Auxiliary input devices


When using a drawing tablet, you will often need to provide additional input to the computer. For example, press a shortcut key to change brushes.

Some tablets have built-in buttons and dials called Express Keys to perform that task. These express keys can be customized and even be configured to different things when you are using different applications.

But some tablets don't have these express keys or some people just don't like using them, so they rely on other input devices.

Drawing tablet remote controllers

Wacom, Xencelabs, Huion, etc. make "remotes" that essentially offload the work of the express keys to a separate wireless device.

Creative controllers

This is a very specialized category as it is intended for creatives and not gaming.


The device I use is the TourBox Neo. It looks like a game controller, but is really a fancy programmable keypad. More here: Tourbox

Clip Studio Tabmate

The Clip Studio Tabmate is an interesting case. It is is a controller that is built to work with a specific application: Clip Studio Paint. more here: Clip Studio Tabmate

Gaming keypads

Although they are intended for gaming, programmable gaming keypads are also popular for shortcuts.


  • Razer Tartarus Pro - Razer makes several models in the Tartarus series

  • Redragon K585

  • Logitech G13 Gaming Keypad

  • 8bitdo controllers


Streaming keypads

These are targeted at the streamer audience, but many use them for other scenarios.

ElGate Stream Deck

The most popular one to look at here is the ElGato Stream Deck. It has programmable buttons - each with its own customizable LCD icon - that are grouped into profiles. And with its Smart Profiles feature it can switch to different profiles depending on which application you are using.

I used one of these for a couple of months with CSP but I stopped eventually because the vast majority of what I needed was accounted for by the TourBox.


LoupeDeck controllers could also be used. There are several models available such as the Loupedeck Live and Loupedeck CT. I tried thesed in 2023 but felt their software was very difficult to use.

Tiny Keyboards

Keyboards are popular. Often you'll see someone using a much smaller keyboard than normal because it's easier to have around the tablet or it can be mounted to the display tablet or an arm. More here: keyboards

MIDI devices

Some people use a MIDI device with some additional software to translate the MIDI data to keystrokes as another way to enter shortcut keys and use dials.

See this video for an example: (


App-specific profiles - you'll probably want an input device that can map its inputs differently for different apps. In other words, you set up one profile for Krita and one profile for Clip Studio Paint. The TourBox has this feature.

Auto-switching profiles - Ideally the device should switch its profile depending on which app is showing on your screen. This way switch profiles doesn't require any change to the device. The TourBox has this feature.

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