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AutoCAD Tablet Digitizer Setup


Setup Instructions for AutoCAD 12, 13, 14, & 2000
16 button AutoCAD offers two modes of communicating with the tablet: Tablet and Digitizer. In tablet mode, the digitizer's active area matches the current AutoCAD display window. In Digitizer mode, the active area matches specific coordinates in your drawing.

AutoCAD 2000-2011 supports Wintab-compatible digitizers. In the past, it supported digitizers with ADI drivers. Before installing a digitizer, check with the manufacturer to make sure you have the most current Wintab drivers. The driver software enables you to configure the number of buttons, motion speed, and so forth. The first button for both the mouse and digitizer is reserved as the pick button. Buttons are defined in the BUTTONS sections in the AutoCAD acad.mns file. Look in the sample drawing folder for a DWG version of the traditional, but now discontinued, plastic digitizer template.
AutoCAD 2011 Tablet Issue ***FIXED

AutoCAD 2010 User Documentation
Drivers taletworks

1. Tracing or digitizing coordinates to transfer a drawing into AutoCAD requires the free TabletWorks driver which can be downloaded here:

2. If you intend to set up multiple zones for a menu template on the tablet, you will need to purchase the Wintab 1.1 Driver from Digitizer Technology The driver is $65.00 with a 30-Day Trial Download. - Wintab 1.1

  cad_tabletDigitizing Tablets

You can use the puck or stylus of a digitizing tablet as a pointing device, or you can trace a paper drawing into a file. A digitizing tablet, or digitizer, is a peripheral device that can be used to trace paper drawings into a drawing file or to choose commands from a digitizing tablet overlay. With the Wintab driver, the tablet pointer can also be used instead of a mouse as a system pointer to choose menu items and drawing objects or to interact with the operating system. The tablet pointer can be a puck or a stylus. The digitizing tablet must first be configured and then can optionally be calibrated.

When the tablet is configured, portions of the tablet surface are designated as menu areas and a screen-pointing area. When the tablet is calibrated, it can be used to trace geometry from an existing paper drawing or photograph into a drawing. You can easily switch between using the tablet uncalibrated as a system pointer (Tablet mode off) or calibrated for digitizing a drawing (Tablet mode on).

autocad_tablet On. Turns on Tablet mode. If you want to digitize points into the program, you cannot use a fixed screen area. There is a one-to-one correspondence between the digitizer and the drawing when tablet mode is on (depending on the calibration). (Before turning on the tablet, you must calibrate it.)

Off. Turns off tablet mode and returns to screen pointing with the tablet; as if the digitizer was a normal pointing device (mouse). (You can press CTRL+T to toggle tablet mode on and off.)

Calibrate. Calibrates the digitizer to the coordinate system of a paper drawing or an image (for example, a photograph). After calibration, you can digitize points on a drawing or photograph as X,Y coordinates. You can perform calibration in model space or paper space. (Tablet calibration is effective only for the current session because the settings are not saved. If you want to continue to digitize after you restart the program, you need to perform the calibration again.)

Enable Digitizer Tablet in Options:
Current Pointing Device

Controls options that relate to the pointing device.

Current Pointing Device

Displays a list of the available pointing device drivers.
• Current System Pointing Device: Sets the system pointing device as current.
• Wintab Compatible Digitizer: Sets the Wintab-compatible digitizer as current.

Accept Input From

Specifies whether the program accepts input from both a mouse and a digitizer or ignores mouse input when a digitizer is set.
  Digitizing Old Drawings:
Generally digitizing is cheaper than scanning, and can be just as fast. Digitizing is also time consuming. Large drawings are difficult to digitize on a small digitizer. If you have much digitizing to do, get a big digitizer. Normally your tablet will be set up with tablet menus and a small drawing area. To digitize you will have to shut off the tablet menus using the TABLET command and CALIBRATE the digitizer. If the drawing or portion of a drawing that you wish to digitize is larger than the digitizer's active area you will have to create a match line.

To calibrate, you must locate two or three points on the drawing for which you know the coordinates in space. If the drawing is a ground plan, place the first point where the center line and the plaster line cross. That point will almost always be 0,0 (see the chapter on Ground Plans). The second point should be a good distance away for accuracy's sake. The back wall where the center line meets it is often a good choice on a ground plan. If you know that the back wall is 50'0" up stage, gently make a small pencil mark and write 0,50'0" on the drawing. These two points define a calibration line. This line could also serve as match line between the left and right halves of the stage house. A third point is useful if there is concern that the drawing might have stretched in one direction. Select the third point a good distance away at a right angle from the other two.

Tape the drawing down to the digitizer. If the drawing is small enough to fit in the active area of the digitizer, (see the section on Setting Up to Draw, above), tape it down so it fits. Do not be concerned with the title block and border on the drawing as yet.

To CALIBRATE the digitizer for digitizing, open a new drawing in AutoCAD. Type [TABLET] and press enter. Type [CAL] and press enter. AutoCAD will ask you to select the first point for digitizing. Carefully locate the puck's crosshairs over the first point and pick that point. You will be asked for the coordinates of that point. Type in the coordinates. In the example above you would pick the meeting of the plaster line and the center line. Type in [0,0] for coordinates. AutoCAD will now ask you to select a second point. Again carefully pick the other end of the calibration line. You will be asked for coordinates for the second point. Type in coordinates for the second point. In the above example, pick the point where the back wall and the center line meet. The coordinates would be [0,50'0"]. You will be asked to locate the third point. If you have one selected on the drawing, repeat the process for that point. Otherwise, press enter. The smaller and fussier the original drawing the more difficult it will be to accurately pick points off the drawing. When doing a ground plan, put SNAP mode on. Set the SNAP aspect to the assumed accuracy of the original drawing. I generally digitize a ground plan to the nearest 1/2" or 1". This will also help get walls that are almost straight on the print, straightened in the digitized drawing. If you have been given exact coordinates of certain elements, use those coordinate to enter the elements. Then double check the location against the actual drawing. Place the puck crosshairs over the element. The cursor should line up with the typed coordinates. If not, check the drawing with a scale rule.

Avoid using SKETCH to trace out irregular shapes. Sketch can create a lot of tiny lines which fill the memory. Instead, use lines and arcs. Alternatively, use sketch to capture the shape, and then replace small lines with longer lines and arcs wherever possible.
As the puck moves across the taped down drawing, it passes its relative location to AutoCAD. Neither AutoCAD, nor the digitizer are concerned with what the actual scale of the drawing is. You can be digitizing feet and inches from a metric drawing. If the drawing that you are digitizing is a fax or Xerox, the scale may be a mystery. As long as you know the location of two points on that drawing in AutoCAD's current drawing units, and as long as the scale is consistent across the drawing (a definite maybe, maybe not, for a fax or Xerox), AutoCAD will translate those coordinates to the drawing units that you have established.

AutoCAD also does not care which direction you tape down your drawing. If you tape it upside down, but enter the coordinates correctly, the puck will be moving down the digitizer while the crosshairs are moving up the screen. In the example of the ground plan above, you might have confused the XY coordinates and entered the second point as [50'0", 0]. Now when you move the puck towards the center of the back wall, the screen crosshairs will be moving to stage left. You will have to re-calibrate.

If the drawing moves, or if you remove it and put it back, you will have to re-calibrate. The digitizer does not know that the drawing has moved, it only knows where the drawing should to be.

If the drawing fits the digitizer better sideways, but is hard to follow when the puck and screen crosshairs are moving at right angles to each other, change the viewpoint in AutoCAD. Type [VPOINT]. Your starting viewpoint is 0,0,1. To rotate 90°, enter [-1,0,1] at the prompt. See if the puck and crosshairs are in sync. If the screen crosshairs are moving in the exact opposite direction, type in [VPOINT] again. Now enter [1,0,1] in answer to the prompt. By now, they should be in agreement. When you finish digitizing and want to get back to the normal strait up view of the drawing, type [PLAN] and press enter.

Calibration Example:
By using the TABLET command you can calibrate your tablet.
Use the CAL option; when prompted to Digitize point #1, click on a corner of a building. Give it the coordinates of 0,0. When prompted to Digitize point #2, click on the opposite corner of the building. Give it the coordinates of 60,40 (for a building 60' x 40', you'll need to adjust these coordinate values for the size of the building). Hit enter when asked to digitize point 3. Toggle the tablet on/off with F4. Be sure your pointing device is set to your tablet in Options/System first.

AutoCAD Tablet Digitizers