Setting up a Wacom on Linux Mint 20 w/ Mate

image of Wacom pads

I recently got a hand-me-down Wacom pad from my dad. It's an Intuos 3, with four buttons on each side, a stylus pen and a mouse. As soon as I plugged it in to my laptop, which is running Linux Mint 20 with Mate as the desktop, it basically worked. I could use the mouse to navigate across my two screens and I could use the pen to draw.

There were some things that weren't working right, however. The buttons didn't do anything at all. The pad was mapped to both my screens simultaneously, so when I used the stylus to write or draw, I was squished over to one side of the pad. Also, the pressure sensitivity didn't work and the eraser function was nonexistent. 

Everywhere I looked for help with the Wacom pad said, "Just go to the control panel for Wacom or Graphic Tablet and you can change all the settings!" but alas, there is no control panel for the graphic tablet in Mate. The solution was to do it all on the command line and/or a script.

The tool to use to change your Wacom pad settings is called xsetwacom, and it should be installed out of the box. (If not, there are links below to figure out how to get it installed.)

xsetwacom --list devices 

will show you what devices your computer sees when you have your tablet plugged in to your computer. In my case, the list is:

sterling@dandelion:~$ xsetwacom --list devices
Wacom Intuos3 6x8 Pen stylus        id: 13    type: STYLUS    
Wacom Intuos3 6x8 Pad pad           id: 14    type: PAD       
Wacom Intuos3 6x8 Pen eraser        id: 21    type: ERASER    
Wacom Intuos3 6x8 Pen cursor        id: 22    type: CURSOR  


Next, I needed to use xrandr to find the names of my two displays

sterling@dandelion:~$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 3840 x 1080, maximum 16384 x 16384
eDP-1 connected primary 1920x1080+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 345mm x 194mm
   1920x1080     60.02*+  60.01    59.97    59.96    59.93    40.02  
   1680x1050     59.95    59.88  
   1600x1024     60.17  
   1400x1050     59.98  
   1600x900      59.99    59.94    59.95    59.82  
   1280x1024     60.02  
   1440x900      59.89  
   1400x900      59.96    59.88  
   1280x960      60.00  
   1440x810      60.00    59.97  
   1368x768      59.88    59.85  
   1360x768      59.80    59.96  
   1280x800      59.99    59.97    59.81    59.91  
   1152x864      60.00  
   1280x720      60.00    59.99    59.86    59.74  
   1024x768      60.04    60.00  
   960x720       60.00  
   928x696       60.05  
   896x672       60.01  
   1024x576      59.95    59.96    59.90    59.82  
   960x600       59.93    60.00  
   960x540       59.96    59.99    59.63    59.82  
   800x600       60.00    60.32    56.25  
   840x525       60.01    59.88  
   864x486       59.92    59.57  
   800x512       60.17  
   700x525       59.98  
   800x450       59.95    59.82  
   640x512       60.02  
   720x450       59.89  
   700x450       59.96    59.88  
   640x480       60.00    59.94  
   720x405       59.51    58.99  
   684x384       59.88    59.85  
   680x384       59.80    59.96  
   640x400       59.88    59.98  
   576x432       60.06  
   640x360       59.86    59.83    59.84    59.32  
   512x384       60.00  
   512x288       60.00    59.92  
   480x270       59.63    59.82  
   400x300       60.32    56.34  
   432x243       59.92    59.57  
   320x240       60.05  
   360x202       59.51    59.13  
   320x180       59.84    59.32  
HDMI-1 connected 1920x1080+1920+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 575mm x 323mm
   1366x768      59.79 +
   1920x1080     60.00*   50.00    59.94    24.00    23.98  
   1920x1080i    60.00    50.00    59.94  
   1280x768      59.99  
   1280x720      60.00    50.00    59.94  
   1024x768      60.00  
   800x600       60.32    56.25  
   720x576       50.00  
   720x576i      50.00  
   720x480       60.00    59.94  
   720x480i      60.00    59.94  
   640x480       60.00    59.94  
   720x400       70.08  

Now, I could set the stylus to work only on the HDMI-1 monitor with this command:

xsetwacom set "Wacom Intuos3 6x8 Pen stylus" MapToOutput HDMI-1

W00t! That did the trick. Now my pen can point anywhere on the pad and it's within the confines of the big screen I use for art, while the mouse uses the same pad space to navigate across both screens. 

The settings you put in with xsetwacom only last until the next reboot, however. They aren't permanent settings. So, I created a bash script that would run that command, and set it to run every time I log in to my computer. This will be useful, because as I find all the other settings I want for my tablet, I won't want to have to change every single one each time. Instead, I can just add the setting to the script and everything will get set automatically at login.

To get more settings, check out the documentation at the Linux Wacom wiki

I also highly recommend the YouTube channel Age of Asparagus to learn how to use your Wacom pad with Krita!

I'll be back soon with more settings and what they do.