How to Use S Pen Like a Pro on Samsung Galaxy Phones

The S Pen can do some amazing things, so put it to good use!

Best S Pen Tips

S Pen can be incredible useful accessory for your Samsung Galaxy phone or tablet. Whether you’re using the S Pen as a remote control, copying text, taking handwritten notes, or creating GIFs, the stylus can significantly enhance your experience while using your device. This post aims to help you get most of the S Pen on Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets.

1. Open Air Command Menu in Multiple Ways

When you remove your S Pen from the phone, the menu that pops up is called the “Air command” menu. Here you will find shortcuts for various S Pen tools like Screen Write, Smart Select, Glance, etc.

The menu will be automatically minimized when you tap somewhere else on the screen, but its floating icon will stay on the screen until S Pen is detached from the phone.

  1. You can expand or open the “Air command” menu by tapping on its icon using S Pen.
S Pen Air Command Menu Open
  1. A quicker way is to simply hover the S Pen over the phone’s screen and press the button on the side of the pen.
S Pen Button
  1. If pressing the button doesn’t bring up the menu, go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen” on your phone.
S Pen Settings
  1. Enable the toggle for the “Open Air command with Pen button”.
S Pen Settings Air Command Menu

2. Scroll Using S Pen

The S Pen acts as a mouse and lets you scroll without touching the screen using the “Air view” feature. Just hover the S Pen towards the bottom end of the app to scroll down or the top end to scroll up. You will see the down and up arrows respectively. When you want to stop scrolling, move the S Pen away.

Note: This feature might not work in all apps.

  1. For this feature to work properly, go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen”.
  2. From here enable the “Air view” toggle.
S Pen Settings Air View

3. Preview Image or Videos

In the Samsung Gallery app, hover the S Pen over any picture or video thumbnail to preview it without opening it. Make sure “Air view” is turned on before attempting this.

S Pen Air View Images

4. Read Notifications and Messages

S Pen lets you read messages, e-mails, and notifications in a pop-up window without opening them. Hover S Pen over the item such as a message in the messaging app or an e-mail in the Gmail app to preview it. This tip lets you read notifications from the notification pane without opening them.

S Pen Air View Notifications

Pro Tip: Hover the S Pen over icons to see what they mean.

5. Select and Copy Text

S Pen lets you copy text quickly. You can use it to select text from sites or apps that don’t allow it otherwise.

  1. Hold the S Pen button and drag the S Pen over the text that you want to copy.
  2. A pop-up menu will show up that lets you select all the text, copy it, or share it directly.
S Pen Copy Text
  1. Or, you could choose “Bixby Vision” from the “Air Command” menu and hover the S Pen over the text that you want to copy.
  2. Tap on the “T” button under the text to select it.
S Pen Copy Text Bixby Vision
  1. Then, copy or translate the text on the next screen.
S Pen Copy Text Bixby Vision Translate

Note: You can use this method to extract text from images as well.

6. Select Multiple Items Using S Pen

Similarly, you can use S Pen to select multiple items in Samsung apps like Gallery, Messages, Files, etc.

  1. Hold the S Pen button and drag it over the items that you want to select.
  2. A blue selection box will appear while you are moving the S Pen.
S Pen Select Multiple Items

7. Take Notes on Lock Screen

One of the best features of the S Pen is that it lets you take notes without unlocking your phone. This is possible with the “Screen-off memo” feature.

  1. Go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen”
  2. Enable the toggle for “Screen off memo” to turn on this feature.
S Pen Screen Off Memo
  1. Next, just pull out the pen when your phone is locked and start writing on the screen itself.
  2. You can change the pen size and color from the options at the top.
  3. Put the pen back or tap on the Save button at the top to save the note in the Samsung Notes app.
S Pen Screen Off Memo Note

8. Pin Notes to Always-on Display

When you create a note from the lock screen, you can pin it to the “Always-on Display”. This comes quite handy if you want to set a quick reminder for something.

  1. Tap on the Pin icon from notes on the lock screen to pin it.
S Pen Screen Off Memo Pin
  1. Once pinned, tap on the minimize icon to shrink the note and view your notifications or hit the “X “icon to unpin the note.
S Pen Screen Off Memo Pin Always On Display

9. Create a Note When You Remove S Pen

On your device, you can also create notes quickly from any screen when your phone is unlocked

  1. Go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen”.
  2. Tap on “When S Pen is removed” in the Removal section.
  3. Select “Create note”. This will disable the “Air command” menu from showing up when you remove S Pen. You’ll have to press the S Pen button to open the “Air command” menu, if you decide to focus on note-taking.
S Pen Remove Shortcut
  1. Now, whenever your remove S Pen, a pop-up window will show up where you can jot down your notes.
S Pen Remove Shortcut Create Note

10. Take Notes on Any Screen

If you don’t want to disable the “Air command” menu from showing up when you remove the S Pen, you can hold the S Pen button and tap twice on the screen using S Pen to create new notes quickly. But first you’ll need to enable this option.

  1. Go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen”.
  2. Toggle on the “Quick create notes” option.
S Pen Quick Create Notes

11. Write on Screenshot

Suppose you want to note down something on a webpage, image, or something similar. Generally, you would write down your thoughts in the Notes app. An alternative is to take a screenshot and write on the screenshot itself.

S Pen Write On Screenshot Screen Write
  1. Open the screen on which you want to write something.
  2. Now, open the “Air command” menu.
  3. Tap on “Screen write”.
  4. A screenshot will be taken of the current screen on which you can draw directly.
S Pen Write On Screenshot
  1. Tap on the Pen icon at the bottom to change the pen style, size, or color. Or, tap on the two-arrow icon to capture a scrolling screenshot for longer documents.
  2. Finally, tap on Save or Share.

12. Annotate a PDF

The Samsung Notes app lets you import PDF files and write on them. Even though this works on all Samsung Galaxy phones and it’s not an S Pen exclusive feature, the S Pen offers accuracy while writing. The S Pen also lets you sign PDF documents easily.

  1. Open the Samsung Notes app and tap on the PDF icon at the top.
S Pen Write On Pdf
  1. Select the PDF to import and start writing on it using S Pen.
  2. Tap the three-dot icon to Save and export the document.

13. Write Using S Pen in Any App

If you enjoy writing with a pen instead of typing, you can do that using S Pen on any app. The handwritten text will be automatically converted into typed text.

  1. Open an app where you want to write something.
  2. Tap on the text field to bring up the Samsung Keyboard.
  3. Tap on the Handwriting icon (a pen with a small T) in the toolbar to open the writing panel. If you can’t find the Handwriting icon, tap on the three-dot icon at the end of the keyboard’s toolbar and select “Handwriting mode”.
S Pen Handwriting
  1. Then, start writing with the S Pen. As you write, your handwriting will be converted to the typed text.

Tip: Know how to change the color of Samsung Keyboard.

14. Take Advantage of Smart Select

“Smart select” combines the powers of screenshot capturing and editing apps all in one. It lets you smartly clip on-screen content such as a portion of the screen in rectangle, oval, or freeform style. You can then draw on the captured screen or pin it to the screen for easier viewing while using other apps.

  1. Open the “Air Command” menu and select “Smart select” from the menu.
S Pen Smart Select
  1. Choose the desired capture tool (rectangle, lasso, or oval) from the toolbar. The Lasso tool lets you capture freeform screenshots.
S Pen Smart Select Capture
  1. Drag the S Pen over the area that you want to capture.
  2. Once captured, use the second button in the toolbar to draw on the screen grab.
S Pen Smart Select Draw
  1. Use the Autoselect feature to automatically highlight and crop the important part in the photo. Similarly, tap on Pin/Insert at the top of the crop to pin the portion for easy copy and paste.

15. Extract Text

You can extract text from the clipped content when you use any tool from the “Smart select” feature.

  1. Capture a screenshot using “Smart select”.
  2. Then tap on the “Extract text” icon in the toolbar at the bottom.
  3. After, you can then Copy or Share the text.
S Pen Smart Select Extract Text

16. Create GIFs Using S Pen

The “Smart Select” tool lets you record a video playing on your phone and convert it into a GIF.

  1. Play a video on your phone.
  2. Open the “Air command” menu and choose “Smart select”.
S Pen Smart Select
  1. Tap on the GIF option
  2. Move the selection box to highlight the area that you want to capture. Then, hit the Record button.
S Pen Gif Create

17. Use S Pen to Translate Text

The Translate tool in the S Pen’s “Air command” menu lets you translate specific words or paragraphs present in a photo, document, or website.

  1. Open the “Air command” menu and tap on the Translate tool.
S Pen Translate
  1. Hover the S Pen over the text that you want to translate. The translation will show up in a pop-up window.
  2. Tap on the Copy icon at the bottom to copy the translated text.
S Pen Translate Copy
  1. Change the translation language using the top toolbar.
  2. To toggle translating between word and paragraph mode, tap the “T” or Paragraph icon in the toolbar. The first will translate individual words, whereas the second will translate the entire paragraph.
S Pen Translate Para

18. Listen to Text

You can have S Pen read the text or pronounce a word on the screen using the Translation tool.

  1. Open the “Air command” menu and hit the Translate tool.
  2. Hover the S Pen over the text that you want to hear. Tap on the Sound icon in the pop-up window that shows up.
S Pen Translate Listen

19. Use the Glance Tool

No one can beat Samsung Galaxy phones when it comes to multitasking. S Pen further enhances these capabilities using the Glance tool. When activated, it minimizes or shrinks the active app to a tiny box on the bottom-right corner. Hovering over the mini window using S Pen expands it into a full-screen view. And when you move the S Pen away, the window is minimized again until you remove it.

This tool is beneficial when you want to keep an eye on an app while using another app in full screen. For instance, you can use it to watch for an incoming OTP/message or keep track of live updates for an ongoing match. Similarly, it can be useful while taking notes from a document or image.

  1. Open the photo, document, or app screen that you want to minimize.
  2. In the “Air command” menu, tap on the Glance tool. The app will be minimized to the bottom-right corner.
S Pen Glance
  1. Hover the S Pen over the box to expand it or drag it to the top to close it.

20. Magnify Text Using S Pen

The S Pen can be used as a magnifying glass, allowing you to magnify anything on your screen, such as images, text, etc.

  1. In the “Air command” menu of S Pen, tap on the Magnify tool to activate it.
  2. Hover the S Pen over the area you want to magnify. You can change the magnifying strength using the toolbar at the top.
S Pen Magnify

21. Search for Similar Images

Using “Bixby Vision” in the “Air command” menu, you can search for similar images from any webpage or gallery images.

  1. Tap on “Bixby Vision” in the “Air command” menu.
S Pen Bixby Vision
  1. Hover the S Pen over the image for a second or two. A selection box will show up.
  2. Tap on the Image icon below the selection box to reverse search or look for similar images.
S Pen Bixby Vision Reverse Search

22. Launch Camera Quickly

S Pen allows you to launch the Camera app quickly from any screen by simply holding its button. If you use some other app frequently, you can assign that to the S Pen button instead.

  1. Open S Pen Settings and go to “Air actions”.
  2. Tap on “Hold down Pen button to” and select the desired app.
S Pen Button Hold

23. Use S Pen as a Remote

You can use the pen to control your phone as a remote control. You can take pictures, play or pause music, view presentations, scroll in web pages, or navigate your phone using S Pen gestures.

  1. Go to “Settings→ Advanced features→ S Pen”.
  2. Select “Air Actions”.
  3. Here you will see a list of available gestures.
  4. Tap on an app to view the available actions and gestures. Make your selection according to your preference.
S Pen Gestures

24. Customize S Pen

You can customize the S Pen pointer style, “Air command” menu style, and S Pen sound using the Pentastic module of “Good Lock”.

  1. Install the Good Lock app on your Samsung Galaxy phone.
  2. Install the Pentastic module within the “Good Lock” module.
S Pen Pentastic Good Lock Module

Frequently Asked Questions

I've lost my S Pen. How do I find it?

You cannot find the exact location of your S Pen but you can know the time when you removed the pen the last time. Go to S Pen in Settings and check the date and time next to “Warn if S Pen is left behind”.

Does S Pen work even if it's not charged?

Yes, the S Pen can work even in such a condition. You will only lose the remote capabilities when S Pen isn’t charged.

Can you use multiple S Pens on one phone?

Yes, you can use another S Pen if your S Pen is inside the phone. Make sure “Allow multiple S Pens” in S Pen Settings is turned on.

Which devices are compatible with S Pen?

S Pen has always been compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note series phones. Apart from that, S Pen works with Tab S8, Tab S7, S21 Ultra, S22 Ultra, and Galaxy Fold 3. While the Note series, Tab S8, and S22 Ultra come with a dedicated S Pen, you will have to purchase it separately for other devices.

Does S Pen from one Samsung phone work on others?

S Pen from a Galaxy Note series will work on non-Note models that support S Pen like S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra with the exception of Fold 3 as it has its own dedicated S Pen. However, you might not be able to use all its features on other devices. To use a different S Pen, you must enable the Multiple S Pen feature in your phone Settings.

All screenshots by Mehvish Mushtaq.

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she's always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She's been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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