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Can I turn SP3 into a Wacom Intuos?

I know it's a weird question, why would anyone not want to use the SP3 screen itself as a screen? I am hooking up my iMac 27 to my SP3 and would like the bigger screen real estate to do photo editing on when I'm at home. Is there a way to just have the screen blank out but still be able to use the surface to draw using the pen while only using the iMac as the source monitor? I know about the mirroring option on the SP3 but I would think it'll cause less lag when not utilizing the sp3 screen. If any of you have tried this method please let me know how well it works before I plop down $30 for a MDP to MDP official cable. Thanks!


Active Member
Just to clarify, you are using the SP3 as a PC and using the IMac's monitor as an external display. You want to use the Imac display as the primary display and disable the SP3 screen but keep the pen digitizer active.

This is a very interesting scenario. I don't think its possible to keep the digitizer active with the screen off for what you want to do, but let me ask around at work about this. Maybe a 3rd-party N-trig driver can achieve this?

I do know that if you press winkey+P and choose "duplicate" mode, then there won't be any lag at all by having both screens active.

The IMac 27" is 2560*1440 (I think) while the SP3 is 2160*1440. I'm not sure how it will work out in duplicate screen mode. I'm not sure if the IMac Screen can be set to a cropped/centered 2160x1440 mode to match the SP3. It might set to a lower-res common-denominator mode. You may need to get the intel.com generic GPU driver and fiddle around with the custom resolution settings to make this look right. But I'm confident you can get it to work.


Staff member
The only Tablet Capable of doing that is the Wacom Android Tablet, it works as an Android Tablet with digitizer and it can be plugged into a PC and act as an Intros Tablet....

Many have tried in the community through hardware and software hacks with very limited success....
Thanks for the info guys, i dont need the sp3 screen to be off, but would like to have just the photoshop toolbars and be able to use the surface screen as a blank field if that makes any sense. the picture will be on the imac and any zooming done on the surface will directly affect the picture on the imac itself.


Staff member
The Screen is not able to be used as a Digitizer for another device, RDP will allow some level but pressure sensitivity would be lost and it would act as a Mouse.


Active Member
You can't use the SP3 as a pen tablet for another computer. You can plug in a large monitor, set it to display only on the external display and still use the pen tablet input, which will be mapped onto the external display, turning your SP3 into a drawing tablet with it's own screen off.

Dan Wells

New Member
you should be able to do better than using the sp3 as a mere intuos. Use the sp3 in dual monitor mode, and have the close up view on the tablet monitor while the palettes and an overview of the image are on the iMac. In effect, the surface is now a Wacom Cintiq. The only catch is that the processor is the one in the Surface, not the Mac - if the Mac is very new (last couple of years) or the Surface is an i3, you are probably using a faster computer as a monitor for a slower one (potentially by a wide margin if the iMac is very fast or has a ton of RAM)