I just used a wacom tablet for taking university notes...here's what I think about it

I currently have a touchsmart tx2 tablet pc like the one seen here:

I have been using this to take notes in my classes for the past year or two - i write on the screen and organize notes using Microsoft Onenote.

However, I just tried something a little different last week: I used a wacom bamboo fun tablet for taking notes and found it works just as well if not better than writing notes on the built in screen digitizer because :

  1. you don’t have to flip the screen over to write
  2. you can switch between typing notes and writing equations/drawing diagrams pretty easily
  3. the wacom tablet is much more pressure sensitive and picks up strokes about 20% better than the N-trig digitizer in the screen.

Now the only thing I found difficult was that OneNote shrunk the pen size to about 2 pixels - using the screen digitizer I didn’t notice because I could easily see where the pen was. However I found a cool program called CursorAttention 1.3 that highlights the pen - so no more problems with losing it.

Before I got the tablet pc, I assumed it was really hard to take notes with a wacom tablet since its so tiny (4x6). Well, it’s actually fairly easy - if you can write on the lines of an index card, you can easily take notes on a wacom bamboo fun tablet.

You can also use the tablet for other things - like sculpting in blender/ sculptris and GIMP.

All in all, if you have a laptop already, a bamboo fun first gen (~$80) is a bit more cost-effective than buying a new touchscreen laptop (~$1000).

I’m surprised I haven’t seen or heard of anyone else using this wacom note-taking method before. I guess I’ll take some credit for this solution so… if you’ve got the tablet and laptop already… just get oneNote and go ahead and use it!

Edit : if you’d like to see some of my notes/ comparison between bamboo and n-trig digitizers, please mention it in the comments and I will see about posting some.

wacom to the party lol

get it waycom… welcome… -__- anyway yeah I dont use my bamboo for taking notes I just paint and sketch with photoshop, sculpting in scuptris etc etc ;D and yeah I took me about two days to get a handle on it perfectly, I had my for about 2 years, now it’s like “what would I do without you my precious” ha!

yeah, I’ve had my wacom tablet for awhile. It just got scratched up during one of my trips, and I kindof marked it off as “not-really usable”. However, it works fine.

wacom to the party lol
get it waycom… welcome… -__-
lol, that pun was rather flat.

anyway yeah I dont use my bamboo for taking notes I just paint and sketch with photoshop, sculpting in scuptris etc etc ;D
Yeah, reading here and elsewhere, it seems like there is some unwritten rule that wacom tablets can’t be used for taking notes…
it’s really quite a strange and untrue rule.
here’s a screen cap of my notes using the 2 different methods (writing on the screen using N-trig digitizer or writing on a wacom tablet). The notes are from physics and data structures - note: a few parts are missing - it was a scrolling screen cap… so that missing part looks fine in my notes :stuck_out_tongue:
wacom examples:


ntrig-digitizer example :

^^ you’ll notice the wacom one has more typed text - since I could switch easier.

er… I don’t really use mice, just a tablet for input…

but I have to say that I can type notes faster than I can scribble them on a tablet and then I still have to rely on handwriting recognition which whilst good isn’t perfect…

I know as far back as MacOS 10.4, maybe even 10.2, there was a writing recognition feature, and I used to mess with it but my handwriting is so bad it was more comical than anything. Seems like a paper notebook would still be best tho.

If taking notes is what you what, you could do it with much cheaper solutions, like Genius, iBall etc. Wacom Bamboo is still expensive for simply taking notes.

For drawing, Wacom beats the shiz outta contenders anyday.

$34. the price really dropped. I bought mine at $80.
I looked at the other ones mentioned- they require pen and paper to write on and are $75 and up.

Laptop Died:
Sadly, my HP tx2 tablet died two weeks ago (after a 3 year lifespan) from overheating due to running at “high performance” mode. I used it constantly for blender with high render settings , virtual machines, compiling, and other CPU intensive. it would get pretty toasty… and the battery life went down from 1 hr to a measly 10 minutes on a good day.
Laptop Problem:
The screen would work for about 30 seconds, then get static, then lines run across it, then screen splits into 8 segments, then the power shuts off - I’m guessing its the integrated graphics chip , not sure how to fix :\

What I'm looking for: I'm now looking for a new laptop or tablet I can use for taking digital notes. -one that fits well into a backpack, is relatively light, and has good battery life. I then plan on using evernote with the bamboo fun wacom tablet to take notes in class.

I was initially going to get the ASUS transformer prime 2, but they haven’t released the keyboard yet and the screen digitizer is touch only (no pen input) . The main reason I would like to buy it is battery life with the keyboard is ~16 hours

other possibilities:
I heard a bluetooth keyboard can be paired with an iPod touch or an iPhone to take notes on… possibly that could be used with dropbox and evernote to sync notes or something… that might be a more portable option and might be cheaper :smiley: .
I remember in high school I tried taking notes on an old palm pda and keyboard. Everything worked great except syncing it to the computer before the two AAA batteries died. technology has caught up a bit. Estimated time for an iPod touch battery is 40 hours. Syncing is also pretty easy through either iTunes or wifi.

Reason I’m continuing this thread:
I thought about starting a new thread , but came across this in a google search of “wacom tablet” and “taking notes” so I decided to continue where I left off since I’m back in the search for better digital notes.

Feel free to post a response:
if you have any suggestions to what laptop or notetaking option I might buy, please post below. :slight_smile:
also , if you have any other suggestions, comments, or otherwise helpful remarks about digital note taking , feel free to post as long of a response as you like.

Have your checked into Livescribe-pens (and the like) for note-taking? I’ve only watched reviews on youtube, but the technology seems to have some really neat tricks for getting info down and organizing it. It also has some Evernote integration.

Personally, I have never really used my tablets in “look at tablet with paper on top”-mode. And writing while looking at the screen… I guess it’s just another thing to learn, but at this point the results (and feeling) are just horrible. So that’s where my “tablets are no good for writing”-judgement comes from.

Another slightly random thing: Wacom tablets at my school’s Windows 7-computers had a slight but horrible lag when starting every stroke - this was the solution:
in the device manager, disable human interface devices -> Wacom Virtual Hid Drive.

Yes, yes I have. They require special paper… which can get expensive /disorganized - even if I’m printing it off from a printer, I still have to pay for the ink. It’s pseudo-digital.
I heard syncing was also a pain.

I used windows Journal and evernote… the process seems to work okay. :

oh, and I got a laptop (yay! ) - Samsung series 3 (3Lbs, ultra light, ultra thin) , 600 ish dollars. Battery life is great , price during christmas was good.
Wacom tablet works fine for sketching when I need it.

Wacom Inkling, our concept and storyboard artist told me it’s great, he likes it more than his A3 intuos:

I sooooo want the inkling :D… It was sold out when I made my last post. I have a bamboo fun and laptop instead. It’s a happy combo :smiley:

I’m looking for something that doesn’t need to do graphics, just take notes so I don’t have to take a yellow pad with me all the time. What do you recommend?


i recommend pen and paper.
all my piling notes are on small moleskin notebooks.
drawings and text.

no electricity, and travels with you anywhere.


I finally found a good way of using moleskins. add an index page so you can easily reference where you put your notes.

and yes, the great thing about paper and pen is that it doesn’t need batteries (and the paper has good pressure sensitivity)

I went electronic mainly for organization reasons. In high school, I had a note organizing issue where my notes were hard to recall (multiple notebooks , many pages of notes scattered between them). So In college, my solution to this was to get one of the few touchscreen computers on the market (Touchsmart Tx2) and use Microsoft OneNote with the touchscreen.

It’s my senior year, and I’m able to send notes easier if they are in electronic form. When it boils down to actually going back and reviewing the notes, OneNote works best (better than windows journal or evernote) since it has text recognition, synced audio playback, and a search-writing function. Also, the indexing mentioned above is probably the best way to recall notes taken on paper - number the pages, and jot down titles and page numbers of where notes are by category.

I found if it’s not a programming class, typing gets in the way of listening to the lecture. I also seem to remember better with drawing pictures and doodling with text rather than typing alone for some reason. If you’re in a lecture, my recommendation is to get a non-spiral bound notebook (moleskin,etc) - especially if you’re left handed like me so it’s comfortable - and take notes; Enjoy being unplugged for awhile (and save money).

Otherwise if you prefer trying electronic notes, read below :

My setup:
as far as a laptop:
I have something similar to the ultrabook :

  • it’s the lightness of a netbook while keeping some good processing power in there. (and the battery life ranges from 2-4 hours)
    I still have a bamboo fun, and it still works.

After experimenting with evernote, onenote, and windows journal, and microsoft word, onenote is way better at recall (which is the entire purpose of taking notes) than the others.
So yeah, OneNote works best, especially for physics notes - I remember having the tablet and being able to jot down equations fast. It was nice for recall/sharing information - especially when I wanted help online - just print to pdf and send for help
You could alternatively use a LaTeX editor like TeXStudioand MikTex to enter equations.

tl;dr : if you want a good recall system that doesn’t require batteries, use a non-spiral-bound notebook withindexing. If you’re in the mood for technology, then a useful setup is a 3Lb laptop with OneNote and a wacom tablet.

k, hope that helped somebody.

Yep… wacom is going to be the best bang for your buck.

I’m using XP-Pen Star 640 pen tablet. Currently I use OneNote for rough sketching and note taking purpose.

Have you ever used Huion?

Which one is better?