by Caleb Goellner

Pen Pusher Pride Customizing Your Wacom Pen Settings

When you think of Wacom, you probably think “tablet”, but what you should be thinking about is the pen. The pen is what pulls the experience together. Of course, you need both the pen and the tablet working in tandem, but the pen is the proverbial steering wheel in your creative workflow.

So with an understanding now that the pen is such a critical tool, lets focus on how to get the most out of it. Out of the box, the pen does what it is supposed to do. It enables you to navigate your computer (aka move your cursor), draw and paint in creative applications, etc. But it can do a lot more. You may have noticed the buttons on the side of the Intuos, Intuos Pro and Cintiq creative display tablet pens, known as the side switch. Side switch buttons can be assigned any number of keystrokes or functions to help you better take advantage of your favorite applications.

For example, my favorite application is Adobe Photoshop. While there are literally thousands of keyboard shortcuts, in my workflow, I find myself always hitting the Option or Alt key. When pressed, the Option or Alt key modifies the behavior of no less than a dozen tools and functions: Temporarily selecting the eyedropper; selecting a source point for the clone stamp tool and healing brush; subtracting from a selection. These are just a few of the common things that I do. As for the other button on my pen, I assign it to the X key, which enables you to swap your foreground and background colors—something I do quite often when working with layer masks.

Assigning keyboard shortcuts to the button on your pen is quite easy. In fact I would say that determining what you want to assign to your pen is tougher than the actual setup!  In the following I show you just how easy it is. 

I’m curious what do you assign the button on the side of your pen? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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