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Wacom tablets are auto-detected and natively supported on Debian.

Just make sure the following packages are installed:

* xserver-xorg-input-wacom : wacom driver normally installed by default.

Wacom devices Debian support list

Generally a recent tablet need a recent version of Debian to works. This is a table of some models known support:

Wacom model





CTE-430 (Saphire)




<!> Works using Xorg and not Wayland

Cintiq Pro 13




<!> Works using Xorg and not Wayland

Intuos CTL 4100WL KO-AX





Intuos Pro S




Works using X11, not tested on Wayland

Issues on Debian Jessie

On Debian Jessie it appears to have some issues with some devices: when clicking or dragging, the pointer will often shoot across the screen at random… In that case the best thing to do is to upgrade to Debian Stretch.


Graphical configuration on Gnome

On Debian Jessie and above you can use the Gnome settings to configure a Wacom tablet.

Using the command-line with xsetwacom

List the devices

List if the device is detected correctly:

xsetwacom --list dev

You should get something like this:

Wacom Co.,Ltd. Cintiq Pro 13 Touch Finger touch id: 13  type: TOUCH     
Wacom Co.,Ltd. Cintiq Pro 13 Pen stylus id: 14  type: STYLUS    
Wacom Co.,Ltd. Cintiq Pro 13 Pen eraser id: 15  type: ERASER 

Fix stylus pointer on the wrong screen

In case of stylus pointer get stuck on the wrong screen you use this command:

xsetwacom --set "14" MapToOutput 1920x1080+0+1024



In Gimp, there is a convenient window at 'File->Dialogues->Device Status' which tells you what input device the Xserver has found (see also xinput).

To make pressure sensitivity work in the Gimp, open the "Preferences->Input Devices->Configure extended input devices" dialog and choose stylus from the device dropdown. Then set the mode dropdown to the mode you'd like the table to use. *Window* means the tablet input will be mapped to the current image window, and *Screen* means the tablet will be mapped to the screen as usual. You can also change the axis.

For old version of Debian

On Debian Sarge

Check it's alive

To find out which /dev/input/eventX is which mouse, use 'sudo xxd /dev/input/mouseX' and move the pen or mouse. Use 'Ctrl+C' to quit.

    $ sudo xxd /dev/input/wacom
    0000000: 4276 1d36 0009 30b1 0001 0140 0000 0001  Bv.6..0....@....
    0000010: 4276 1d36 0009 30b6 0003 0000 0000 020e  Bv.6..0.........
    0000020: 4276 1d36 0009 30b7 0003 0001 0000 0418  Bv.6..0.........

The new wacom-tools package provide a udev rule that create a symlink from /dev/input/wacom to the appropriate /dev/input/eventX. If you do not use udev you will need to replace /dev/input/wacom by the correct device (/dev/?ttySX for serial or /dev/input/eventX for USB).

Add the new device to the X configuration

You'll have to edit /etc/X11/?XF86Config-4 as follow:

  • a) Add the following block after the end of the last Section "?InputDevice".

   Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier   "stylus"
        Driver       "wacom"
        Option       "Mode" "Absolute"
        Option       "Type" "stylus"
        Option       "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"

If your tablet has an eraser and/or additional mouse:

   # Settings for wacom eraser
   Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier   "eraser"
        Driver       "wacom"
        Option       "Mode" "Absolute"
        Option       "Type" "eraser"
        Option       "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
   # Settings for wacom cursor (mouse)
   Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier   "cursor"
        Driver       "wacom"
        Option       "Mode" "Absolute"
        Option       "Type" "cursor"
        Option       "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
* b) Find '''Section''' "ServerLayout" and put in the following three lines

    InputDevice    "stylus"

With the optional:

    InputDevice    "eraser"
    InputDevice    "cursor"
  • c) Restart the X server, and the pen should now function with pressure.


Debian Sarge now contains update in the kernel and xfree. However, it seems the Wacom support got broken in some kernel > 2.6.5. Later kernels (2.6.10, 2.6.12?) do not require patching. The tablet is recognized, but has troubles in X: when moving the pen, the kernel gets stuck in the upper right corner of the screen. More info about this found at https://www.ubuntulinux.org/wiki/WacomTabletIssue

Patching the kernel mousedev.c with the patch found at http://bugzilla.ubuntu.com/attachment.cgi?id=492 almost fixed this problem. The tablet was behaving fine as a mouse (/dev/input/mice), but could not talk to X through /dev/input/eventX (xidump was not working) In some cases it may be required to evdev to the hotplug blacklist.

On Debian Woody

See WacomArtPadII which describes how to set up a serial tablet on woody.