FIX: Surface Pen drags the canvas around in Photoshop

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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  • Some Windows 10 users reported that the Surface Pen often drags the canvas in Photoshop.
  • Before tweaking your Registry, make sure you run the latest version of the software.
  • Check out our Adobe Photoshop section to find more handy fixes for any issue that you might encounter.
  • Other technical glitches are ruining your digital experience? Luckily for you, troubleshooting computer problems is our specialty. Feel free to explore our PC Troubleshooting Hub.
Surface Pen drags the canvas around in Photoshop

Many Windows 10 users who recently installed the latest updates on their devices reported that the Surface Pen often drags the canvas in Photoshop.

So, instead of drawing, the pen just moves the canvas around especially when starting a vertical stroke. This is one of the few Surface Pen issues in Photoshop.

Here’s how one user describes this bug:

I’m on a Surface Pro 4 and Photoshop CC used to work just fine for me but recently I’m experiencing the following problem: often in Brush mode the pen moves the canvas around instead of drawing. This is almost always the case when starting a vertical stroke, less so for horizontal ones. […]
Please note that my Surface pen is working normally other than in this specific instance. All other drawing or writing applications work as usual. I therefore suspect this is a Photoshop specific problem.

Judging by the user’s reports, it seems that this problem occurred after installing the KB4093112 Spectre patch.

The good news is that there are some quick fixes that you can use to solve this problem for good. Here are the troubleshooting steps to follow.

How can I fix Surface Pen issues in Photoshop?

  1. Download the latest version of Adobe Photoshop
  2. Uninstall the latest updates
  3. Tweak your Registry using CMD
  4. Create a .reg file

1. Download the latest version of Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

If your Surface Pen is causing issues while using it in your current Photoshop edition, you might be facing an incompatibility instance.

Make sure you update to the latest version of Adobe Photoshop in order to regain the full control of your stylus and also benefit from the latest enhancements and upgraded photography tools that come with it.

Get the latest Photoshop here

2. Uninstall the latest updates

Since this problem seems to be related to Windows 10 updates, try to uninstall the latest patches that you installed on your computer.

Go to your Windows 10 Update history and remove the latest updates. Then restart your computer and check if the problem persists. If this is the case, go to the next solution.

3. Tweak your Registry using CMD

  1. Go to Start > type cmd > Right-click on Command Prompt and run the tool as an admin
  2. Enter this command and then press the Enter key:
    a. reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Pen
    /v LegacyPenInteractionModel /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

    cmd prompt Surface Pen Photoshop issues

  3. A message should soon appear on the screen confirming the operation was successfully completed.
  4. Restart your Surface device.

If you want to keep the latest updates on your machine, you can use these two alternative solutions to fix Surface Pen issues in Photoshop.

4. Create a .reg file

You can return the device to its prior behavior by creating a .reg file. Launch Notepad and copy the following text in a new document:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Save the respective Notepad document as fixpen.reg. Double click on it and confirm you want to add it to the Registry. Reboot your Surface device and check if the problem has been solved.

That concludes our solutions which we hope you will find useful. If you have any other issues with the Surface Pen in Photoshop, let us know in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about the Surface Pen

  • Does surface Pen work with Photoshop?

Indeed it does. Photoshop is perfectly adapted to support stylus usage and also, it is compatible with the touch input overall.

  • Why isn’t my pen working on my Surface Pro?

Users often reported issues with the Surface Pen on Surface Pro 4. To fix them, try running Windows Updates or the Surface Diagnostic Toolkit. You can also restart your Surface Pro 4 and try pairing it again or completely reboot it to clear potential corruption issues.

  • How do I update my surface Pen Driver?

You can update the Surface Pen driver using a driver detector or manually. Go to Settings, select Devices, then Bluetooth & Other devices. Click on the Surface Pen and select Remove device. Reset your Pen and then try to pair it with your tablet again.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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