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How to use your digital pen as a PowerPoint slideshow remote

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has arrived, bringing many awesome changes to our favorite OS. One ease-of-use feature getting some attention is the new ability to use a digital pen — like the Surface Pen (opens in new tab) — as a remote with a 200-foot range to click through PowerPoint slideshows. Want to take advantage? Here's what you need to know.

Which digital pens work with this feature?

9 essential apps if you own a Surface Pen (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Before we get too far into this guide, let's make sure your digital pen works with this feature. Not just any stylus will work here; the pen must follow the Windows Pen Design (opens in new tab) and must connect to your PC via Bluetooth. Perfect examples of pens that work with this feature are the Surface Pen (opens in new tab) and the Wacom Bamboo Ink.

Note that you must also have the Fall Creators Update installed on your PC, and you must have a valid Office 365 subscription. If you're currently using Office 2016 without the Office 365 subscription, it appears that this is one of the ongoing additions and updates that you miss out on.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

How to pair a digital pen with your PC

If you purchased a digital pen separately from your PC, you might be wondering how to pair it. Here are the steps required.

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Devices.

  1. Click Bluetooth & other devices.
  2. Click Add Bluetooth or other device.

  1. Click Bluetooth.
  2. Click and hold the top button on your pen until it shows up in the list of devices.
  3. Click your digital pen.

That's all it takes. You should now be ready to use your digital pen as a clicker remote in PowerPoint.

How to use a pen with PowerPoint

As long as your PC has the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have a digital pen paired with your PC, and you have a valid subscription to Office 365, you should now be able to use the pen to click through a slideshow.

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016 from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Open a presentation.
  3. Click the Slide Show button. It's located near the bottom-right corner of the window.

  1. Click the pen's top (eraser) button once to go forward.
  2. Click and hold the pen's top (eraser) button to go back.

More Fall Creators Update resources

Wondering what else is new with the Fall Creators Update? Be sure to check out these links.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

12 Comments
  • The older version of Surface Pen it's also shown in the picture. But, that does not support long click. So how will that work for going backwards in a presentation? Double click?
  • Can we use the Surface Pen in Surface Pro 3's generation?
  • Wow, gonna use this in my presentation tomorrow. Thanks for this article.
  • Hmmm, doesn't seem to work for me.  I have a new Surface Pro, the new Surface Pen, and Office 2016 via an active Office 365 subscription.  I put a presentation into Presentation Mode but every time I click the button on the pen it activates one of the settings that is configured through the Windows Ink Workspace.  In my case that means one click opens OneNote 2016, two clicks opens Sticky Notes and click & hold opens Onenote UWP. There is no setting in the Pen Settings to have the pen advance slides....is there another setting somewhere in PowerPoint to make this work?  Would be a great feature to have!
  • Ditto
  • Odd. I have the same setup and it works like a charm. Are you sure you are using an updated version of Office 365?
  • Yep...just checked for updates again and it say I'm up to date.  What rev of Office 365 are you running at?  Here's mine: Office 365 ProPlus Version 1705 (Build 8201.2200 Click-to-Run) Maybe there is a new version my company has not authorized yet?
  • You can also use commercial KeyPenX from Windows Store for more flexibility in configuring what Surface Pen should do when PowerPoint is running and when it's not on "per click" basis, including double-click for previous slide etc. for older Surface Pens and other brands that do not support long press. Also, embedded audio recorder, video snapshots and more: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co... and short trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAE48yxqA5M Just make sure in Fall Creators Update to switch off in pen system settings "Allow apps to override the shortcut button behavior", otherwise latest PowerPoint will advance slides twice.
  • I see this more as a backup if your regular clicker broke or got lost. Why would you want to burn up your pen on presenting PowerPoints when there are purpose-built devices available at a reasonable cost?
  • Many of us road warriors try to minimize things to bring. More stuff means more weight and more things to forget... Otherwise, I agree that a purpose-built device is better if you often present in the same setting.
  • Doesn't seem to work with the Surface Pro 4 generation pen. I have "allow override" ticked. But I only get the actions defined under settings, in my Case starting OneNote.
  • Running win 1709 build 16299.125 and office 1711 build 8730.2127 on Surface pro 3 also have a valid office365 subscription (signed in) Pen works in paint etc. but does nothing with powerpoint