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Wacom Tablet Set Up

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Contents

This page details the general process of setting up your tablet to your needs. Many of the steps will have links to more detailed instructions if you are interested in knowing more.

Configuration of Your Tablet

The first step in setting up your tablet is to get the general configuration set according to your liking. The tablet's initial configuration is dictated by configuration files, and may be changed on-the-fly with configuration utilities.

Default Configuration

Under a modern X server using udev for hotplugging, xorg.conf.d is responsible for defining a tablet's default settings. Older servers may use HAL, and in rare cases an xorg.conf file is necessary. Regardless of which backend performs the setup, these are the ideal place to set system-wide defaults. For example, one could adjust the default rotation property for a Cintiq or TabletPC which is often used in a particular orientation. Perhaps you have a lot of electromagnetic interference near your workstation and feel that increasing the default "Suppress" value for all tablets would be useful. Developers may prefer to have debug information turned up by default, in order to log the events which occur as X starts up.

Run-Time Configuration

Our driver includes the command-line driven xsetwacom utility which is capable of modifying the configuration of your tablet on-the-fly. This can be useful for allowing per-user settings, temporarily adjusting the current settings, or gaining an understanding of how particular options affect the tablet's operation.

For example, suppose you wish to have the ExpressKeys perform certain keyboard actions to make image manipulation in GIMP easier. Your particular preference for ExpressKey behavior may not be the same as another user using the same workstation. By calling xsetwacom in a login script, you can customize the system-wide defaults to your own liking. As another example, suppose that you feel GIMP's paintbrush needs a more-firm feel and the airbrush a less-firm feel. By using xsetwacom, you can change the PressureCurve property of your stylus on-the-fly as you swap back and forth between paintbrush and airbrush.

Application Configuration

Third-party applications may also benefit from configuration. For example, some GTK-based applications such as GIMP and Inkscape require that you enable your tablet as an "extended input device" before they will use data like pressure. You may also wish to configure certain tablet buttons to run programs; while xsetwacom is incapable of this, window managers like Compiz may provide the necessary options.

Dual and Multi-Monitor Set Up

For systems set up with multiple monitors, the X server maps the tablet's area to the entire desktop by default. Oftentimes this is the desired behavior, but in some cases (particularly for TabletPCs or Cintiqs) you will want to have the stylus be mapped to a single output. To do this, X must be notified to change its tablet-to-display mapping. The xsetwacom utility includes a handy "MapToOutput" parameter which allows you to specify which particular output you would like the tablet to be mapped to. To use find the names of available outputs, you can use the xrandr command.

While the legacy linuxwacom driver supports the TwinView extension used by the binary "nvidia" driver, the new xf86-input-wacom driver had TwinView support added with the 0.11.99.1 release. Earlier versions of xf86-input-wacom relied on RandR and were not compatible with TwinView. Rather than using the xsetwacom "MapToOutput" parameter it is still possible to manually calculate and notify the X server of the correct tablet-to-display mapping with those earlier versions of xf86-input-wacom. See Dual and Multi-Monitor Set Up for additional details.

Calibration of Your Tablet

Calibration is necessary when the pointer on the screen does not coincide with where the input tool is located on the tablet. This is usually most noticeable on screen-mounted tablets (e.g. Tablet PCs or Cintiqs), often after rotation. There can be multiple causes of misalignment, though parallax from your working position is the most common cause. "Opaque" tablets also may suffer to a less noticible extent when they have a different aspect ratio than the display. This particular kind of miscalibration results in drawn cicles appearing on-screen as ellipses.

The easiest way to calibrate a screen-mounted tablets like a TabletPC or Cintiq is to use the 3rd-party xinput-calibrator utility. By tapping the displayed crosshairs while holding your stylus normally and in your normal working position (so the utility can correct for parallax), it will calculate the necessary modifications. It should provide you with a set of four numbers corresponding to the top-left and bottom-right coordinates of the tablet. These numbers can then be fed into xsetwacom's "Area" parameter to be applied.

For opaque tablets suffering from aspect ratio mismatch, you will need to determine the tablet's starting Area from xsetwacom and then calculate the necessary reduction so the Area's aspect ratio matches your desktop.

See the calibration page for more information.

Tablet-Specific Suggestions

Any sort of configuration suggestions which are fairly tablet-specific may appear here.

Bamboo P&T Touch Toggle Script

Turning touch off helps to avoid accidental input if you touch the tablet when not holding the stylus (it also duplicates the function and button assignment in Windows).

The following script requires xsetwacom. The device name for touch is found by using xsetwacom list dev as mentioned in the script comments.

#!/bin/bash

## Get the "Device name" or ID number
## for touch from 'xsetwacom list dev'

DEVICE="Wacom BambooFun 2FG 4x5 Finger touch" 
TOUCH_STATE=`xsetwacom get "$DEVICE" touch`
if [ "$TOUCH_STATE" == "on" ]
  then
    echo "Touch is ON, turning OFF."
    xsetwacom set "$DEVICE" touch off
  else
    echo "Touch is OFF, turning ON."
    xsetwacom set "$DEVICE" touch on
fi

Place the script in a file called bin/toggle-touch.sh in your home directory. Make the script executable with chmod +x $HOME/bin/toggle-touch.sh. By binding a tablet button to execute the script (likely through your window manager) you can easily toggle touch on and off.

Intuos4 LED and OLED

Eduard Hasenleithner's patch set for LED and OLED support Input: wacom - add Intuos4 LED and OLED control has been accepted into the 3.2 kernel. Binary sysfs attributes are used to provide manipulation of the LEDs and OLEDs. Also posted on linuxwacom-devel is a backport for earlier kernels which has been committed to the input-wacom git repository. He has begun work implementing support for the new sysfs "wacom_led" attribute group through xf86-input-wacom's xsetwacom.

Impatient users have already applied the patch set and compiled their own custom wacom.ko. They report they can choose which one of the 4 small LEDs to light up, make the intensity of the LED change when the stylus is touching the tablet, and send images to the OLEDs.

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