How to Use Wacom Tablet?

Wacom tablets make graphics work, editing, drawing, and other design work forms significantly improved and more effortless. If you have never used a Wacom tablet, you may find it a bit odd to set up and use the device, more so if you are not so tech-savvy. This article is for you if you plan to get a new Wacom tablet or have just gotten a new one, as I will be discussing how you can set up and use your Wacom tablet with ease.

What Is Special About Wacom Tablets?

There are different models of tablets from Wacom; some feature LCD screens, and some are exclusive tablet surfaces that are connected to another display. Wacom tablets are set apart from all other tablet PCs, as they are dedicated graphics tablets. They are also called pen tablets, and they are designed exclusively for graphic artists. As they are quite costly, it would be a waste of money to buy one when all you need is a device to watch movies, write, read, and play games.

Unless you want a tablet for just reading, surfing the net, and watching movies, precision is a critical factor in any device you use. For example, the absence of a mouse or pen compatibility in a tablet makes it less suitable for an artist or designer to work with. This is why I advise you to buy all the important accessories when you buy the tablet, even though it may imply additional costs.

How Wacom Tablets Work?

How Wacom Tablets Work

The technology behind these tablets is quite complicated. While Wacom offers several models of tablets, with some differing so much from others in features and tech, there is a fundamental technology that is peculiar to all Wacom tablets.

The pen is able to function through a technology called the "Penabled Technology." It works through a transmitter, a modulator, and a digital chip implanted into the pen. The pen releases a magnetic field that is picked up by the sensor board in the tablets that also features its magnetic field.  It is through this connection that the device can register some commands. In addition, the tablet uses a patented electromagnetic resonance technology to determine the location of the pen.

In Wacom devices that have LED screens, there is a tweak to how the technology works. The backlighting or another element could disrupt the magnetic field coming from the pen, which is why there is always a tight metal frame around the screen. However, that tight metal frame does affect the viability of the signal. The control board can still recognize the weak signal and improve it so that you can register accurate commands.

Tips on How to Use Your Wacom Tablet?

It may take you a while to grasp the entire concept of using a Wacom Tablet, but here are some tips that can help you learn and improve your experience.

Step 1 

The first thing I did when I got my device was to play around on the tablet and make some customization of the Wacom pen. Interestingly, you can configure based on personal preference. Set your pen keystrokes options and pen button functions.

If you prefer, you can select the buttons to perform different commands on different applications. For example, you can have a button perform one function when surfing the net and have the same button perform another function when drawing. The key is to play around with these several functions and accessories and decide which works best for you.

Step 2

Check along the side of your Wacom tablet, and you should notice some buttons. While they are not all that essential, they come in handy when you need to perform some quick functions. Like the pen buttons, the buttons on the side of the device, called "ExpressKeys," can be assigned different functions across different applications.

Customizing these buttons according to your requirements, will make your work faster. Display toggle, precision mode, and pan/scroll are some options available.

Step 3

Another exciting thing about the Wacom pen is how real it feels to write or draw with it. The pen comes with ten physical nibs that can be fixed to the pen's mouth and removed with a special removal tool that also comes with it.

Each nib offers a unique feel when you write or draw with it. Much more than the feel of the pen on the surface, they are all suitable for various purposes. With time, you will establish which your favorite is and which is best suited for different aspects of your design.

Step 4

Return the pen to the stand. This may seem like quite an obvious tip, but it is easier than you think to misplace the pen. I'm sure you have lost hundreds of writing pens, but a Wacom pen is not something you want to lose often. With a pen costing close to a hundred dollars, it is quite costly to replace one. It is for this reason that a pen stand comes with it.

If you have to leave your tablet for any reason, fix the pen in the stand before you stand up. I once lost my pen back when I was in school and couldn't replace it for a month. At that time, the tablet was just like any other regular tablet device, as it couldn't serve my design purpose.

Step 5

Truthfully, I am not able to efficiently explain the details of the technology behind it. I can only give an overview of how the technology works. Nonetheless, Wacom tablets provide the best organic design opportunity. Organic in the sense that you can handle the tablet and pen in the same way you would use a normal pen and paper.

When drawing or writing with the pen, you can always rest your hand on the tablet. As long as the pen is within 0.5-inch of the tablet surface, your hand gestures will be completely ignored.

Step 6

Just like with any other device that requires customization, you may find it a bit overwhelming at first to remember what function the buttons represent. However, the Express View feature makes it possible to access an overlay of what all the buttons represent. Press the button and rest your finger on it, and you'll be able to access the overlay.

Step 7

If you have never used one before, learning to use a Wacom tablet can become frustrating in no time. When you have become so used to designing on a PC, don't expect switching from mouse to pen will be smooth.

However, with perseverance and constant practice, you will get used to it. What will make it a bit easier to get familiar with the Wacom tablet is that there is the option to configure the commands based on your personal preference.


Designing with a Wacom tablet is arguably more comfortable, faster, and more flexible than working with PCs or other types of tablets. Setting up and configuring one is not so complicated, but the device takes some getting used to, mainly if you are using it for the first time. I have relayed some tips that can make a Wacom tablet an easy and interesting device to use from my personal experience.

I do hope you found the information exciting and helpful enough. Do share with friends, family, and other people who are likely to benefit from the information.  

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