Surface Pro 3 tips to put a smile on your face

Microsoft SURFACE Pro 3 front angle

Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? Truth be told, it’s a bit of both, and it’s capable of all sorts of cleverness.

We’ve been researching a bumper crop of juicy Surface Pro 3 tips and tricks to help you squeeze more out of your device. We’ll start off with some basics before we get into greater depth.

Related: Surface Pro 3 review, 10 Accessories for your Surface Pro 3

How to take a screenshot

There are a few ways to do this. You can hold down the Windows button on the Surface Pro 3’s bezel, and the Volume down button together until you see the screen blink to indicate that the shot was captured. If you have a keyboard attached, then hold down Fn + Win + Space Bar together. You’ll find the screenshots in their own folder in Pictures.

If you want to share one of your new screenshots, swipe left to open Charms, choose Share, and scroll down to Screenshot. You’ll see a list of apps you can use to share those new shots with.

How to lock screen rotation

Go to Settings > Screen and tap the icon above the brightness slider. You’ll see a little padlock icon. Tap it once to lock or unlock it.

How to access the task manager

If you have a keyboard connected then the traditional Ctrl + Alt + Del combo will bring the task manager up. You can also bring it up without a keyboard by pressing the Windows button and the Power button together. Then, just tap Task Manager in the middle of the screen to open it.

How to use the virtual keyboard

If you find that you need the virtual keyboard and it isn’t there, then swipe in from the right and tap Settings > Keyboard > Touch keyboard and handwriting panel. You can move the keyboard around by tapping and holding on the top edge and then dragging it where you want. Tap the keyboard button at the bottom right to switch between layouts. You can choose from traditional, split, handwriting, and full size.

How to automatically backup to OneDrivemicrosoft-onedrive

You can have your files automatically backed up in the cloud with OneDrive.

To do this, go to Settings > Change PC Settings > OneDrive and turn Save documents to OneDrive by default on.

If you have a lot of photos, you can save space on your OneDrive account by going to Camera roll and lowering the upload quality to “good.”

Related: 11 free online storage services to claim your space in the cloud

How to stream to a big screen

You can play content from your Surface Pro 3 onto a big screen or projector in a number of ways. The most obvious and simple is just to plug in the cable from the mini HDMI port to an HDMI port on your TV or monitor.

You can also stream wirelessly by using Miracast, if your target device supports it. Swipe from the right and tap Devices > Project > Add wireless display and you should see any compatible devices listed.

If you have an Xbox, then just swipe from the right on your Surface Pro 3 and tap Devices > Play > Xbox.

How to disable the Windows button

Some people find that the Windows button is a pain because they keep hitting accidentally. Thankfully, you can disable it.

In the Metro UI, type Device Manager. In that menu, open System devices, and open the Surface Home Button menu. Open the Driver tab, and then tap Disable. Repeat this process to re-enable it.

How to disable the swipe for Charms BarMicrosoft Surface Pro 3 hands on 14

Sometimes, the Charms bar pops up when you don’t want or need it. If you’re using the Type Cover and you want to disable the Charms Bar gesture, then go to Settings > Change PC Settings > PC and devices > Mouse and touchpad and turn off Enable swiping in from left or right edge.

How to save battery life

The single biggest battery drainer is the screen, so start by turning down the brightness and reducing the screen time-out timer. You can tweak various power settings in Control Panel > Power Options by tapping Change plan settings next to your selection.

You should also go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Search and apps > Notifications and turn off anything you don’t need.

How to use your game controller

If your SP3 is totally up to date and you have an Xbox One controller, then you can simply plug and play with your Surface Pro 3. You can also get your Xbox 360 controller working with the tablet, but you’ll need to use a wired pad or the wireless dongle. You can also use a PlayStation 4 controller with your Surface Pro 3 by installing the DS4 Tool.

If the controller doesn’t work, then go to Control Panel >Device Manager > Other devices, and look for it. If it doesn’t have the up to date drivers, there will be a yellow triangle next to it. Tap and hold or right click, and choose Update driver software. Then, browse and select the right one for your Surface Pro 3.

How to use Android apps

If you want to play a game or use an Android app, you’ll need to use the BlueStacks App Player.

Although it’s free, it will ask you to subscribe. Otherwise, it will install sponsored apps from time to time, which you can uninstall yourself. Keep in mind that since this is an emulator, functionality made be odd from time to time.

If we find any more cool Surface Pro 3 tips that we want to share, we’ll update this piece.