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Surface Pro 4 Pen - skipping

My apologies if this has been asked previously but I was not able to locate a similar discussion.

I have a Surface Pro 4 and the MS Surface Pen.

Quite often (many times per hour) when I'm annotating a song (imported PDF), the MS Pen will 'glitch' and draw a straight line between two points instead of what was drawn or writing in that space.  It's as if the application briefly stops reading the pen, and just draws a line to where it starts reading again.

When this happens, my tablet is typically in Airplane Mode, and has no other applications running in the background, other than whatever Windows 10 runs as services.

Please let me know if you have encountered this before, and if there is a solution.

Thanks very much!
Richard (That Cello Guy)
Hello Richard,

I can't say I've ever seen that occur when using my Surface Pro 4, but I may not have done long enough sessions with annotating lots of songs in order to replicate the issue. What worries me is it sounds like perhaps there are some memory issues occurring that are causing hiccups (especially if you only see this after 20+ minutes of using the app). It could also be a drawing issue if there a lot of individual annotations.  Are there any steps I should take in order to try to reproduce this issue? Or is it just as simple as loading lots of songs and setlist and annotating each one? How many annotations do you think you have for each song?  Are there a great deal of freeform annotations?

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your reply.  

 - Is there a way I can get notifications of comments to my questions - I thought the system was supposed to Email me updates?  I'm probably missing something.

 - The 'skipping' behavior happens even with only 1 song open, and no other edits on the page.  So, for example, if I try to write something like "repeat here..." or whatever.. quite often, somewhere in the middle of the edit, the pen will stop writing at one point and instead draw a single straight line to whereever it seems to start writing again.  This happens whether writing words or drawing a shape like trying to circle something or draw a curved line from one spot to another.

 - Would you like me to video the event?  I'm not sure how "on demand" the error is but I could probably reproduce it with some effort.

Thanks again!

I'm not sure about setting up the notifications, as I haven't looked into that. Perhaps another user can chime in.

If you can video the problem occurring, that would certainly be useful to see. 


At the bottom of the page, before you post , there are 4 radio buttons that allow you to select how you should be notified - the default is "Do not subscribe to this thread"!

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A6

i've registered to this forum because of having same issues with the surface pen on a surface 4 pro that where really annoying.

Normaly the pen is registered as a small dot on the screen when the tip is some millimeters above the screen. Then when i touch the screen with the tip  it starts writing. After losing from the screen it stops writing. But in some cases MobileSheet is not stop to writing the line. It goes on until the pen tip is out of the detection range of the screen.

This problem also appears when using the backside of the pen to delete something.

I'm not totally clear but it could be that this has something to do with the hand detection. If i start writing before i lay down my hand on the screen it mostly works. When the pen tip is detected after i layed down my hand on the screen it really often gets out of control.

To be clear that the problem only exists in MobileSheets i've tested writing in OneNote and on the Win10 Scribbel Tool. Both without problems.

Any ideas?
I'll see if I can reproduce what you are describing by putting my hand on the screen and then start writing with the pen.

Hello Mike,

the problem is not always present. 
So sometimes everything is fine. But sometimes it happens every 2nd letter of writing and it is really anoying to write and to continue writing while leaving the pen-tip from the screen.

FYI, I also have this problem.  Pen input has always been very laggy for me.  Between the inaccuracy and the lack of pressure sensitivity, it feels totally different from native Windows apps like OneNote and Edge.  Even 3rd party UWP store apps (Drawboard, StaffPad) are perfectly smooth -- only MobileSheets seems to be affected.

For me the lag is always present.  It's only a matter of degree.  If I handwrite a 10-letter word at full speed, will it turn 2 of the letters into straight lines, or 6?  It's never 0 Sad

I suspect it is related to my "freeze on resume" issue...
I've seen this happen on my Surface 4 also. If I try to write too fast with the pen it gets worse. I'm thinking it has something to do with the speed of the related pen software and/or the processor/hardware speed of the tablet, but I'm just guessing. I honestly don't understand what software or hardware on the tablet controls the pen. 
My Surface has the i5 processor, I'm guessing that the i7 version would work better.
Also, when the pen's AAAA battery voltage drops over time, the pen's response diminishes. I just remove the battery when I'm done using it to prolong its life.
Hope that helps.
Surface 4, 4GB
I know this problem and experience it from time to time, too, though it has not driven me nuts until now (also on Surface pro 4 i5). MobileSheets' annotations are sometimes considerably slower than working in other apps (the mentioned ones, or I still use Xodo a lot). When this happens, it seems to me as if MSP slightly hangs and then tries to guess how one might have come there where it finds the pen tip once it wakes up, instead of constantly tracking it. I'm interested if there are different ways for software to fetch the pen's input... I'm just guessing, but it feels a bit like software vs. hardware rendering. Any idea about this? I just fear that this one is not that easy to solve but might need a serious rework...  Undecided

Does anybody here have a newer or older surface and experience similar problems?
It might be due to the fact that I'm using Microsoft's Shapes classes to draw the annotations, because when you use their UI framework, that is the only way to draw things. There isn't a draw loop like Android where I can just easily draw things on top of whatever is being rendered. This makes the Microsoft approach considerably slower with very little gain (at least for annotations, for things like link points it makes the touch processing more simple). To improve this performance, I would have to convert the entire framework to something like DirectX so that I could just render everything in a loop. It would use more power potentially, but would also result in faster performance, smoother scrolling, etc. I've been thinking about this more and more, but it's a huge change that would most likely take months of effort and could result in a lot of bugs. I think I need to do it at some point though in order to fix some of the issues users are encountering. Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and do it as part of the annotations rework as I'm changing so much of the annotations framework for that anyways. 


I just looked through the Win2D documentation for UWP, and it may not be as bad as I thought. I may not even have to change my framework that much. I may experiment with this this weekend and post the results.
Thanks for this detailed insight! Really sounds like a lot of work under the hood... for now, I‘d say this is not the most important thing on the ToDo-List, but maybe it Majesty’s sense to include it in the annotations overhaul. At least I‘ll have some patience for this. ;-)

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