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How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

First of all, congratulations on your purchase of that new HP Active Pen or HP Touch Laptop. Now that you are the proud owner of one of the two, let me tell you that Windows has dramatically improved the touch experience with Windows 10, whether it's with your fingers or a digital pen.

ContentsUse the pen as an eraserRight-click without a mouseSelect textShow previewChange button functionsWrite text on screenDraw in Windows appsBonus tips for the handwriting panelErase a wordJoin separate wordsCan we have more? How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

You may have already understood that the basic functionality of the HP Pen is to tap on the item with the pen tip to select it and double tap to open it. However, that's not all the HP Active Pen can do as it also offers many other hidden features.

So, in this article, we will dive into the world of HP Active Pen and tell you some of its tips and tricks. Consider this article your HP Pen manual or guide.

Let's start.

Use the pen as an eraser

Most HP pens come with two side buttons. Let's call them up and down button for this article. The shape of the buttons may vary depending on your model.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

By default, pressing the bottom button turns the pen into a digital eraser. It is used to erase drawing, color or handwritten text in supported apps like OneNote, Word, Sketchpad and others. All you have to do is press the button and drag your pen over the data you want to delete.

Note: Erase does not work for normal text. You can only erase content that has been drawn or inked in some way.

Right-click without mouse

The top button allows you to right-click wherever supported. To do this, touch the laptop screen with your stylus, press and hold the top button for a second or two, then release the button and lift the stylus. This will open the context menu. If the context menu is slow on your PC, try these fixes.

Pro Tip :On touch-enabled Windows laptops, you can also use your fingers to bring up the context menu. Simply touch and hold the item on the screen with your finger, then release.

Select text

Another useful way to use the HP Pen is to select normal text like you do with your mouse. To do this, simply touch the screen with the stylus and wait for the input symbol to appear. Then drag the pen to select the text.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

The feature works without pressing any buttons on apps like Word. But for other apps like Chrome, you need to press and hold the top button first before touching the screen, then drag the stylus over the text you want to select while holding the button down.

Again, just like a mouse, double-tap the text with your pen to select the word and triple-tap to select the entire paragraph.

Show preview

On touch-enabled Windows devices, Pen is the replacement or alternative to a traditional mouse. So it performs almost the same functions, including displaying previews. To open a preview, simply hover your stylus over an item.

Use it in YouTube to preview video, drag it over buttons/menus on a website, or hover over it on taskbar apps, to name a few examples.

Modify button functions

Don't like the default button behavior of your HP Pen? Well, change it to a function of your choice. You can use the buttons to take a screenshot, play, pause, cancel and do other useful things.

To customize the buttons, you'll need help from the HP Pen Control app. On some devices, it is pre-installed. To open it, go to the Start menu and search for the HP Pen Control app. If the application is not available, download it from the following link.

Download HP Pen Control

Once installed, launch it. You will see the following window:

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

Select the new action for the buttons from the drop-down lists available next to their name and click Apply.

Buttons cannot be customized to open applications. However, if you are using the HP Active Pen with App Launch, you can customize the App Launch button to open an app of your choice. To do this, go to Windows Settings> Devices> Windows Pen and Ink. Scroll down and change the function under Pen shortcuts.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

Write text on the screen

When using your HP laptop as a tablet, not necessarily in tablet mode, you can use handwritten text to enter dropped text. This means that if you are comfortable with handwriting, you don't need to use the touch keyboard, you can directly write/ink on the screen, and it will be converted to text.

To do this, tap on any text field with the pen tip and the handwriting panel will open. Now write with the pen and you'll see it convert to text in real time.

Besides, you can even write directly with your fingers on the handwriting panel. To do this, you will need to enable the "Write in handwriting panel with fingertip" setting available under Windows Settings> Devices> Windows Pen and Ink. Check out the handwriting mode tips mentioned below.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips Pro tip: You can also use the stylus to write text in Windows features (Cortana, Settings, etc.) in normal or laptop mode.

Draw in windows apps

You will see direct pen input in supported Windows apps like Microsoft Office apps, Sticky Notes, Photos app, etc. When you touch the screen with the tip of your stylus, you can directly start writing or drawing in the application. You will be offered customization options such as size, type, colors and more.

Tip: In Office apps, you'll see a new Pen tab at the top. Tap it to write and personalize the pen. How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

You can use this mode to convert handwritten formulas into mathematical form using the Ink to Math option — when available.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

Bonus tips for handwriting panel

Here are some tips that can be used to ease the process of writing with your pen in the handwriting panel. The panel looks like this:

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

Delete a word

In the handwriting or input panel, when the handwriting has been converted to text, draw a single horizontal preference line over the word you want to remove.

Join words

To join two words, draw an arc over them.


Similarly, to separate two words from each other, draw a cursor (^) between them.

How to Use the HP Active Pen:A Guide with Tips

Can we have more?

That's how you can get the most out of your HP Active Pen. I would really like to have more functions than those present in the S Pen series of Samsung Note. Having the ability to open apps from the side buttons and customize their long press would be a bonus.

What features do you want in the HP Active Pen? Let us know in the comments below.

Next up:Tired of the same old apps on your Windows 10 PC? Check out these 15 must-have apps for Windows 10.