Wacom Tablet Guide


There are two types of Wacom devices accessible to students at the DPL. There are the Intuos and Bamboo tablets which can be taken out or found in some classrooms, and there is the Cintiq which can be found in Suite J. The latter differs in that it not only acts as a precision pen input, but it also has a screen which allows you to draw directly onto the interface. These are very powerful tools, and this guide will help you start using them in no time.

Intuos and Bamboo: Getting Started

Before moving on to the more complicated Cintiq, we will go over using the more basic Intuos and Bamboo tablets. To get started, follow the steps below:

  • If not already attached, plug your tablet into the computer via USB.
  • Give the system a few seconds to recognize the device.
  • You should now be able to manipulate the mouse by hovering the pen above the surface and moving it around. If not, make sure your tablet is connected and powered on. If your pen still is not working, come to the 8th floor labbie office and ask for help.

Intuos and Bamboo: Using the Pen

Now that your tablet is responsive, take some time to play around and situate yourself with the pen. It may feel awkward at first if you are accustomed to a mouse or touchpad, but don’t worry, you will get used to it. After moving the mouse around a bit, try making some mouse clicks. To left click with the Wacom pen, simply tap the pen tip to the surface. To right click, look for the rocker on the side of the pen. Press the lower button to right click. Press and hold the upper button to scroll around a page. On the top of the pen you will find an eraser that is functional in only certain programs.

Intuos and Bamboo: Using the Buttons and Wheel

On the side of the Intuos tablets there are a few buttons and a wheel. These are assigned to different functions such as switching programs, acting as function keys, or enabling/disabling the touch functionality. We will touch on these more in the next section. The wheel acts similarly to an iPod click wheel, and can be used to scroll.

Intuos and Bamboo: Customizing

If you are unhappy with the default functions of the buttons on the pen or the pad, do not fear. Almost every one of them can be changed. Go to System Preferences>Wacom Tablets. Here you will find a slew of settings. You can change the functions of the buttons, adjust sensitivity, and even assign different configurations to different programs.

Intuos and Bamboo: Pressure and Tilt

Some programs, such as Photoshop, support different levels of pressure and amounts of tilt in order to more realistically simulate a pencil. You can adjust the pressure sensitivity in the settings.

Intuos and Bamboo: Practice

Like anything new, it takes practice and patience to get good at using the pen. However, if you stick with it, you will be off to the races in no time. While simply using the tablet as much as possible is the best practice, there are specific exercises that can help too. This Lynda.com tutorial should help improve your skills: https://www.lynda.com/Wacom-tutorials/Tablet-calisthenics-Beginner-exercises/115435/128740-4.html

Cintiq: Getting Started

The Cintiq is different from the other tablets at the DPL. It acts as an external monitor, and it can only be found in Suite J. To use it, you must rent out the Cintiq pen from the Labbie office on the 8th floor of Ansin. Simply hover the pen over the Cintiq, and you will find that it functions the same as if it were a tablet on your desk. The benefit is that you can see where your pen is landing. If you are accustomed to a normal Wacom tablet, the first thing you will notice about the Cintiq is that you can’t move the cursor to the other two monitors. If you want to manipulate a program with the pen, you must move the program over to the Cintiq monitor where you can then use the pen.

Cintiq: The Pen

The pen functions very similarly to the Intuos and Bamboo pens. Please refer to that section.

Cintiq: The Buttons

If you are used to the Intuos Tablets, you may notice that there are significantly more buttons on the left and right of the Cintiq. To see the functionality of these buttons, there is a small lowercase “i” above the top right corner of the screen. This button reveals an overlay that shows you what every button is programed to do. As with the other tablets, these are all remappable, and can be changed in System Preferences>Wacom Tablets.

Video Tutorials

If you are still confused, these video tutorials may be helpful in furthering your knowledge of the Wacom tablets.