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Intended Audience

This document is intended to support web app developers who would like to add Wacom tablet-aware capabilities to their browser applications so as to support the acquisition and display of tablet pen and touch data.


The HTML5 Pointer events API is an open, industry-wide protocol that is defined by the World Wide Web Consortium: In this document "web API" refers to the HTML5 Pointer Events framework that can be used to incorporate tablet ink and touch data for the purpose of writing applications that run on browsers. The HTML5 Pointer Events specification combines touch, mouse, pen, and other inputs into a single unified API.

Using HTML5 Pointer Events, a javascript program can be written to detect and process input from any of these sources that will run on most major browsers. The concept of an HTML5 Pointer Events pointer is a hardware agnostic representation of input devices that can target a specific coordinate (or set of coordinates) on a screen.

Pointer Events Image taken from:

HTML5 Pointer Events provides support for pen data properties that include the following:

  • X, Y location
  • Pressure
  • X, Y tilt
  • Rotation
  • Pen tip and barrel button presses

HTML5 Pointer Events provides support for pen and mouse data events:

  • Down event
  • Up event
  • Move event
  • Hover event
  • Enter event
  • Leave event
  • Cancel event
  • Over event
  • Out event

HTML5 Pointer Events provides support for touch input (including multi-touch):

  • X, Y location
  • Down event
  • Up event
  • Move event
  • Touch ID

The very convenient thing about HTML5 Pointer Events support is that the user can employ either a tablet pen or the system mouse, and the app can almost completely handle either input device with the same app logic. Although touch handling does not have the range of properties of the other devices, it can make use of some of that same logic as well.

The Basics page has references to good sources of information on the HTML5 Pointer Events programming model with example code.

Types of applications you can write with Web API

The HTML5 Pointer Events supports the ability to create interactive cross-platform browser applications such as:

  • Graphics and rendering applications targeted for creative users
  • Signature capture applications for the business community
  • CAD-type applications that perform drawing measurement functions
  • Collaborative "whiteboard" apps with coworkers across the world

HTML5 Pointer Events supported tablets

All Wacom tablets supported by the Wacom driver are supported by this API. Get the tablet driver that supports your device at:

HTML5 Pointer Events supported browsers

The list of browsers that support HTML5 Pointer Events can be found on this site:

HTML5 Pointer Events sample code

A demo HTML5 Pointer Events application can be found on the Web API Samples page: Sample Code.

See Also

Basics - Details on how to start writing HTML5 Pointer Events applications

Reference - Information on the HTML5 Pointer Events API

FAQs - HTML5 Pointer Events programming tips

Sample Code - Full HTML5 Pointer Events demo sample

These sites also provide very good API overviews with even more programming examples: