Wacom Co., Ltd.
Industry Computer input devices and software
Founded July 12, 1983
Headquarters 2-510-1 Toyonodai Otonemachi, Kazo-shi, Saitama, Japan
Products Bamboo, Intuos, Cintiq, PenPartner, Volito, Graphire (needs verification)
Website www.wacom.com

Wacom Co., Ltd. (株式会社ワコム Kabushiki-gaisha Wakomu?) (English pronunciation: /ˈwɑːkəm/[1] (TYO: 6727) is a worldwide company that produces graphics tablets and related products, headquartered in Otone, Saitama, Japan. The American headquarters are located in Vancouver, Washington, and those for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in Krefeld, Germany. Wacom is a Japanese portmanteau: Wa for "harmony" or "circle", and Komu for "computer". Wacom tablets are notable for their use of a patented cordless, battery-free, and pressure-sensitive stylus or digital pen. In addition to manufacturing and selling tablets as separate products, Wacom also provides graphical input technology for some Tablet PCs, which it calls "Penabled Technology".


Market share

Year Japan Rest of the World Notes
2005 95.8% 70% For the number for Japan, "Survey by BCN Research Institute in 2005" is cited.[2]
2008 95.4% 86% For the number for Japan, Survey by BCN Research Inc. in 2008 was cited.[3]
2009 93.8% 85% For the number for Japan, "Survey by BCN Inc. in 2009" is cited[4]
2010 85.7% 85% For the number for Japan, "Survey by BCN Inc. in 2010" is cited[5]

Product lines

Wacom produces several lines of tablets, three of which are marketed worldwide. Most tablets are sold with a bundle of software such as Corel Painter Essentials and Photoshop Elements, which take advantage of the features of the tablet. Each is sold with a digital pen that is compatible with that model; digital pens generally do not work with tablets of a different product line or generation. Some of these pens include features such as additional buttons on the shaft or an "eraser" at the other end. Some tablet models include a puck (mouse) based on the same technology. Software drivers for recent versions of Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows are included with most models. All current models of external tablet connect to computers via USB or Bluetooth.


The Bamboo line is aimed at home users. Current models feature 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and a resolution of 2540 lines per inch[6][7][8][9] (1000 lines/cm). Most of the models have a 5.8 × 3.6 in (14.7 × 9.2 cm) active surface area, while the larger "Fun" and "Create" models have a usable surface area of 8.5 × 5.4 in (22 × 14 cm). The Bamboo One (no longer produced; sold only in Europe) was an approximately A6-sized tablet which used the same eraser-less pen as the other models but, unlike other models, featured no control buttons.

Bamboo tablets feature a battery-free pen (powered by the same EMR technology as the Intuos line), which can be used alongside finger swipes (in some models), with ± 0.02 in (± 0.5 mm) accuracy. The "Pen&Touch" model includes an option to switch orientation for left- or right-handed users.

In the Americas, there are three models currently available: Bamboo Create, Bamboo Capture and Bamboo Connect.[10] In addition to stylus-based input, "Create" and "Capture" models feature multi-touch functionality, with support for one- and two-finger gestures for such operations as scrolling and zooming. The "Create" model includes an eraser-equipped stylus, and additional bundled graphics software (Adobe Photoshop Elements 7, Corel Painter Essentials 4 and Nik Color Efex Pro 3).

In Europe, there are also three tablet models currently available: Bamboo Pen&Touch, Bamboo Fun Small Pen&Touch and Bamboo Fun Medium Pen&Touch.[9]

Bamboo tablets
Tablet Region sold In production multi-touch Active surface area Aspect ratio Notes
Centimeters Inches
Create Americas Yes Yes 22 × 14 cm 8.5 × 5.4 in 16:10
Capture Americas Yes Yes 14.7 × 9.2 cm 5.8 × 3.6 in
Connect Americas Yes No
Pen&Touch Europe Yes Yes[11] 14.7 × 9.2 cm for pen input[11]
12.5 × 8.5 cm for touch input[11]
5.8 × 3.6 in for pen input
4.9 × 3.3 in for touch input
Fun Medium Pen&Touch Europe Yes Yes
Fun Small Pen&Touch Europe Yes Yes
One Europe No No A6 4:3 Does not feature control buttons

^† As of October 6, 2011 (2011 -10-06)


Wacom Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet with pen.

Intuos is marketed to professional graphic artists, and features the highest specifications of any Wacom device. It has a similar feel to drawing on paper. The latest version, Intuos 4, is available in multiple sizes and proportions, and it includes tilt sensitivity and 2048 levels of pressure due to EMR (Electro Magnetic Resonance) technology in the Wacom pen. The Intuos line offers an unparalleled 5080 lines per inch resolution and comes in the following sizes (active area):

  • Small: 157.5 mm × 98.4 mm; 6.2 in × 3.9 in
  • Medium: 223.5 mm × 139.7 mm; 8.8 in × 5.5 in
  • Large: 325.1 mm × 203.2 mm; 12.8 in × 8.0 in
  • XL: 462 mm × 304.8 mm; 18.2 in × 12.0 in
  • Wireless: 203.2 mm × 127 mm; 8.0 in × 5.0 in

All sizes but Small feature 8 ExpressKeys and an OLED display next to them to show the function of each button. The Small sacrifices the OLED display and two ExpressKeys.


The Cintiq is a tablet/screen hybrid, a graphics tablet that incorporates an LCD into the digitizing tablet itself, allowing the user to draw directly "on" the display surface. The tablets are available in several sizes; a 21 in 1600×1200 resolution tablet, the 21UX, has been available for several years at various price points. As of November 2007, two new 12 in and 20 in widescreen models were released, the 12WX and the 20WSX, respectively. In 2008 the 21UX saw a major design revision and a price drop. It has higher resolution and more levels of pressure sensitivity than Tablet PCs, portable computers which offer similar functionality on built-in screens.

Cintiq 24HD (dtk-2400), announced September 13, 2011, 24 in HD format, 1920×1200 resolution, comes with an integrated stand, 92% Adobe RGB color Gamut (72% for the 21ux.)


Inkling, announced on August 30, 2011, is a new device that enables artists to draw sketches on paper that can then be converted into digital images. Inkling consists of a receiver, which artists insert any kind of paper into, and a special pen which uses real ink. As artists draw on paper, they are able to add new layers by tapping a button on the receiver. When the artist have finished their sketches, they can connect the receiver into a USB port, where the sketches are imported into Sketch Manager and can be exported to Photoshop, Illustrator or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, as well as various image formats. The device was originally due to go on sale mid-September, 2011, priced at around US$199/€169. However, its release was later pushed back to September 30, 2011; then again to mid-October, 2011; and then again to mid-November, 2011.[12][13]

Other lines

Wacom has additional products which it markets in various parts of the world. The "Graphire Wireless" is a 6 × 8 in (15 × 20 cm) version of Wacom's discontinued Graphire line (largely replaced by the Bamboo) which communicates with the computer via Bluetooth rather than a USB cable. It remains available in the Americas. The Graphire digital pen is interchangeable with the original Bamboo model's digital pen but not later Bamboos. In Europe, Wacom offers the "Colorelli", a tablet and software package marketed as a creative outlet for children; "JustWrite Office" a basic tablet for capturing written input in office applications; the "PL Series", similar in function to the Cintiq but with more modest specifications suited for office use; and the "Signature Tablet", a monochrome display/tablet for capturing signatures.


Previous products from Wacom included the ArtZ, ArtZ II, ArtPad, ArtPad II, Digitizer, Digitizer II, Favo, UltraPad, Graphire through Graphire4, Intuos through Intuos3, 15-, 17- and 18-inch Cintiqs, Volito, and PenPartner. Early models used RS-232 and Apple serial connectors, with a conversion to USB in later models.


Several Wacom models, including the Intuos4 and Bamboo, have been criticized for the drawing surface's roughness, which rapidly wears down nibs and can result in uneven wear patterns, leaving slick and non-slick areas. Fortunately, being made of nothing more than plastic, nibs can be replaced by a short length of nylon 'wire' (approx 0.065 inches or 1.7mm diameter) like that found in grass trimmer or 'weed-eater' refills, suitably straightened out by hand and smoothed (rounded off) at one end with abrasive paper.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

The Intuos 4 surface sheet was revised in October 2010 to reduce nib wear. Wacom Europe sells a bundle that includes the revised surface sheet and replacement nibs at a reduced price for installation in existing Intuos 4 tablets.[21]


Wacom supplies drivers for contemporary versions of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. The driver package includes a control panel which allows extensive customization of how the tablet and pen work with the host OS.

The Linux Wacom Project produces drivers for Linux/X11, and is maintained by a Wacom employee.

ThinkyHead Software publishes the free TabletMagic driver package. TabletMagic is a driver for discontinued (serial port) Wacom tablets for use on modern Apple Macintosh computers under the Mac OS X operating system. A USB-to-serial port adapter is required. (OS X open source drivers for many such adapters are available from Source Forge.) Not all original functions of the tablet are supported by TabletMagic, but most basic functions are retained.


Wacom tablets use a patented electromagnetic resonance technology.[22] Since the tablet provides power to the pen through resonant coupling, no battery or cord is required for the pointing device. As a result, there are no batteries inside the pen (or the accompanying puck), which makes them slimmer.

Under the tablet's surface (or LCD in the case of the Cintiq) is a printed circuit board with a grid of multiple send/receive coils and a magnetic reflector attached behind the grid array. In send mode, the tablet generates a close-coupled electromagnetic field (also known as a B-field) at a frequency of 531 kHz. This close-coupled field stimulates oscillation in the pen's coil/capacitor (LC) circuit when brought into range of the B-field. Any excess resonant electromagnetic energy is reflected back to the tablet. In receive mode, the energy of the resonant circuit’s oscillations in the pen is detected by the tablet's grid. This information is analyzed by the computer to determine the pen's position, by interpolation and Fourier analysis of the signal intensity. In addition, the pen communicates other vital information, such as pen tip pressure, side-switch status, tip vs. eraser orientation, and the ID number of the tool (to differentiate between different pens. mice, etc.). For example, applying more or less pressure to the tip of the pen changes the value of the pen's timing circuit capacitor. This signal change can be communicated in an analog or digital method. An analog implementation would modulate the phase angle of the resonant frequency, and a digital method is communicated to a modulator which distributes the information digitally to the tablet. The tablet forwards this and other relevant tool information in packets, up to 200 times per second, to the computer.


  1. ^ "Wacom Asia Pacific | Vista". http://www.wacom-asia.com/vista/index.html. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  2. ^ "FAQs". Wacom. Archived from the original on 2007-10-05. http://web.archive.org/web/20071005131703/http://www.wacom.com/ir/faq.html. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  3. ^ "FAQs". Wacom. http://www.wacom.com/ir/faq.html. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  4. ^ "FAQs". Wacom. http://www.wacom.co.jp/corporate/en/ir/faq.html. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  5. ^ "FAQs". Wacom. http://www.wacom.co.jp/corporate/en/ir/faq.html#24. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  6. ^ "Bamboo Create". Wacom. http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Bamboo/~/link.aspx?_id=2E1CA7204E054F39B37D9F404B5C593D&_z=z. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Bamboo Connect". Wacom. http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Bamboo/~/link.aspx?_id=877DF9CCA96144F0BA0332CED36EF468&_z=z. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Bamboo Capture". Wacom. http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Bamboo/~/link.aspx?_id=1D60C6DDB67A4A01B79A81AD39C3EDB5&_z=z. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Compare Bamboo tablets". Wacom Europe GmbH. http://www.wacom.eu/index2.asp?pid=9240&spid=8&lang=en. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bamboo Tablets". Wacom. http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Bamboo/BambooTablets.aspx. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c "Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch Graphics Tablet Peripheral review - Trusted Reviews". Trusted Reviews. January 23, 2009. http://www.trustedreviews.com/Wacom-Bamboo-Pen---Touch-Graphics-Tablet_Peripheral_review. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  12. ^ posted on August 30th, 2011 (2011-08-30). "Wacom’s Inkling Captures What You Draw On Paper Digitally (Amazing Video)". TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/30/wacom-inkling/. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  13. ^ "Wacom eStore > Inkling > Inkling > Inkling". Eu.shop.wacom.eu. http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/Inkling/Inkling?c=69138. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Wacom Forum - Wacom Europe GmbH • View topic - Intuos4 nibs flattening quickly". Forum.wacom.eu. http://forum.wacom.eu/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1438. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  15. ^ "ImagineFX - Wacom nibs". Community.imaginefx.com. http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/thread/283298.aspx. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  16. ^ "Sijun Forums :: View topic - Wacom Tablets". Forums.sijun.com. http://forums.sijun.com/viewtopic.php?t=42287&sid=38fc86b8bc5f5881a0020f4702db30f0. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  17. ^ "deviantART Forum: wacom bamboo pen nibs". Forum.deviantart.com. http://forum.deviantart.com/hardware/general/1041727/?offset=30#comments. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  18. ^ "How long should a Wacom Intuos3 pen nib last? - GFXartist.com - Served over 20,000,000 artworks". GFXartist.com. http://www.gfxartist.com/community/forum/145515. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  19. ^ "Wacom Bamboo Owners: How's Your Nib?". Graphicssoft.about.com. http://graphicssoft.about.com/b/2009/02/03/wacom-bamboo-owners-hows-your-nib.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  20. ^ "Intuos4 vs Intuos3 nib question - ConceptArt.org Forums". Conceptart.org. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=155410. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  21. ^ "Wacom eStore". http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/Spare-parts-and-accessories/Intuos4/Surface-overlay-for-Intuos4-L-PTK-840?c=68865. 
  22. ^ "United States (expired) Patent US4878553 describing the technology" (pdf). Freepatentsonline.com. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4878553.pdf. Retrieved 2011-10-06. 

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