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I have a new Wacom Intuos5 Touch Medium. Surprisingly enough, it worked out of the box when I connected it to my computer (Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit), including the pen pressure and some touch pad features. I also managed to change the input for left-handed use, using the GUI provided by Ubuntu to manage the Wacom driver.

However, when I entered the button mapping menu to configure the buttons on the tablet itself (not those on the stylus), no matter what I did, the changes I made there had no effect. Right now, one of the buttons can only be used as a right-click, another as a middle-click and the button which should change modes for the touch ring as left-click. The touch ring itself doesn't seem to do anything, except for some strange flickers in Gimp's coordinates. The other buttons do nothing.

I searched a bit and realized that xsetwacom can be used, but I'm not entirely sure HOW to use it: how do I see the names of the buttons so that I can assign them functions? How do I make the touch ring work? What exactly am I looking for in that command?

Also, is there a way to make one of the buttons responsible for turning on/off the touch pad? And is there a way to configure rotation with fingers, like Wacom shows is possible with this tablet?

Your answers will be greatly appreciated, I'm quite at a loss here!

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  • The KDE system settings module for Wacom tablets appeared to know of all the elements (various things on the pen, touch ring, touch features on drawing area and quick buttons), but I too was confused as to how to properly configure it further. I suppose this has to do with the fact that Gimp/Krita must be set up to use the relevant buttons somewhere, but I don't know where. Also, the config module didn't know of all the buttons, only four (there are 8).
    – larsivi
    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:51
  • It appears you're right - Gimp, at least, can be configured to customize behavior for the buttons. However, the effects only take place in Gimp itself. It's a problem for me, as I use MyPaint as well, and MyPaint only has pressure configuration, as far as I know. Another problem is that Gimp lists more than 200 buttons, and button 1 refers to the second button from the bottom, so I'm not sure how it works. I'll play with it a bit, maybe install KDE and try its module. Thanks for the idea. :)
    – Amir Adar
    Sep 4, 2012 at 20:33

1 Answer 1

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Here's a short overview of what I used to set up my Wacom tablet in Ubuntu. (cfr. also this blog post of mine on setting up a Wacom tablet in Ubuntu).

1. Device names

xsetwacom --list devices

gives you the names of your devices. In my case the result is:

Wacom Intuos Pro M Pen stylus    id: 14 type: STYLUS   
Wacom Intuos Pro M Pen eraser    id: 15 type: ERASER   
Wacom Intuos Pro M Pen cursor    id: 16 type: CURSOR   
Wacom Intuos Pro M Pen pad       id: 17 type: PAD     
Wacom Intuos Pro M Finger touch  id: 18 type: TOUCH

2. Parameters

xsetwacom --list parameters

gives you a long list of parameters you can use, with a brief explanation of what they mean. The parameter "Button" for instance will be used to assign a key to a button (or "express key" as Wacom calls it).

3. Modifiers

xsetwacom  --list modifiers

gives you the list of modifiers (keys really) you can set the parameters to. The modifier "PgDn" for instance will be used to set a button ("express key") to act as if you press the "PageDown" button on your keyboard.

4. Mapping buttons

With this knowledge, you can construct the following type of commands:

xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos Pro M Pen pad" Button 2 key "b"

The above example would set "button 2" to the key "b".

You can find the numbers of the buttons as follows. The mappings for all supported tablets can be found in the /usr/share/libwacom/ directory. There are text files in the main directory that use a *.tablet extension naming convention. The buttons for the Intuos Pro are designated with alphabetical labels where A=Button 1, B=Button 2, etc. The subdirectory located in /usr/share/libwacom/layouts/ contains vector image files that display a graphical depictions of the tablets and the button assignments. These *.svg files should be opened with Inkscape or another application capable of displaying scalable vector graphics files.

Note that these commands will have to be entered at every new login.

More info on xsetwacom on the linuxwacom wiki.

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    just a slight addition: if you want to remap the buttons to mouse buttons with kubuntu 15.10 this format worked for me: xsetwacom --set "Wacom Graphire4 4x5 Pen stylus" Button 2 "button +3" xsetwacom --set "Wacom Graphire4 4x5 Pen stylus" Button 3 "button +2" Dec 2, 2015 at 8:50
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    To add a further note to the previous comment, "button +1" -> left click, "button +3" -> right click, "button +2" -> middle click
    – tigerjack
    Mar 18, 2016 at 11:54
  • FYI, a more hassle free method of finding button names might be from a terminal window: xev | grep button. A small window appears, hover your tablet pointing device in the square, and push a button. The button name will be output on the terminal. Nov 20, 2021 at 14:22
  • Is there a way to set a tablet button to secondary click please?
    – Richard
    Feb 4 at 17:47

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