let pen usage toggle between inking and pointer
The January 2016 Office update defaults the Surface Pen to an inking tool. Most Excel users prefer to use the pen as a pointer. Please give us a toggle in the ribbon to switch between inking and pointing.
(2016-03-15 – Completed) (Edit: Added link to Office Insider signup)
I wanted to let everyone know that in the update to Office that started rolling out to Insiders today, you will find a new preference in the Options dialog to allow you to make the pen select instead of ink by default. Enabling this preference will make the pen function exactly like it did before, plus you can use the options on the Draw tab if you do decide you want to ink. If you are an Office Insider (which anyone can join – https://products.office.com/en-us/office-insider), you should get this update within the next day or so. If you are not an Office Insider, it may take another week or two to reach you.
This is a per-app preference, so you can enable selection by default in Excel for instance while leaving ink as the default in Word and PowerPoint, or you can switch all three. To access this preference select File > Options, and then in the Options dialog select Advanced and check ‘Use pen to select and interact with content by default’ in the new Pen section.
We’ll be releasing the second piece, which is the ability to toggle on pen selection via the Draw tab for those that only want to use the pen to select occasionally, with the next monthly update.
Thanks again to all of you for your feedback, and we hope this change addresses your concerns.
(2016-02-29 – Started)
I wanted to first thank all of you for your feedback. We’ve heard you loud and clear, and as a result we are actively working on two changes:
1 – For people that want to use the pen as a precise pointer temporarily, we will introduce the ability to do that via a button on the Draw tab. This will keep the new default of having the pen ink on the document canvas, but give the ability to use the pen to do selection when needed.
2 – For people that want or need to use the pen like a mouse by default, we will also add a new preference to the Options dialog that will allow you to restore the previous behavior. If you want to ink, that will be easier than before because you’ll be able to just tap a pen on the Draw tab and start inking, but you will be able to set your default behavior to be that the pen selects, just like it was before the update.
We are actively working on making these changes so that we can get them out to you as soon as possible. Note that you may see #2 (the preference in the Options dialog) appear first, because we are prioritizing getting that change to you based on your feedback.
(2016-02-25 – Under Review)
Thanks all for the feedback, we’re looking at this area now.
You’re correct that this is a change with the latest update to Office 2016, if you have an O365 subscription. Throughout Office (and across platforms – Windows, iOS, Android, etc.), we are moving towards having the pen do what it does on paper: draw ink. Using this you can annotate your documents, convert ink into shapes and flowcharts, and more.
You should still be able to use your finger to select, resize, change text color, etc. however. This change should only affect your use of the pen.
Now all that said, we’re always open to your feedback on any change we make, so we are now looking into providing a way to allow you to go back to the legacy behavior.
I bought Surface Pro 3 specifically for the Excel program. With the pen in ink mode, I can no longer do some of the tasks I relied on the pen for. I find Excel almost completely useless to me now. If there was a toggle off switch for the ink mode, I'll stay with Microsoft, otherwise I'll have to look elsewhere as I am so frustrated with new change.,
Change it back now!!!
Appreciate the update but I think by reading the feedback here it is certain there is a push to allow for the option. It breaks the entire windows interface if you don't. I use the pen as a mouse on the surface throughout and when I get to excel I have to now use a finger.????.... make no sense at all. Worked great before. If I want to draw with it , I selected that option
albert gysels commented
The pen can be used anywhere in Windows as a pointing tool. Even in office you can use it to move the screen up and down. It is an excellent and precise pointing tool and it enables to keep the screen clean. It is difficult to be so precise with the fingers especially when selecting cells in excel. To draw ink on an excel sheet is not very useful. Why not leave the choice to the user instead of imposing him to change tools when using office? The alternative is to use a mouse but it prevents to work with excel in tablet mode.
As others have posted and I have posted elsewhere, this cripples Excel and Word for me; therefore it cripples my (very expensive) SP 4. At the very least, make it switchable so I can use the pen as I have been and as I prefer. I use the pen extensively as a selection tool in Excel; my finger isn't as precise and press-select doesn't bring up the right-click options I can get with the pen.
Jan Karel Pieterse commented
I'd add 2 votes if I weren't out of votes!!!!!!!
Please remove this "feature" as soon as possible!
This makes no sense for anyone using a surface pro in the field!
I would rather turn the inking off forever than not be able to switch between the two options.
This puts the use of our surface pro's out the window!!!!
The inking only tool is a disaster for our division of people who need to use the tablet.
Let as choose how to use the surface pen
With the finger, toe , nose etc the double click of a cell to run a macro doesn't work so we have to use use mouse or the touchpad
Fix it fast
To have the choice between either use the pen to dras or as a pointer was much better. Thank You
This is a real retrograde step - the UI is SO much worse now and makes using Office products incredibly frustrating. Please let us use the pen as a stylus and CHOOSE if we want to draw
Sending back 10 Surface 3's w/ keyboards, cases, and pens if this problem isn't addressed during next week's updates. My sales staff needs the pen to act as a stylus!
I prefer to use the pen as a pointer. I need it. Please
SP4 User commented
Same frustrations as other posts. I use my SP pen mostly as a touch mechanism to navigate around the screen, select text, drag and drop, etc. Now those functions are automatically disabled when my pen approaches the screen because of this new "feature"- all it will do is ink. I had to revert back to Office 2013 until Microsoft releases a fix / alternative to this. I just want to be able to manually turn inking on and off just like in Office 2013 and just like non-active pen users are still able to do in Office 2016.
Without this function, the pen is absolutely useless
Angie Diaz commented
Same issue please help!!!!!!!!!!
I contacted MS support and the tech took over control of my computer, and then "broke" my install of office, meaning I had to download it all again on a metered (costly) connection. This inking function is a total disaster, but just goes to prove MS are not interested in their customer's experience. Whoever thought this was a good "feature" needs a face slapping.
albert gysels commented
If the pen cannot point anymore it becomes useless for me. I am very concerned with this issue. I loved my surface before and now I am very disappointed.
Same issue in Word! Make it toggle, please.
It is annoying that I can't use pointer like usual, this have to be fixed!! Option to turn on or of pointer draw/point in excell is a must!!