The Samsung Galaxy Note is one of those special tablets that
includes a digitizer to make your mobile life infinitely easier. The only
problem is that you’re very limited in how you can configure the S Pen. Out of the
box, you can disable pen detection to save your battery, define what happens when the pen is
removed (open Shortcuts Toolbar, open Pop Up Note, open S Note, etc), configure the tablet to play a sound when the pen is removed, turn on
Air view, and enable/disable haptic feedback. This is the one area that the
Galaxy Note could user a bit more control. Why? Power users want more.

Fortunately, there are apps in the Google Play Store to fill in the gaps left
by the Samsung Galaxy Note tablet. One of those tools is the S Pen Toolbox. This handy little application brings to your S Pen everything that
Samsung should have included by default, including:

  • Custom sounds for the S Pen (attach and detach)
  • Show customizable actions list when detaching the S
  • Start any action, application, or shortcut on
  • Screen Off when attaching S Pen
  • Smart Screen Off Mode (turn screen off on attach
    if it was off prior to S Pen detach)
  • Return to home screen when attaching S Pen
  • Create Screen Off shortcut on home screen

There are two versions of S Pen Toolbox:

  • Free – has a short delay before “screen off”
  • Pro for $2.64 (USD) – no delay before “screen off”

Neither version requires the device to be rooted. Let’s get
this app installed and start using it.


The installation is mostly straightforward. There is one
tiny hiccup that could throw some users for a loop, and I’ll address that momentarily.
Here are the steps for installation:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for “s pen toolkit”
  3. Locate and tap the entry for S Pen Toolbox
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Continue
  6. Allow the installation to complete

When you first run S Pen Toolbox, you’ll be required to
active the software as a device administrator. This is necessary in order for
the application to lock the screen. So, tap Activate when prompted and then make
sure the Device Administrator slider is set to “On” (Figure A). This
configuration screen will automatically open when you tap Activate on your first

Figure A

S Pen Toolbox running on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy
Note tablet.

A note of warning: Should you decide to uninstall S Pen
Toolbox, you’ll need to go back into the settings and de-activate the
software as a device administrator. Once you’ve done that, you can uninstall
the software in the usual fashion.


One of the best features of S Pen Toolbox is the ability to
have it automatically open a user-specified app when the digital pen is
removed. This means you can pull out the S Pen and have your favorite office
suite open automatically (or whatever app you want). To do this, follow these

  1. Open the S Pen Toolbox
  2. Tap Execute Action
  3. Tap Application
  4. Scroll to locate and then tap the target application (Figure

That’s it. Now, when you pull out the S Pen from the tablet,
that application will open and be ready for usage.

Figure B

This list will vary, depending on what apps you have installed.

Another nice feature is the S Pen Action list. This small
popup will appear when you pull out the S Pen. The Action List contains four
buttons that you can configure to launch actions, applications, or shortcuts.
Here’s how:

  1. Pull out the S Pen
  2. When the Action List appears, long-press one of
    the boxes (Figure C)
  3. From the resultant popup, tap Add
  4. Tap either Action, Shortcut, or Application
    (depending on what you want to add)
  5. Scroll until you find what you to add and tap
    the target app, shortcut, or action

Figure C

The Action List allows you to add up to four actions.

Once you’ve added one action to the Action List, the popup
will appear with only that button (launcher). In order to add more, you
simply long-press the launcher (Figure D) and select Add (or edit).

Figure D

Chrome and Email are already added to the Action List.

If you don’t want the Action List to appear, just open S Pen Toolbox and disable Action List and Action List Notification.

The Samsung Galaxy
Note offers a very powerful digitizer, but it could still use a few
extra features. With the S Pen Toolbox, you’ll find those missing features in
place. Give this app a try and see if it doesn’t perfectly compliment the
built-in S Pen features on your tablet.

What S Pen tips and tricks would you like to share with the rest of the TechRepublic community? Post your favorite in the discussion thread below.