by Caleb Goellner

Wacom Tablet Navigation for Newbies

Both a mouse and a pen will equally move your cursor around the screen, but the pen offers greater benefits and functionality when it comes to creative applications. The most notable feature is pressure sensitivity. In short, when you press the pen softer or harder to the tablet surface, you can vary the effects of a tool. Such as the size or opacity of a brush.

The one downside of using a pen vs. a mouse is the learning curve. Fortunately it is a small curve. And I should further point out that learning to use a pen is not so much a “learning process” as it is an “unlearning process”.

Its really just a matter of getting over the habit of picking up and scooting a mouse on a mouse pad. A pen works a little bit differently than a mouse. It works in what is called “absolute mode”. Meaning, the active area of the tablet corresponds to the dimensions of your display: Put the pen in the upper left hand corner of the tablet and your cursor appears in the upper in the upper left-hand corner of your display. Move the pen into the lower right hand corner of the tablet and your cursor appears in the lower right-hand corner of your display.

So with a pen, you don’t have to “pick up and scoot” as you do with a mouse. In this video, I demonstrate what I mean by “absolute mode” as I show you how to better navigate with your pen. Additionally, I show you how to select, drag and drop and open folders. Simple stuff, that isn’t always simple when you first get started. Check it out, and ditch the mouse. Start rockin the pen!

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