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OneNote, 2 versions, 1 pen


1) OneNote OEM comes with Surface Pro 4. OneNote is a stand alone version 17.6366.15651.0.
a) Is linked with the pen. Top eraser button opens OneNote OEM.
b) Cannot be customized, uninstalled or changed, but can only be pinned to the taskbar or start menu.
c) Cannot be used with the handwriting recognition functionality in Windows (i.e. Ink to Text or Ink to Math).​

2) OneNote 2016 comes with Office 365. One Note does not have a version number but is part of Office 365 version 16.0.6001.1041
a) Cannot be linked with the pen. Top eraser button cannot open this.
b) Customizable full version that can be uninstalled or changed.
c) Full functionality of handwriting recognition in Windows (i.e. Ink to Text or Ink to Math).​

The file associations and protocols could not be changed from OneNote OEM to OneNote 2016. This week, Windows 10 v1511 build 10586 changes that. Some, but not all of the default file associations and protocols from OneNote OEM to OneNote 2016 were changed automatically with this Windows update.

After this Windows Update, the pen had to be rebooted by removing the AAAA battery and re-pairing the Bluetooth device.

It looks like because of the cmd protocol association, the pen top eraser button STILL CANNOT open the full version of OneNote 2016.

OneNote 2016 extensions : .one, .onepkg, .onetoc, .onetoc2
OneNote 2016 protocols : ONENOTE URL:OneNote Protocol,
OneNote OEM protocols : ONENOTE-CMD URL:eek:nenote-cmd


Many of you may be in the business of quickly jotting down important information that is barely readable. Less of you have probably gone through the utterly buried 50 sentence training that Windows -

Control Panel - Clock, Language, and Region - Language - Language Options - Handwriting Personalization - Teach Recognizer Handwriting Style

performs to correctly identify "hen scratch". The potential correction in this lapse in functionality will enable a real productive use of the top eraser button of the pen!

Thank you!
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New Member
Microsoft should just let the eraser button map to whatever app the user wants. You would think this would be an easy fix for Microsoft.
Note that both versions can be linked to the same notebooks - so you can use the eraser to call up the OEM app to take quick notes and then look at them in the Office 2016 version if you need to do HW recognition. Also, HW is searchable in the OEM app as long as it has been indexed in the Office version.

The button was assignable to either version in Windows 8.1. It is a shame that this was removed in Windows 10. I've upticked many a feedback entry on this.


New Member
Hey guys, thanks for the info about removing the battery and re-pairing the pen.

If you're looking to customize the pen itself, I have just discovered that AutoHotKey will allow you to do that. I got curious, because AHK has a keyboard hook that I use for setting custom hotstrings and shortcuts. It turns out that the surface pen eraser directly map to presets that you can set independently. They are as follows:

Single Press of Surface Eraser Button (Opens OneNote App): Win Key + F20
Double Press (OneNote Screen Clipping): Win Key + F19
Hold (Cortana): Win Key + F18

I just inserted this line into my always-running AHK script
#F20:: Run, OneNote.exe

Now, a single press of the button opens OneNote 2016, and I can freely customize the other button presses as I wish. I can even use the active window awareness to make a double press play the next song when I'm in Groove Music AND launch Calendar when Outlook is open AND act normally everywhere else. (Or whatever)


It it true that you have to PowerShell remove OneNote (Metro/mobile/OEM/app) in order to get the Win Key + F20 AutoHotKey key combination to open OneNote 2016? (as opposed to OneNote app)


New Member
No. Well, AHK just intercepts the input and replaces it. So.. I guess technically, maybe? But, I have not had to personally mess with anything in powershell.

OneNote Uapp is still accessible, and I can still get to it, if I want. I'm just adding in an additional check before the shortcut does what it normally does. It's not a special key that is super locked, basically, it's just a made up Fn key haha.


Active Member
Since TH2 the removing of OneNote doesn't work permanently for me anymore. I can successfully remove it via Powershell (confirmed both in Powershell and app list) but once I press the pen button again OneNote magically reinstall itself (even after multiple restarts and editing the registry to link onenote-cmd url to OneNote Desktop 2016).
Anyone having the same problem?


Thank you all for writing about this issue! I believe that it is a marketing opportunity for Microsoft to show the versatility of the pen -- that has been missed. Surface Pro 4 is my first Surface device, but this problem has persisted since the previous generation of pens. It has not been solved through that generation and now persists with this new generation.

The AutoHotKey solution works, but is cludgy, at best. With
1) potential user error in programming,
2) remembering the should & should nots of using the third party program, and
3) unintended consequences due to Microsoft's incessant Windows Updates,
the solution could be short lived. Using the AutoHotKey solution for customizing the pen for advancing Power Point slides is ingenious. It shows a potential for what customizing the pen could be.

The other option of Powershell removing OneNote Uapp and Regedit editing the onenote-cmd protocol to OneNote 2016, seems not to be working according to one user, who found that pressing the top eraser button of the pen, magically reinstalled OneNote Uapp!

I can find no other explanation from Microsoft other than "working on it..." -- REALLY?! THIS HAS BEEN A REQUEST SINCE THE SURFACE PRO 3 CAME OUT.

The Surface devices are powerful computers built for many uses including marketing presentations -- and yet, for people who buy these devices -- cannot show them off due to various bugs (display/wireless external display) issues and pen customization issues. My point was originally about OneNote 2016, but after researching the history of this issue, I think that it is much larger that just a small technical issue.

Somewhere along the line, Microsoft believes that customizing the pen is not worth the time or is protective of marginalizing the ability to open up only their software. It mirrored its pen sensitivity levels (1024) on it's Wacom competitor (for Apple). Apple and Wacom pen are the gold standard for digital graphic artists and HAS this customization capability. I cannot believe the missed marketing opportunity by Microsoft for business with the non-customization of the pen. I am not using this machine for business, specifically due to the presentation/customization problems identified and the lack of an explanation by Microsoft.

I have 4 questions for the forum :
1) The pen is a Bluetooth external device with four button/click combination types, is it really technically that hard for Microsoft to change the ability to customize this?
2) Or is it more of a protection racket to make sure Surface Pro 4 pens only work with Surface Pro 4 devices devised only to open up Microsoft software (OneNote, Screen Clippings, Cortana)?
3) Would opening up the customization leverage the pen to more devices giving Microsoft more customers?
4) Is this exclusivity simply to sell more Surface Pro 4's now, with customization coming when they believe market saturation is achieved? After Christmas?