How to Calibrate a Touch-Enabled Display in Windows

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

What to Know

  • Access the Windows calibration tool by searching for calibrate in the Start menu. Select Calibrate and choose Touch input.
  • Tap the crosshair in the upper-left corner of the screen, then tap it again each time it moves. Select Save the calibration data.
  • If your touchscreen doesn't work after calibration, you may have to do some troubleshooting.

Windows 10, 8, and 7 are designed to work well with touch-enabled displays, but things can go wrong. When you tap the screen, and it behaves as if you tapped a different place, that usually indicates a calibration issue. Touchscreen calibration usually takes care of that type of problem.

How to Calibrate Windows Touchscreen Devices

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

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

  1. Press the Windows logo key on the keyboard. This opens the Start menu and allows you to search for the screen calibration tool.

    The Windows 10 start menu.

    If you don't have a keyboard or 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 menu.

  2. Type calibrate. In Windows 8, you might need to type tablet, and in Windows 7, you might need to type touch. In all three cases, select 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 for calibrate, the first result is typically calibrate display color. Even if Windows highlights this result, this is not what you need. Make sure to select Calibrate the screen for pen or touch input.

  3. Select Calibrate.

    Calibrate button in Tablet PC Settings

    If you haven't connected a keyboard and mouse or trackpad to your computer, connect them at this time. Having these devices connected makes it easier to undo any accidents or mistakes that occur during the calibration process.

  4. Select Touch input.

    If you have a device like a Surface that came with a stylus, select Pen input.

    Touch input link dialog
  5. If a User Account Control message appears, select 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'll tap the crosshair 16 times to complete this process.

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

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

Configuration issues don't cause all touchscreen problems. For instance, if the touchscreen doesn't work at all, it might be turned off or disabled, or the correct driver might not be installed. In that case, enable the touchscreen or update the 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.

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