To discuss this guide, please use this Ubuntu forums thread.

In all cases, please take note that after having changed the configuration (if it was necessary), you will also have to configure the "Extended input devices" in the programs you use, like Gimp or Inkscape. Don't forget to register your Wacom tablet on the Wacom web site, since you can specify Linux as the system you're using.

For all Ubuntu versions, using Synaptic package manager1 or Adept package manager2, check first if the packages xserver-xorg-input-wacom and wacom-tools are already installed on your system - if not, install them.

Alternatively, you can use the command line :

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-wacom wacom-tools

Plug the tablet in, then restart Ubuntu.

NOTE: there is no package wacom-tools in Ubuntu 10.04 any more, so you'll have to use your tablet without it.

Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10

Method 1

Instead of editing xorg.conf, in Ubuntu 10.04 you edit /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-wacom.conf and in Ubuntu 10.10 gksudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf in the same way that is mentioned at the bottom of this Wiki page to edit xorg.conf. You can enter this command to edit mentioned file:

Ubuntu 10.04:

gksudo gedit /usr/lib/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-wacom.conf

Ubuntu 10.10 and newer:

gksudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf

After you enter your password, Gedit window opens and you can edit your options. This is my /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-wacom.conf file:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Wacom class"
        MatchProduct "Wacom|WACOM"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Driver "wacom"
        #Option "Button2" "2"
        #Option "Button3" "3"
        Option "KeepShape" "on"

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Wacom serial class"
        MatchProduct "Serial Wacom Tablet"
        Driver "wacom"
        Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"

# N-Trig Duosense Electromagnetic Digitizer
Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Wacom N-Trig class"
        MatchProduct "HID 1b96:0001"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Driver "wacom"

These are the only options i have added to default Ubuntu file:

        #Option "Button2" "2"
        #Option "Button3" "3"
        Option "KeepShape" "on"

First two options can be used to remap buttons (# sign means that the option is disabled until # is removed), and third option is used like "Force proportions" option in Microsoft Windows operating system. Essentially it corrects difference between your monitor aspect ratio and aspect ratio of your tablet.

Remember, you add your options in first section (one with Identifier "Wacom class"). Enter this in your terminal for more options you can put in this section:

man wacom

To leave "man" page after you have found options you need type q.

Method 2

Another option is to configure your tablet from the console every time when you turn your computer on using xsetwacom, such as

xsetwacom set 'Wacom Intuos3 6x8' 'Button1' '1'
xsetwacom set 'Wacom Intuos3 6x8' 'Button2' '3'
xsetwacom set 'Wacom Intuos3 6x8' 'Button3' '2'

for exchanging your stylus buttons (not all options can be set this way, for example "KeepShape" option mentioned under Method 1 doesn't work using this method).

Note: 'Wacom Intuos3 6x8' in the previous commands is the device name. You must replace it with the actual device detected on you system. Such can be found using: xsetwacom -v --list dev

To make your changes permanent, simply open (or create) the file .xsessionrc in your home directory and add the lines above (you should use your own configuration, of course). After that, simply log out and back into your X11 server, and your tablet configuration will be applied.

Method 3

Open a terminal and do the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yobbobandana/ppa
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install bluez
sudo dpkg-reconfigure linux-image-`uname -r`

Reboot your computer and add your wacom to the bluetooth devices. This is working for the wacom bluetooth tablet.

Configuring the "Extended Input Devices"

Your tablet input devices (usually stylus, eraser, and cursor) should now appear in programs that support them -- at the moment, Gimp and Inkscape are the most common. However, you still have to enable them before you can use them fully.


  • Open Files>Preferences :


Use the tab "Input devices", then click on "Configure Extended Input Devices"

  • Screenshot-Gimp-2.6.11_Preferences.png

Choose Device: Stylus then Mode: Screen3. Do the same for the Eraser and the Cursor: (Note, that all values have to be the same as in the picture.)

  • Screenshot-Gimp_Input.png

Now you're ready to draw, for example with the Paintbrush. You can change the Pressure Sensitivity effect from Opacity to Size, such as here :

  • Screenshot-GIMP_Paintbrush_Settings.png


Being a vector drawing program, unlike Gimp, Inkscape is very good for ink-style drawings. An advantage of vector drawings (apart from the low resource requirements) is that your strokes will remain sharp at whatever magnification, resolution or thinness.

  • Open Files>Input devices... :


    Choose Device: Stylus then Mode: Screen3 - do the same for the Eraser and the Cursor:

(Note, that all values have to be the same as in the picture.)

  • Screenshot-Inkscape_Input.png

    Now you're ready to draw. The best tool with a tablet is the Calligraphy tool (Ctrl+F6) Inkscape_Calligraphy_Tool.png , you have to click on the icon Inkscape_Pressure.png to use the pressure, and adjust the settings on the bar just above the horizontal ruler


  • like on the following picture :



Modifying Stroke Pressure

  • If you find that with the defaults setting for the stylet it's hard to draw thin strokes, you can add this line in /etc/X11/xorg.conf4:

      Option        "PressCurve"    "50,0,100,50"         # Custom preference

    to the section "InputDevice" relative to the stylet. It will then look like this :

    Section "InputDevice"
      Driver        "wacom"
      Identifier    "stylus"
      Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom" 
      Option        "Type"          "stylus"
      Option        "PressCurve"    "50,0,100,50"         # Custom preference
      Option        "Threshold"     "60"                  # sensitivity to do a "click"

The parameter "50,0, 100,50" determine the slope of two tangents of the pressure curve("deltaX_1,deltaY_1 ,100-deltaX_2,100-deltaY_2"; 1:no pressure, 2:full pressure). On Gnome Graphic Tablet Apps you can find an application that does this and some pictures that show what the pressure curve is.

Fixing the Inverted Scrolling Problem

If the scroll wheel on your Wacom mouse is inverted (up is down and down is up), there is a workaround. Open up the terminal and type in:

xsetwacom set cursor RelWDn 4
xsetwacom set cursor RelWUp 5

If the scroll wheel now works correctly (which it should), open up a text editor, type "#!/bin/sh", and then below that paste in the above commands. Save it as ".xsetwacomrc" in your home directory and make sure it is executable (type in "chmod +x .xsetwacomrc" from the terminal). To load this file on startup, go to System->Preferences->Sessions and click on the "Startup Programs" tab. Click on "New" and enter the command "/home/USERNAME/.xsetwacomrc", then give it a title like "Wacom Cursor Scroll Inversion Rectifier". You may of course like to place other xsetwacom commands into that file, depending on your needs.

  • With my Graphire4 on Ubuntu 7.10, those commands did not work. Instead, the following commands fixed the inverted scrollwheel issue:

    xsetwacom set pad relwup "button 5"
    xsetwacom set pad relwdn "button 4"

    -- DavidAllouche DateTime(2007-12-08T16:25:42Z)

    • Note: For this to work the xorg.conf must refer to your wacom device pad as "pad". By default in Gutsy there is no reference to the pad as an input device. For the scrollwheel to work add the following lines under Section "InputDevice":

      Section "InputDevice"
              Driver        "wacom"
              Identifier    "pad"
              Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/wacom"   # USB ONLY
              Option        "Type"          "pad"
              Option        "USB"           "on"                  # USB ONLY

Similarly in the Section "ServerLayout" you must add the following line:

  • Section "ServerLayout"
            InputDevice     "pad"  #Do not add SendCoreEvents

Using a Specific Area of the Tablet

You can limit the used area of the tablet to get the correct aspect ratio (if you draw circles and get something oval).

Section "InputDevice"
        Option          "TopX"        "100"     
        Option          "TopY"        "200"      
        Option          "BottomX"     "14000"
        Option          "BottomY"     "6000"

Although you can make this different for the pen and the eraser, you probably want to have the same area for both of them. On the Graphire4 XL the resolution is 800 dots per cm, so 6000-200 is 7.25 cm on the tablet.

mouseemu is used on some systems (mostly Apple hardware) to emulate a two button mouse using a single button trackpad. It conflicts with the Wacom drivers stopping it working altogether and producing errors in /var/log/Xorg.0.log similar to

(**) Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
pad Wacom X driver can't grab event device, errno=1022

To fix this simply uninstall mouseemu using the package manager of your choice and restart the X server.

Specific Cases

TC1100 in Ubuntu 10.04

Use this guide: Ubuntu Lucid on the TC1100 or Karmic

See Also

  • Wacom Ubuntu Forum Thread - Use this thread for help, asking questions about this guide or suggesting improvements.

  • The Linux Wacom Project - Home page of the Linux Wacom Project, responsible for the Wacom drivers in Linux.

  • Installing the Latest Driver in Ubuntu - Guide on how to install a version of the linuxwacom drivers from the Linux Wacom Project other than the version available through the Ubuntu repositories.

  • Gnome Graphic Tablet Apps - Home to a wacom configuration application which allows you to edit pressure curve, device mode and tilt(coming soon). It also includes a nice test area which offers realtime testing of your decisions. This site includes both source code and .deb's (only for i368 architecture).


  1. System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager. You need to have administrative rights to install the packages (1)

  2. KMenu>System>Adept Manager (2)

  3. You can also choose Mode: Window, but it's not the best setting (3 4)

  4. Remember to be careful when editing this file. First make a backup copy with sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup then edit it with the command line gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf (5)

Wacom (last edited 2011-06-12 00:32:24 by skovprodukter)