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4 things every Surface Go user should do right away

The Surface Go is available now, so here's a list of four things we think you should take a look at after you've set up your new device for the first time and got it all up to date.

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Take advantage of Office Mobile on Surface Go

It's a little-known fact that Microsoft has a free version of Office apps for devices that have a screen size of 10.1 inches or less. (opens in new tab) The Surface Go has a screen size of 10 inches, meaning it's eligible for the free version of Office known as Office Mobile. Microsoft keeps these apps well hidden on PCs, but they're still available if you look hard enough.

To find them, click on the links below, and you'll be taken to the Microsoft Store where you can download them. They're free, lightweight versions of the full Office suite that costs money to use. Of course, if you already own an Office 365 subscription, you'd likely want to use the full suite. But, if you don't, you can take advantage of Office Mobile for free forever.

Improve facial recognition in different orientations

Surface Go is the first non-pro Surface to support Windows Hello facial recognition, and it works well. One thing I've noticed myself doing with the Surface Go since I got one is using it in orientations that aren't the standard landscape orientation. I often use it in portrait, too, since it's sized well enough that this use case is comfortable.

The problem is unless you improve facial recognition in that orientation, Windows Hello has a hard time authenticating you when your device is turned sideways. To fix that problem, rescan your face a couple of times while holding the device in both portrait and landscape orientations. This will make Windows Hello much more accurate no matter how you're holding the device. Check out our how-to guide on scanning your face in with Windows Hello.

Automatically turn on tablet mode

Depending on your use case for the Surface Go, it might be a good idea to enable automatic tablet mode when disconnecting the Type Cover. I bought my Surface Go to use mainly as a tablet, so making this behavior automatic is helpful and eliminates an unnecessary step when I disconnect the Type Cover.

To enable this automatic behavior, head to Settings > System > Tablet Mode and ensure the "When this device automatically switches tablet mode on or off" is set to "Don't ask me and always switch." This option will enable tablet mode when you disconnect or fold back the Type Cover. In addition, you can make sure the "When I sign in" option is set to "Use the appropriate mode for my hardware" to ensure the same behavior is applied when logging in after powering on the device.

Switch off S mode on Surface Go

If you're someone who needs access to programs that aren't available in the Microsoft Store, you'll likely want to turn off Windows 10's new S mode, which is enabled by default on the Surface Go. Switching it off is simple, and once it's done, you'll be free to install whatever programs you like from the web. To learn how to do it, check out our how-to guide.

However, we suggest you give S mode a try first. Check the Microsoft Store, and make sure all the apps you need are available there. Also try out Microsoft Edge, the default browser for Windows 10. Many people are Chrome users, which unfortunately isn't available when in S mode, so if you want to get by with S mode, you'll have to use Edge.

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Any more tips?

Those are the first four things I think you should do on your new Surface Go. Do you have any additional tips for us? Leave them in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

22 Comments
  • I'm interested in this for my school and my job, but I need Microsoft Publisher. If I use my Office 365 account, will Publisher install in S mode? I really have no desire to take S mode off as I'd like to use it mostly as a tablet and the temptation to install Steam games would be too much.
  • Give this a read: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-install-microsoft-office-apps-windows...
  • Yes, you can install Publisher from the store in S mode. I've installed all the other non-mobile Office 365 apps from the store in S mode and they work just like the desktop apps. I'd be more concerned about the performance of Publisher on such a device.
  • Publisher actually came preinstalled on my surface go.
  • 5) Get into an online argument about the validity of Windows on a tablet. :p
  • 5.1) Be happy that it's not a crippled down apps streched phone OS!
  • Zac didn't like it either. Go find his article.
  • Except it's.not a tablet. Well, it can be but it's just as much and more a laptop.
  • 5.2 Bautz tells you it's the only OS that makes sense on a device that can be PC and Tablet at the same time.
  • I use Office365 Home on my Surface 3 (not Pro 3) just fine. It's only Atom not Pentium so I don't see why Office365 shouldn't work even better on the Surface Go. In a pinch, when my desktop died, I even ran Quicken and QuickBooks along with Office365 on my Surface 3. So the power is there. Obviously iCore is preferable. But with a little judicious paring of unnecessary apps, running full featured programs shouldn't be a problem.
  • I'd say get MyAppFree as you can get free and discounted apps for Phones and PCs.
  • 5) if you had a Lumia 950/950xl dig out your display dock. Works as treat!
  • Hey, that's a great tip.
  • Can the Dock drive 2 monitors over the 1 DP cable (daisy chained monitors)?
  • First thing to do is activate LTE with a SIM card...............Oh wait. Never mind :(
    Have to wait a few months or perhaps buy something else that is LTE ready.
  • Never saw a reason to have LTE in a tablet. The view times you only have LTE and no wifi you can use your phone as AP.
  • What's with all the "use case" how about proofreading? You're obviously saying usage.
  • "Use case" is a real term, AFAIK it originally came from software engineering, it basically means how you plan to use something to accomplish a particular set of goals.
  • It's a bad German transalation for "Anwendungsfall" - which i would translate to "usage scenario".
  • Office mobile doesn't work on all 10.1 inch screen devices. I have a Lenovo yoga tab 2 running windows 10 and office mobile refuses to run. (it has a 10.1 inch screen)
  • For anyone having issues with the Office mobile apps asking them to sign up to Office365 to 'create new' or 'save' documents, I Terminated the apps in App Settings, then Reset them and this seems to have done the trick. There was an update to Word/Excel this morning too which I was expecting would fix the issue, but I was still getting the same message after updating until I Terminated/Reset.
  • Take this joke device back and buy something else...