Wacom bamboo graphics tablet - software questions and suggestions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by thundersteele, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    After debating this for a long time, I finally bought a graphics tablet - a Wacom Bamboo connect for $80 from the Apple store. I'm still thinking about going for the $100 version - more features for a very small premium. Hardware and drivers work fine in OSX. Nothing to complain.

    I'm not a graphics designer or artist - my main purpose was to be able to take handwritten notes digitally, annotating pdfs and simple drawing to enhance presentations. Turns out that from all operating systems, OSX is the worst for these purposes.

    1. Keynote
    Keynote doesn't support free form graphics input. This was not the main purpose of the graphics tablet, but would have been an awesome extra. MS office on Mac has some support for free hand input, but not as much as you get on Windows.

    2. Built in software
    There is something called "ink" built into OSX. The thing that works is text recognition - however I have a keyboard on my mac, I couldn't care less about text input. That's about all that OSX provides.
    In comparison, Win 7 gives you a better handwriting recognition tool and the program Windows Journal which is a nice note-taking application.

    3. Note taking
    The main purpose. There are a number of native apps, but none of them seemed overly useful to me. The final solution was to install MacPorts and use it to download and install Xournal and it's dependencies. This app completely exceeded my expectations. It's not perfect, and it's not native, but so far it is the reason why I didn't return the tablet to Apple right away.
    I can only recommend installing Xournal. Installation through MacPorts on both SL and Lion works without problems. It takes a while since you have to compile a bunch of dependencies.

    I'm still looking for recommendations for other Apps. In particular:
    - native note taking apps
    - A quick and light drawing program that allows fast pdf export so I can copy stuff into keynote
    - free or low cost (<50$) graphics programs

    So far I have tried:
    Sketchbook Express (not bad, but very limited features, free in App store!)
    Gimp (I'm a linux person, but never could get into this program)
    Curio (this seems to have potential - I should give it some more time)

    I hope some of the information here is useful, and I would be happy to hear more suggestions about how to make best use of the tablet! Thanks
  2. mestokely macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2012
    Need Help!!! to install Xournal via MacPorts

    In post made in Oct of 2011, Thundersteele said you could install Xournal via MacPorts and use it in Lion to draw/annotate pdfs on a Wacom tablet.

    I've been buying software & trying & trying to do just that (with ZERO success), because I teach medical students & need to be able to annotate my lecture notes as I go & save them as pdfs for the students.

    I have a new Mac Airbook Lion 10.7.5, and a Bamboo Create tablet.

    So far, I've updated to 10.7.5, downloaded & installed XCodes 4.5, & installed MacPorts. Now I can't figure out what to do so I've tried three things:

    1. I tried to "find the port" on MacPorts, searched Xournal & got to a page that looks like programming code (please note: I'm a neuroscientist not a programmer, so I can't be sure what I'm supposed to do with this information & I'm scared to try pasting it in anywhere for fear I'll ruin my new Airbook).

    2. I went to Thundersteele's Xournal link & downloaded Xournal 0.4.7 from there & unzipped the file. But I don't understand their instructions either. I've read both their ReadMe & their Install documents & I've even tried to run their Install exe file (which opened a window in Terminal - which is scary for a non-programmer), but I don't have any idea what to do.

    3. I've even tried to see whether I could email Thundersteele directly via this forum, but it appears that I can't.

    Can anyone talk me through this installation so I can actually use Xournal?


    If you can walk (in baby steps) a serious neophyte through this please email me at

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