Microsoft OneNote Touch issue
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Solved: Microsoft OneNote Touch Not Working When Using Dual Screens

I solved an issue I was having when using Microsoft OneNote on my Surface Laptop with a touch screen when using a secondary, non-touch monitor. I discovered a solution or is a workaround, that solved the issue. Microsoft OneNote is one of those productivity tools I cannot live without in my study and work life.

Home Office Dual Monitor Setup

When I work at home, my Setup is pictured below; I usually plug into a secondary monitor but have the monitor set up above the laptop instead of left or right. I find it is less stressful to look up and down than to the left or right for an extended period.

Touch and Pen Input => My Productive Workflow

Having the touch screen and the Pen, I can highlight and annotate study notes or research. I make extensive use of clipping web pages to OneNote and then use these as research notes. My work machine is a Microsoft Surface Laptop Gen 1 and has a touch screen. I also have a 2019 Macbook Pro 16" but find work-related activities, including Office, I am more productive on Windows.

Problem: Pen worked, but Not Touch !!!!!

I noticed a bug when I was using my dual monitor setup. I made notes, highlighted my research and selected menu options in OneNote with a pen, but touching the screen would not allow me to choose options or, more frustrating, scroll up and down the document.

In my mind, this is a bug and was almost a show stopper.

On a side note, making a screen, the primary display gives you the following additional options, which I did not want on my primary monitor due to distractions.:

  • Show the taskbar on one (the primary) or both monitors
  • The primary, or default monitor is where Windows will display notifications and other messages.
  • You can also change settings on either monitor such as resolution, brightness, resolution, text size and display orientation.
  • Where your system icon tray and badges are displayed

Fell into the "Solution"

When I made the change so that my Surface Laptop was my primary display, I fell into the solution that OneNote touch scrolling worked again. There is an option in the Display Settings in Windows 10 where you can select which monitor you would like to have as your primary monitor, also called the Default monitor, Main screen.

Let’s walk through this change.

  1. Just right click on the desktop and see the following menu where you select Display Settings.

  1. You will then see the Display menu. As pictured below, select the Touch screen that you want to use. In my case, my Surface Laptop was Screen 1 as Screen 2 was the external monitor.

  1. Scroll down to the Multiple Display options. Here you can select which monitor to only display on, duplicate or extend, in my case, to use both.

  2. Since I selected Screen 1, my touch screen Surface Laptop with touch, the settings will change this monitor. As pictured below, the Make this my main display had not been selected.

When I selected this option, I discovered a little while later that I could scroll using OneNote again.

SO, Now back to working and productivity !! Not sure if my problem was a bug or a feature of not being on the primary screen.

I had worked around this issue by using my iPad, which has an excellent implementation of OneNote and synchronizes with my Windows OneNote like a charm. Now only if I had a touch screen Mac to go along with it. LOL.

Resources: Some documentation that covers dual monitors.

Set up dual monitors on Windows 10 – To get your PC to recognize multiple monitors, this is a step by step tutorial.

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