[Archives] Free Windows 10 Touchscreen App for Artists – Tablet Pro

Archives, Art, Game Development, Review

When I use my Surface Pro for art, I can’t or don’t always want to flip my keyboard out.  Maybe I don’t have room, maybe I’m drawing on my lap, or maybe I just don’t want a keyboard in the way of my screen while I draw.  This leaves me unable to use keyboard shortcuts, and while some programs (like Photoshop CC) have gesture controls for common shortcuts, most programs don’t.
I’ve been searching for a macro program, where I can program buttons on my touch screen to perform keyboard shortcuts.  After a few months of searching, I found a program called Tablet Pro that does just that, and it’s completely customizable.  Here’s my review:

Tablet Pro docked to the right of Photoshop

Pros of Tablet Pro

  • It’s free!
    It contains in-app purchases, including zoom support, controller support, and an “artist pad”
    For the use I’m looking to get out of it, the “artist pad” is what I’m supposed to get, but since the free version is so customizable I don’t know why I would spend $10 for something the app already does. 
  • It’s fully customizable! 
    When setting up your button pad, you can rearrange, resize, and rename buttons.  I have 11 buttons on my pad, and I can still add more.  You can also add modifiers like CTRL and ALT to buttons, letting you set shortcuts like CTRL+ALT+Z
  • It cleanly docks, resizing the rest of the desktop
    I cannot review how well this works on a dual-screen monitor, since I use my Surface on a single-screen setup, but the docking feature makes it incredibly easy to turn the app on and off (with the click of a small button on my taskbar) and not worry about rearranging windows.
    Tablet Pro supports left- and right-handed docking, and also has other window settings like top and bottom docking, a fullscreen mode, and a floating window.

Cons of Tablet Pro

  • CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT work unintuitively.
    If I want to use ALT as a color picker (like Photoshop’s default preset) on the keyboard I simply hold the button down.  In Tablet Pro, buttons like ALT, SHIFT, and CTRL are toggles – Press it once to trigger the “down” state, and press it again to “release”
    This isn’t a huge deal, just takes some getting used to.  The only thing is, I think the buttons work as they would on a keyboard in the $10 “artist pad” version.  This is the only benefit I see to the artist pad, and doesn’t seem worth the $10.
  • Some programs don’t dock well.
    When using programs with floating windows, like Graphics Gale, the floating windows do not re-adjust to the side-docking, and get lost behind the Tablet Pro menu.
  • It’s a Windows Store App
    This isn’t exactly a con by itself (the Windows Store is all well and good), but I’m not sure if they have a non-Windows-10 version.  If they do, great, but I haven’t found evidence of one, as it seems to have been made with the Surface Pro in mind.
  • It requires external installations from their website.
    This struck me as odd – I installed the app from the store, but I needed to download external support for mouse control from their website.  Same for gamepad support and zoom support, if you want those too.