Surface Pro 4: Episode 2

OK, I decided that I was confident enough to use the Surface Pro for my Open Day presentations at Nottingham today. All the software operated as expected! I used Bluebeam PDF Revu 12 for PDF annotation, Pen Attention to highlight the pointer, and X-Mouse button so that I could programme the middle mouse button to give the keystroke I need to toggle the highlighting on and off. I also used Gunnar Andersson’s excellent software WZebra (see to help with my fun morning talk on strategy for the board game Othello.

I am trying to decide on the best screen resolution to fit with the local data projection facilities. Currently I am trying both 1280 x 800 and 1280 x 960. Either way I sacrifice a bit of the Surface Pro screen. At the moment I prefer 1280 x 960 in order to have the full height available.

I like the way that the device detects the pen and can then ignore touch. That way I can continue to use the touch facility when I want to. On the other hand, sometimes I accidentally touch the screen with a hand/finger before the pen is close enough to the screen to disable this, with random results. This is no major problem so far.

I do keep accidentally clicking the right click button on the pen. I haven’t yet found how to disable this completely. By default Bluebeam activates the lasso tool when you right-click during inking, but I have turned that off and it now doesn’t matter if I accidentally click that button while writing.

Sometimes I found the device changed orientation without me deliberately changing a setting. It took me a while to realise that it has a genuine physical autorotate feature: just picking it up the right way round will sort out the orientation (and picking it up a different way may change the orientation to something you don’t want). So I am happy with this now.

My problem with the wireless regularly becoming inactive has gone away for now. I expect this will come back, and so I had still better try to find out what setting is behind this. It may be a power management setting: I saw something about this online while Googling on a related issue.

I should try out Camtasia and also Echo360 personal capture soon. (Perhaps the issues I had previously with Echo360 personal capture will be resolved when I use the Windows Surface (or by upgrades in the software since I last tried it). However, I wouldn’t want to use the device’s webcam for the video footage of me (it is too scary when a pen approaches the tablet!). As the device only has one USB port, I will either have to use a USB hub, or else change to a Bluetooth mouse, if I want to attach a USB webcam too. (I quite like the reliability of a wired mouse at the moment!) Comments and suggestions on this are welcome!


One response to “Surface Pro 4: Episode 2

  1. On the “touch” side, Bluebeam provides various options. I have now chosen the options so that I can still use touch to pan and zoom (and click on buttons and menu items), but so that I don’t accidentally start writing with my palm or finger (when the pen isn’t close enough to the screen at the time). This has reduced the “random effects” still further. And pan and zoom by touch is much easier than using the pen.


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