Even Wordsmiths Need a Stylus

Even Wordsmiths Need a Stylus

What is a stylus mouse

Wacom stylus and touch mouse padYou probably know you can use a stylus on your iPad or touchscreen phone. There are stylus that work like a mouse for your computer, too. To make a stylus interact with your computer, usually you have to use it on a special mouse pad — the tablet part of the pair.

Artists are the most common users of stylus mice, as they use the fine tip and pressure sensitivity to draw and manipulate images.

Why use a stylus for your computer

  • To avoid repetitive strain injury — they need a lighter touch and no finger clicking.
  • To make precise marks such as proofreaders marks on a PDF.
  • To sketch art samples for the designer, for your art manuscript.
  • To avoid wasting your life finding then hauling the pointer around, because the surface is mapped to match you screen. No more where’s-the-mouse, drag-the-mouse-where-you-need-it, now click it, nonsense. Just touch the mouse pad at the corresponding spot and do your thing.

When my stylus was dead for that one week before I replaced it, I can’t tell you how frustrating I found the slide-slide-slide-slide-click process. Hours of my life, I tell you: gone!


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  • Genius pen mouse — This wireless optical mouse had great appeal because it could be used on any surface and cost only $50 with shipping. Sadly it is PC only and was so laggy on my Mac (with no driver support) that I started looking for ways to use my keyboard more.
  • Wacom pen+tablet+touch pad — Several varieties: from the small-surfaced utilitarian Bamboo at $70, to the huge screen-surfaced, makes-you-coffee-afterward Cintiq at $3756.
    The multi-touch gestures on this pad mean that you have, in effect, a dozen gestural shortcuts built in and about 15 customizable actions too. (video demo)
  • And a bunch of others I’ve never heard of.

What I use

desk setup of dual screens and touch/stylus pad on standing desk arrangemetnHaving just replaced my ten-year-old Wacom Intuos 3 stylus-tablet with 11 programmable buttons and 8×5” writing surface, I can tell you that I couldn’t be happier with the Wacom medium stylus+touch tablet. Now I don’t have to pick up the pen for every move; I can just tap my finger. I feel like a super hero. (If only the touch were mapped too. But it has gestures! With about 15 customizable actions! So I’ll deal.)

This new tablet cost half as much as the old one ($200). It still has 7 programmable buttons (or clickable things). It’s maybe a little too precise for me, or else I need to smooth out my writing more. The only place I write these days is on screen. My penmanship has basically gone all doctor.


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