Wacom Bamboo CTL460 diagnostics using xidump

I’m going to show you a program called xidump that comes with the Wacom driver.  I use it to view raw data from my Wacom tablet.

Some of the data you can see are:

  • Pen coordinates
  • Amount of pressure
  • Pen Proximity events
  • Button events

I must assume that you already have a working Wacom tablet and that you are using the Wacom driver from Sourceforge.  If not, see my previous post on the subject.  The current driver as of this writing is linuxwacom-0.8.7.tar.bz2

Go to the folder where you downloaded the Wacom driver source.  If you don’t have the driver source anymore, then download it again from the link above.

Extract the driver source.  The xidump program is already prebuilt, therefore you won’t be compiling anything.  It is ready to use.


$ tar jxvf linuxwacom-0.8.7.tar.bz2

$ cd linuxwacom-0.8.7/

If your system is 32-bit, then use the 32-bit xidump.


$ cd prebuilt/32

If your system is 64-bit, then use the 64-bit xidump


$ cd prebuilt/64

If your Wacom table it not connected, please connect it now.  List the available input devices.  If you have the CTL460, like I do, you will be using the device named “Wacom Bamboo 4×5 Pen”


$ ./xidump -l
Virtual core pointer           disabled
Virtual core keyboard          keyboard
Virtual core XTEST pointer     extension
Virtual core XTEST keyboard    extension
Power Button                   extension
Power Button                   extension
Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 extension
Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 extension
Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse  extension
Macintosh mouse button emulation extension
Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Finger pad    extension
Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Finger        extension
Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Pen eraser    extension
Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Pen           extension

Let’s run xidump and view some raw data.  If you have a different tablet than the CTL460, then you will see a different list of device names.  Determine which device name applies to your model using trial and error, if it’s not obvious to you.


$ ./xidump "Wacom Bamboo 4x5 Pen"

After running xidump, pick up the pen and begin using it with your tablet.  You should see a screen like the following in your terminal.

Viewing raw data with xidump

The picture above shows the current coordinates of my pen.  It shows the maximum values.  You can see that I was applying a pressure of 491, which almost half of the maximum pressure value of 1023.  The 01-DOWN event  means that the pen was touching the tablet surface rather than hovering above.  You can use this tool to test various pen and tablet features, while you are using your tablet with other applications such as Gimp.  When you are done, use ctrl-c in the terminal window to terminate program.

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