What is an active pen/stylus?

An active pen (available only for compatible devices) is a special stylus that allows for more natural handwriting. Usually an active pen supports:

  • pressure sensitive input
  • differentiating between pen and finger touch
  • one or more side buttons
  • detecting the pen hovering above the display
  • eraser tip on some active pens

Using an active pen with Squid allows for:

  • pressure sensitive (natural) handwriting
  • write with the pen, erase with your finger ¹
  • palm rejection by ignoring finger/hand touch when the pen is in range
  • hold the pen side button and flick left/right to undo/redo ²
  • hold the pen side button and flick up/down to access the tool picker/color picker  ²
  • use an alternate tool while holding the pen side button ¹ ²
  • erase using the opposite end of the pen ¹ ³
¹ Configurable in the Squid settings. 
² Unfortunately, the side button functionality does not work on all Samsung devices.
³ Available on active pens with an eraser tip.

Active Pen Enabled Devices

Known active pen enabled devices include, but are not limited to:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7" with S Pen
  • HTC Flyer
  • HTC EVO View 4G
  • HTC Jetstream
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
  • Toshiba Excite Write
  • Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 2
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 4
  • Microsoft Surface Book

Each device manufacturer has an active pen that is compatible with their devices. Some active pens can be used across devices. There are two major active pen manufacturers: Wacom and N-trig. Known active pens for device manufacturers include, but are not limited to:


  • Samsung S Pen
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 pen
  • HTC Scribe pen
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet pen
  • Surface Pro pen


The NVIDIA DirectStylus is a passive stylus that has some functionality similar to an active pen.

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