Surface Pro stylus compatibility issues discovered

Published 
12 Feb 2013
Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet is experiencing teething issues with its pressure sensitive stylus, as many Adobe Photoshop users complain

Microsoft has confirmed that its recently-launched Surface Pro tablet has a slight flaw: the bundled stylus, one of the device's selling points over the cheaper Surface RT, doesn't work with all programs.

The Surface Pro tablet, launched in the US this weekend, is something of a new direction for Microsoft. Unlike the previously-launched Surface RT, which uses an ARM-based processor like the ones found in rival Android tablets, alongside the cut-down Windows RT operating system, Surface Pro packs an Intel Core i5 processor, full Windows 8 and a 1080p high-definition display.

For many, however, it's the stylus that is the device's biggest selling point. Designed to make it easier to use for creative tasks, the stylus turns the Surface Pro into a fully-functional digitising tablet. As well as increasing the accuracy of pointing tasks, the stylus supports pressure sensitivity. This is a key feature for graphics applications, where the pressure can be used to vary opacity or line thickness in a way very similar to real drawing implements.

Sadly, those who purchased a Surface Pro for that reason - from very limited stock - are finding that the stylus just isn't supported outside a very small number of core applications. Worse still, Adobe Photoshop isn't on the list.

It's a problem Microsoft has pledged to solve - sort of. "The Surface Pen does work with Photoshop, which runs on Surface Pro," the company claims, before admitting that "advanced features such as pressure sensitivity and eraser functionality may not be available at this time. Microsoft is working with the necessary partners to make advanced features of the Surface pen available across a number of applications in the near future."

For now, however, most applications will only support the stylus as a glorified mouse pointer, with the eraser and pressure sensitivity features unavailable until Microsoft has convinced Adobe and other software partners to add support for the device to their packages.

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