How to Calibrate a Touch-Enabled Display in Windows

If your touchscreen isn't working correctly, it might just need calibration

A finger extends to calibrate a touchscreen on a laptop.

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Windows 10 is designed to work very well with touch-enabled displays, but things can still go wrong. When you tap the screen, and it behaves as if you've tapped a completely different place, that usually indicates that there is some kind of calibration issue. Touch screen calibration usually takes care of that type of problem.

Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 all include a built-in calibration tool. This article includes information for each of these versions.

How to Calibrate Windows Touchscreen Devices

Calibrating a touch-enabled display is a fairly simple matter in Windows 10 because the operating system includes a touchscreen calibration tool. This same tool is also included with both Windows 8 and Windows 7.

The touchscreen calibration tool works by displaying a pattern on your screen and then overlaying it with a series of crosshairs. By tapping each crosshair in sequence, you can show Windows exactly how to configure the touchscreen.

When calibrating your touchscreen, it's extremely important to actually tap the actual location of each crosshair. If you tap anywhere else, you will end up with an improperly configured touchscreen that may even be totally unusable. In that case, you will need to connect a keyboard and mouse to reactivate the configuration tool.

The following instructions apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. To access the Tablet PC Settings menu in Windows 8 and Windows 7, you may need to search for tablet or touch instead of calibrate.

  1. Press the Windows logo key on your keyboard. This will open the start menu, and allow you to search for the screen calibration tool.

    A screenshot of the Windows 10 start menu.

    If you don't have a keyboard, and you don't see the Windows logo button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen in Windows 10, or swipe from the right in Windows 8 to access the charm menu.

  2. Type calibrate. In Windows 8 you may need to type tablet, and in Windows 7 you may need to type touch. In all three cases, click or tap Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input in the search results.

    Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input Settings item

    When you search calibrate, the first result is typically calibrate display color. Even if Windows highlights this result, this is not what you need to click. Make sure to click Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input.

  3. Click or tap Calibrate.

    Calibrate button in Tablet PC Settings

    If you don't have a keyboard and mouse or trackpad connected to your computer, consider connecting them at this time. Having these devices connected will make it much easier to undo any accidents or mistakes that occur during the calibration process.

  4. Click or tap Touch input.

    Touch input link dialog
  5. If a User Account Control message appears, click or tap Yes.

    Yes button in Digitizer Calibration Tool window
  6. Tap the crosshair in the upper left corner of the screen, then tap it again each time it moves. You will need to tap the crosshair a total of 16 times to complete this process.

    Calibration crosshair on an ASUS touch-enabled laptop
  7. Click or tap Save the calibration data if you're satisfied, or select the option to reset if you made a mistake during the calibration process.

  8. If you have a device like a Surface that came with a stylus, you can repeat this same process starting with step four, but select pen input instead.

What to Do If Your Touchscreen Still Doesn't Work Correctly

Some touchscreen problems aren't caused by configuration issues. For instance, if the touchscreen doesn't work at all, it may be turned off or disabled, or you may not have the correct driver installed. In that case, you will have to enable your touchscreen or update your drivers.

In other cases, figuring out why a touchscreen doesn't work can be more complicated. If calibrating your touchscreen didn't help, check out our in-depth guide to fixing a broken touchscreen.