How to Calibrate a Wacom Tablet

Before you can use a Wacom tablet as a touch screen or input device, you must calibrate the screen mapping and possibly the color profile. If you use a Wacom Cintiq for graphic design, calibrating its colors before beginning any work is essential. The Cintiq's touch screen also presents an input-related issue due to the viewing angle and distortion of light passing through the glass. Wacom drivers include settings for screen mapping, and your color calibration tool comes with software for automatically calibrating the colors.

Close-up using tablet pc with digitized pen
The Cintiq's glass display can cause parallax, a kind of light distortion.
credit: LDProd/iStock/Getty Images

Calibrate Screen Mapping

Step

Visit the Wacom site to download the latest drivers for your tablet (link in Resources). After installing the drivers, open the Wacom Tablet Properties window from the Control Panel by selecting “Small Icons” from the "View By" menu.

Step

Select your tablet from the "Tablet" menu, and then select “Grip Pen” from the "Tool" menu. If you're using an Intuos or earlier tablet, you may not have these options, in which case select “All” from the "Application" menu.

Step

Click the “Mapping” tab, choose “Pen” from the "Mode" menu, and then enable “Force Proportions” to map your tablet's active area to your monitor. This option transforms the lines and shapes you draw so that they appear consistent regardless of your monitor's dimensions.

Step

Select the “Calibrate” tab from the "Grip Pen" menu. This option is only available for Cintiq tablets because they have special calibration requirements. Choose your display from the "Monitor" menu if working with multiple monitors.

Step

Click “Calibrate” and hold your pen and tablet in a natural position. Your tablet displays calibration crosshairs on its touch display, and you must touch the center of the crosshairs using the grip pen. After touching the center of each pair of crosshairs, click “OK” to confirm the calibration.

Create Cintiq Color Profile

Step

Install the drivers included with your color calibration tool, and then connect the tool to a USB port on your computer. The method for calibrating colors varies somewhat between tools, but it usually follows a similar pattern of placing the tool on your monitor and running the calibration software.

Step

Launch the calibration software and read the onscreen instructions. When prompted, place the calibration tool on the monitor, aligning it with the guides displayed by the software. Color calibration tools typically include a counterweight for balancing the tool on your monitor, but you may want to lay the Cintiq flat on a table for this step rather than hang the calibration tool from the top edge of the tablet.

Step

Click “Calibrate” or a similar option to start the calibration process, which usually takes about five minutes. After calibrating the colors, enter a name for the color profile, and then click “Save.” The profile is stored in the Color system folder inside the Windows directory on your C: drive.