Shortcut Keys and other things on Surface Pro 3…

Overview

I’ve been using the Surface Pro 2 since it came out and my work just upgraded me to the 3.

It is a fantastic laptop replacement capable of being my one and only device (from tablet to development box). Battery life and weight are awesome. The screen and display are a joy to work on, and even though I miss my multi-screen set up Visual Studio doesn’t feel cramped. The keyboard is great and very easy to type on, either on your desk or on your lap.

I had already learnt a few little tricks from using the old version but as I am trying to use it as my one and only machine, I have been learning a few new tricks.

First and foremost some of the unlabelled shortcut keys… These are probably all documented somewhere, but as usual I skipped reading the manual.

I prefer the function keys to default to being function keys! By default, they do various different functions. If you press Fn + Caps then it acts as ‘Fn Lock’ and defaults the keys to their alternative function.

Screenshots for documentation and demos are critical and I missed the Prnt Scrn key. I use Greenshot, as am too cheap to buy Snagit. It defaults to using the Prnt Scrn key and while you can change this, I like that shortcut as easy to remember. Fortunately another shortcut key. Fn + Space is equivalent to Prnt Scrn.

At first use I thought the screen brightness was already all set up with F1/F2 controlling it. However as a colleague pointed out these change the backlight level on the keyboard not the screen. He did however show me how to do it. Fn + Del and Fn + Backspace brighten and darken the screen.

All four of the cursor keys have hidden functions when used with Fn. Up / Down become Page Up / Page Down. Left become Home and Right becomes End.

Last two keys I missed were Break and Insert. As far as I know there are no built in support for these. A while ago I heard about AutoHotKey (probably on Scott Hanselman’s 2014 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows) and find it useful for little macros etc..

Using this I set up three keyboard mapping:

Win+Del ==> Ins, Shift+Play/Pause==>Breal and Ctrl+Play/Pause to Ctrl-Breal.

The tiny and simple script for this is:

#Del::Ins
+Media_Play_Pause::Pause
^Media_Play_Pause::^CtrlBreak

The other little tip I have is to use the Modern App version of the Remote Desktop WIndows App by Microsoft.

There are a couple of features I like about it. Firstly it seems to be better at handling touch input than the desktop equivalent but that might just be my perception of it.

The other (and most important feature) is that it has a zoom function. Swipe in from the bottom and there us a zoom function. Very useful when connecting to and using a normal Windows desktop.

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