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How long does it take to get used to using any tablet?

I was hoping the medium bundle would feel intuitive right away, but I find it very clunky to use the tablet so far. Is that just because I'm not used to it, or is that a common reation?

The biggest problem I'm having is that the cursor (or current tool) jumps when I lower it to the surface, and then after that I have to move very slowly to draw where I want it to.

Also, I sure wish there was a button on the remote to toggle between absolute and relative positions. By relative I mean that it would behave like a mouse when you pick up your hand and move a short distance.

To be honest, so far I'm not sure I'll ever use any drawing tablet. That's not Xencelabs' fault, because the product itself works well and seems well made.

Someone please tell me my disappointment will be short-lived!

If you are new to using a digital tablet, there is a learning curve in getting comfortable with using the Pen and Tablet. One of my colleagues suggests that you Pen Tablet users practice by using Solitaire and games like that. They will help you build up your eye-hand coordination, and you will quickly get past the learning curve. At about the two to three-day point, if you are using your Pen Tablet on a regular basis, you will start to feel more at ease with it.

The key is you need to use it, and I suggest that you hide your mouse. I have not had a mouse on my desk for 15 years, I use my Pen Tablet Small for everything you would use a mouse for.

With that said, let’s move on to the Mouse Mode (relative position) versus the Pen Mode (absolute position) part of your question.

This is only for Windows platform uses: By default, your pen is in Pen Mode (absolute position), and you can switch it to Mouse Mode by opening the Settings panel and selecting Customize, as shown in the image below.

** Please note; when you use Mouse Mode, you will have no pen pressure - none.

Open the Settings panel and then select the [1] pen you are using from the left-hand navigation column,

[2] Then select Customize "your Pen."

[3] You can then turn Mouse Mode on. 

There is also a switch you can use that will quickly switch you from Mouse Mode to Pen Mode and back again.

This can be assigned to a Pen, Tablet, or Quick Keys button.

[4] Select the Pen you are using from the left-hand navigation column.

[5] Select the button you are wanting to assign the action to.

[6] from the button menu, select Tablet/Display.

[7] From this menu select Mouse/Pen Mode toggle. 

Thanks. To be  honest, I returned the tablet. I really wanted to like it, but a few hours of trying hard to like it confirmed what I felt right away: tablets just aren't for me.

And yeah, I know about Mouse Mode (although I didn't when I posted this).

I'm sorry to hear that, and it takes more than just a few hours to move through getting used to using a Pen Tablet. It is so different than using a mouse, and my guess is you have 1,000s of hours using your mouse, and only tried the Pen Tablet for a few hours.

I hope at some point you give the digital Tablet or Display another try -


Mike, I didn't expect to be flying with the pen in a few hours, I do get that there are things to get used to, and yes, I've been using mouses all day long for a billion years.

But for it to be worth the time/energy/$ investment just to be able to control basic point/click/drag GUI operations, I have to feel like it's going to add a new dimension to my artwork at the end of it.

It's certainly nothing to do with the quality of the Xencelabs product, and I appreciate your taking the time to help.

Yeah, tablets need like a month to get used to. There is a lot happening with the user when using a (non display) tablet.

  • Exercising hand eye coordination where you are not looking at your hands while drawing but rather looking up at screen. It takes a bit to get that relationship natural in your head.
  • (If you have two working hands) Getting used to the fingering of the pen buttons while your opposing hand is hitting modifier buttons on the keyboard/quick keys brick
  • Modifying your existing workflow to include the tablet, especially interesting when you have a multiple monitor setup
It takes another month or two to get comfortable combining these new coordination skills. (Understandably, not everyone has the same body and may have different physical challenges.)

Thanks. I actually had no problem with any of those, although I hadn't fit it into my workflow such as it is. My issue was just with the feel of the tool. I wanted it to give me more control for drawing lines or making selections than I had with the mouse, and I didn't see that happening.

On the other hand, everyone who uses a tablet says what you say - that it takes a while. And lots of people like them, so I'm probably an outlier.

It is hard to break away from what you have used for many years. If you are like most of us, while you are spending time learning how to use this new tool, your work keeps piling up. I get it. With that said, in the long run, it would pay off hugely in less hand fatigue and a more natural drawing style. 

Sorry to keep going on, but the artwork I do doesn't depend much on drawing. I just decided against trying to adjust, because the tool turned out not to be what I personally need (which is simply a mouse that's shaped like a pen to make it easier when I do want to draw or make very fine selections).

The thing is, I have zero hand fatigue after using a mouse literally all day long since 1985. I never intended for the tablet/pen to replace the mouse, just to augment it.

Thanks for posting that. Everyone has their own style of creating. It is not wrong. It is what you prefer. That is 100%. Options are what it is all about. 

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