Configuring A Wacom Bamboo Tablet For Lightroom (And Photoshop)
September 17, 2013
4 comment

Last week, I posted an article about using a graphics tablet with Lightroom. I wanted to follow up on that and cover a few tips for configuring your tablet to get the most out of it.

This post is Mac-centric, but the preferences are available on Windows, as well.


To start, be sure you have the latest drivers installed. If you have a Wacom tablet, you can download those drivers here. The driver bundle will also include a utility to configure and customize your tablet. For the Mac, the package will install a new Preferences Panel option.

By default, my Wacom stylus was set up to have the Pen Buttons set up for single and double-clicks, which aren’t very useful inside of Lightroom or Photoshop.

Lightroom Fanatic - Wacom Preferences - Default

Lightroom Fanatic – Wacom Preferences – Default

Fortunately, the preferences panel for the Wacom tablet allow you to map the pen buttons to provide additional functionality.

Map The Pen Buttons To Change The Brush Size

The most practical use for the pen buttons for me is to use them to adjust the brush size in Lightroom and Photoshop. To do that, I needed to map the buttons to the [ and ] keys, which are the keyboard shortcuts to decrease and increase the brush size.

To get started, select the Keystroke… option from the drop-down for the top button.

Lightroom Fanatic - Wacom Preferences - Keystroke

Lightroom Fanatic – Wacom Preferences – Keystroke

The next dialog that appears is where you enter the key itself. In this case, I want the top button to map to the [ key to decrease the brush size, so I simply enter it in to the test box and give it the name Brush Decrease.

Lightroom Fanatic - Wacom Tablet - Brush Decrease

Lightroom Fanatic – Wacom Tablet – Brush Decrease

Repeat the process for the bottom button, giving the key ] the name Brush Increase.

Lightroom Fanatic - Wacom Tablet - Brush Increase

Lightroom Fanatic – Wacom Tablet – Brush Increase

When you’re done, your buttons will be mapped for changing your brush size on the fly! As an added bonus, you are also set up for Photoshop!

Lightroom Fanatic - Wacom Bamboo Preferences

Lightroom Fanatic – Wacom Bamboo Preferences

Test It Out

Open up Lightroom, select the Adjustment Brush, and use the buttons to adjust the size of the brush.

For my model, the stylus needed to be near the tablet. So, if you have the pen far away and you don’t see the brush size to changing, try bringing it closer to or touching the tablet with the tip of the pen.


Now you can pry those bracket keys off your keyboard and throw them away!

Warning: Prying off your bracket keys and throwing them away will void your warranty.

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There are 4 comments

  • Mike says:

    You can use pan/scroll, with that button pressed move your pen up/down or left/right to control brush size. If you add shift to that you’ll control the feather.

  • Ine says:

    For azerty keyboards:
    Increase is: ;
    Decrease is: ,

    Hop ethis helps some people