Using older drawing tablets


Most often people use tablets that have been very recently manufactured - in just the past few years. However, sometimes people ask about using tablets that are older. In summary, the primary issue that determines whether you can use an older tablet comes down to tablet drivers.

My experience

As of 2023 I have used tablets that were manufactured 25 years ago on my windows 11 system. So it is certainly possible to use an older tablet with a modern computer for creative purposes and was able to use pressure and tilt.

Models I have specifically used with Windows 11:

  • Wacom Intuos 4 XL (PTK-1240) - using Wacom drivers and OpenTabletDriver. This tablet was released in 2009.

  • Wacom Intuos 3 12x12 (PTZ-1230) - using OpenTabletDriver. This tablet was released in 2004.

  • Wacom Intuos 2 12x18 (XD-1218-U) - Using OpenTabletDriver. This tablet was released in 2001.

Common reasons why people want to use an older tablet

  • They bought the tablet a long time ago but haven't used it recently.

  • It was a tablet that was gifted to them

  • They bought the tablet used - for example from eBay (more here: buying used drawing tablets)

Drivers overview

Drivers allow a tablet to be used with a computer. They are required if you want to use the special features of a drawing tablet and the pen such as pressure sensitivity and tilt. More here: drivers

Driver compatibility issues

Every time a driver is updated it may be the case that a manufacturer drops support for one of the tablets that the driver used to support.

For example today, if you install the latest Wacom tablet drivers and then proceed to plug in a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet, the driver will simply tell you it does not work with this tablet.

Driver options for older tablets

if the latest drivers do not work with the tablet that you have, then you have two options:


These days all drawing tablets have ports so the tablet is separate from cables and those ports are almost always now USB-C ports.

Some older tablets - for example the Wacom Intuos 4 XL - have permanently attached USB cables.If

Some older pen tablets that have ports, do not use USB-C ports, but instead micro-USB or occasionally mini-USB.

Some older pen displays use proprietary ports and connectors.


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