Tips and Tricks for Microsoft's Surface Pro 3

After a month of using Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, I've collected some tips and trips to help your Surface computing experience.

It has been a month since I’ve started using Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. For you other Surface Pro users, I’ve compiled tips & tricks to make your computing experience better.

  • Emojis

Who uses a keyboard to spell out words when an emoticon will do? The key to bring up all kinds of emoticons is right in front of you but easy to overlook. When the virtual keyboard pops up, click on the smiley face next to the spacebar. You can toggle through categories of emoticons.


  • Shut down a Modern app

When you drag a Modern app from the top of the screen to the bottom and let go, it disappears and you think it’s closed. However it’s still lurking in memory, so it can boot quickly in case you launch the app again. To totally quit the app, drag it to the bottom of the screen and hold for 3 seconds until the thumbnail flips. Let go and the app exits.


  • Customize your pen

Microsoft released the Surface Hub app which allows you to customize your pen sensitivity settings as well as the button on the top of then. Updates to the Surface Hub will bring additional functionality.


  • OneNote handwriting recognition

When I started using the default OneNote (the OneNote Windows Store App) that the pen button launches), I was happily handwriting away. However I was surprised that I wasn’t able to convert my handwriting to text or search my handwriting from the OneNote Windows Store App (by the way, that’s an unwieldy name!). To enable searching your handwritten text you have to open the notebook in the desktop version of OneNote. It will index your handwriting and make it searchable in both versions of OneNote. From the desktop version you can also convert your handwriting to text. Hopefully Microsoft makes this more intuitive in the future.


  • Screen Clipping

Quick and easy, double-tap the Surface button on top and select the area of the screen to clip. It’s placed in OneNote automatically.


  • Changing the screen resolution of the Start screen

From the Start screen, type in PC Settings, then PC and Devices. Next go to Display. You should then see the slider for Resolution as well as the ability to change the size of apps, text, and other items under More options.


  • Changing the number of rows displayed on the Start screen

Go to the Start screen, swipe right and click on Settings. Then click on Tiles – from there you can select “Show more tiles on the Start screen” as well as a few other options.


  • Take a screenshot

Say, “Cheese!” and press the lower volume button at the same time as the Windows button. Saying cheese is optional.


  • Quick Link Menu

Windows key + X brings up a menu leading to many of the administrative features and frequently used applications such as file explorer. Handy when you’re using the keyboard in desktop mode.


  • Lock the screen rotation

Swipe right to bring up the charms menu, click on Settings and then the Screen icon on the bottom right. You can toggle screen orientation lock from there.


  • Access the task manager without a keyboard

Hold down the Windows button and press the power button – it brings up a menu where you can lock the Surface, switch users, sign out, or launch the task manager

Hope these tips help make your Surface Pro computing experience even better! Now you’ll be the envy of the café crowd as they see you swiping, inking, and typing to your heart’s content. With those many actions, you must be productive, right?