration, they begin to run approximately and, in some points of the screen, they do not allow to work with precision. Can you give me advice on how to solve? I also tried to re-initialize the system but have not solved!

    I can return it and replace it with a new one …. but do you think it’s worth it?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Nico,

      I haven’t encountered that problem before. Usually, the calibration works well and doesn’t “drift” so long as you’re careful when doing it.

      By chance do you happen to have a screen protector on your SP3? If so, it could be interfering with the calibration.

      Just a guess…

      If that’s not it, you could try installing the Surface Tweak Tool and using it’s calibration function…

      It offers up to a 300 point calibration which is more accurate than the built-in calibration.

      However, be aware, you’ll want to be as EXACT AS POSSIBLE when doing the calibration.

      Hope this helps,

  4. Hello Tim,
    My touchscreen got persnickety about inputs. Had it in an aftermarket cover (opens like a book, made of a leather-like vinyl). I pulled it (8.1 RT) from the case after cleaning the screen failed to resolve the problem and found my housekeeping was not up to par around the edges covered by the case. Lacking a pup, I used the micro cleaning kit that I use on my TV. Still not quite right, so did the system reset. Seemed better but I quickly caught it doing that little ghost finger dance (screen jiggles and shows 3 or 4 ‘water spots’ at various screen locations. A couple of keyboard keys – locations – show a bit of insensitivity, particularly the ‘.>’ key on the full keyboard selection. Living with that for the moment.
    But, tried recalibrate as shown above and when complete the edges will no longer respond, i.e., Charms won’t open to right and won’t let me preview pages to left as before. So far only way around seems to be to delete calibration. Suggestions, answers? I have not put the RT back in the case yet, though I would like to – I find the hard surfaced SURFACE uncomfortable to hold bare
    Thank you for any help!


  5. I am having the above problem but when I get to the calibration screen..the touch part does not respond when I touch calibrate I get a circle where my finger was but it does not respond..

  6. surface rt piece of s…t, touchscreen does NOT work at all, I did a hard reset and started working, did updates and touchscreen stop working again, hard reset it again and no more.. hasn’t work since, try it all .. about to run over it with my truck.

  7. Tim-The right side of my Surface does not respond to tapping with the stylus or the finger. I cannot access the on screen keyboard in the bottom right corner or anything on the right side of the screen regardless of the application or mode. Tried all your suggestions but they only confirm the right hand side is dead”. Any ideas?

    • I hate to say it but, it sounds like a hardware failure. I’d contact MS support if it’s still under warranty.

      Actually, if you have one nearby, I’d go to a Microsoft Store as it’s much harder to ignore someone in person 😉 beside, so far, I’ve had pretty good experiences in all of the MS stores I’ve visited.

      If your machine isn’t under warranty, you might consider the Oven Method (

      Beware, even though I wrote it up, I can’t really recommend it. I do know that a few folks have found success fixing touchscreen issues with it but you risk turning your Surface into a paving stone.

      Good luck.

  8. I was able to calibrate it using these steps the first day I had it, third day now, this option is gone, no calibration option at all. and it’s making me unable to work on art.

    This has been a most troublesome piece of equipment…

  9. I have a surface 3 and I need to adjust the settings on the tablet because the slightest miss touch sets it off on another website.This the tablet itself not the cover.I know how to adjust the pen settings but not the settings on the surface itself. Thanks, Bruce. P.S. Windows 8 OS.

  10. My stylus will work fine but occasionally when I hook up to some projectors and I am in a PowerPoint slideshow, the pen is off by about an inch. If I draw, the ink shows up down and the to the right. Down and to the right. If I back out of PowerPoint slide show I can still draw land it works fine. Or, if I disconnect the projector I can draw in slideshow mode. The touch settings are the same. In certain situations (certain projectors while in slideshow) this happens. Any ideas?

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