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Use the pen as a mouse

Latest update, the pen now is locked in Ink mode apparently by design. Please give us back the option to have it return to a mouse/select objects mode. I don't always have my keyboard attached to my Surface when editing documents, and the pen was very handy for highlighting text, moving the cursor around with precision, and the always easier ability to right click something. Look, some of us have big fingers, just saying. It's frustrating to hit the wrong word all the time when I used to be able to just tap the word with my Pen.

I don't mind the default being the ink option, but please give us back the choice on whether we can use the Pen as a mouse.

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Sean shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

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), 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.


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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi there. I have done this fix in advanced options but now my wacom pen will not highlight and copy in a web page? Anyone got a fix for that please.Thanks

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Not allowing text editing in Word 2016 makes Word practically useless for me. I don't want to draw in Word. I want to create text that is typed and be able to come back later and edit it with my keyboard and pen or touch, just like I edited these comments. I have a Surface Pro 4 and do not use a mouse.

  • Christofer Bengtsson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    "Enabling this preference will make the pen function exactly like it did before"
    No, it does not. At least not with a Bamboo CTH-460. Dragging the pen does not select text, but tries to scroll or move the window. Is my pen tablet too old for compatibility with Office365?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is old, but what about Office 2013? The fall Creator update took away my ability to use my pen as a mouse in Word. Will you also fix it there please?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree that the default of the pen should be as a pointed, not in draw mode. Very irritating!

  • Mark Hetherington commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Somebody mentioned "Since the option to use the pen as a mouse was reintroduced after foolishly removing it for no reason last February, it keeps going back to ink mode randomly while I'm working in my document" a little further down and I second this. It's a real pain and needs sorting.

  • Carol Ann Dwyer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    i hate you for now allowing pen to work as mouse in word and also, esp. excel. I CAN'T TURN IT OFF! I DON'T WANT TO DRAW ! RARELY, OKAY?!! so leave it off unless i want to turn it on.
    carol dwyer

  • Harry Teasley commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I want a setting to never, ever use the Stylus in Office as a drawing implement, ever. I have set the preference that exists, and managed to find myself drawing inside Word anyway.

    I use a Wacom MobileStudio, and I use my stylus as my mouse. I do art in art creation apps, and I write in Word. When I'm editing a Word doc, I want a mouse, and I want Word to behave like every other non-art-creating app when it sees my stylus.

    Editing this web form textbox is less frustrating than using Word, in this regard.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    stupid UX by ms.. i cant even use the stylus with google keep. and one note sucks in syncing.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    this is a nightmare and totally getting in my way - there is no obvious way to turn the pen OFF, how stupid do you have to be to design this and leave out the opt out option. Seriously bad quality UX design yet again from Microsoft. I go out of my way to warn people against buying a Surface Pro

  • Leah McGaughey commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Dear Microsoft Team,
    Very interesting options. My request is for the following.
    My computer set up is; A 23" H P Desk top Computer sitting on unit along a wall.
    Next to the Computer attached to the wall is my " 75' Samsung Smart TV "
    I work my Computer through the TV, from an armchair on the opposite side of the room,
    12 feet away from TV screen.
    As I have two injured shoulders & limited arm movement, I have small keyboards & mouse
    on swivel tables around my armchair all working on WIFI .
    I find the ability to move the mouse artistically around the wall TV screen difficult when creating
    & designing programmes. I am a calligraphy person & wish to keep that ability. So is there a product that would allow me to put my personal touch & signature to my work.
    The mouse works on WIFI so is there a pen that would do the same & allow me to write on paper or ? from my chair & it go onto my TV screen, ( In whatever programme I happen to be using.)
    I look forward to your reply.
    Kind Regards,
    Leah McGaughey.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you very much for this change!
    I have been struggling with this on my surface since the pen changed well over a year ago. Instructions where to find the pen change:
    Scroll down the list under the Advanced tab in Options until the Pen section is visible. Check the box labeled "Use pen to select and interact with content by default"

  • Philip Freeman commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I use a lot of shapes and graphics in my documents (I am a teacher and I use them to create diagrams). I am accustomed to using my pen to insert a shape, resize and move it, etc. This is very useful, but no longer seems to be possible in Office 365. Now if I select "add shape" the pen either drops into text selecting/cursor mode the moment I move it back to the document OR acts as a pen for adding ink and does not allow me to place an object.

    Adding ink is helpful, and we could always do that as an annotation. I wish we could revert to that. I don't mind new ways of doing things, but now it is not POSSIBLE to do certain things with the pen -- thing for which the pen is ideally suited.

    How is it not possible to return the pen to acting like the mouse, being able to switch modes by context so that I can add a shape, move it, then shift to ink to write an annotation, then go back to positioning the cursor? I can do this all seamlessly using office 2010 on my older system... but no matter what the setting in the PEN option (in the advanced options, really?) it is not possible to do all of this... even trying to shift from one mode to another the selection of objects can't be done by pen... I am reduced to the trackpad on my surface, and far less precision.

    Am I missing something or is this just functionality that nobody wants but me (clearly not from the comments). Or a bug that (hopefully) will be fixed soon?

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just another comment hoping to get someones ATTENTION! Hello....Is there anybody out there!?

    Since the option to use the pen as a mouse was reintroduced after foolishly removing it for no reason last February, it keeps going back to ink mode randomly while I'm working in my document. I have a report template in WORD with check boxes and drop down menus to select and I'll be selecting away with my pen and then all of the sudden it will start inking instead of selecting. As Greg commented on May 16th, the only fix I have found is to switch between two different open WORD documents and then it will go back to selecting. BTW, This is a template that has protection to turn On/Off. When protection is on it will still ink across the screen and even worse, IT CAN"T BE ERASED!

    Finally, in the rare instance when I do want to draw something, it does work , but only sometimes and on some of my WORD Docs. This I can't even begin to explain why I can draw on one of my documents but not the other. They are both OFFICE Docs templates originally made with Office 2013.

    None of these problems existed before that dreaded February update that took away our pen as a mouse function which started this thread. Why on earth would you change something that used to work flawlessly? Please, Please, Please, in the next update go back to the way things were. The pen should select items by default and if one wants to draw in an office file the could use the old INKING button that worked great! PLEASE. ANYONE?

  • Terry Babij commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The latest update 9/22/16?? Now forces inking when using a stylus. However when using touch on Wacom Intuos Pro tablet touch acts as before. I do not like that this is rolled out and forced as default. When unchecking in Options/Advanced behaviour does not change. I do not use mouse to lessen chance of RSI problems.

  • John Dyer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Wow. This pretty amazing. I've seen a host of unresolved complaints dating back to February. My issue is Office 365 and Excel not working withe Samsung Note 5 and it's s-pen. It defaults to draw mode with no option to disable. I feel like the complaints are being sent to the trash bin for all the responsiveness I've seen.

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