Accessorize Hatch with a Pen and Tablet

There are many ways to make embroidery digitizing more fun – and adding accessories to Hatch can be a great way to have fun!  Today, we are talking about digitizing in Hatch with a pen and tablet.

Let’s start at the beginning. What is a pen and tablet and why do you want to try one?

We get asked those questions frequently.  First off, I am going to state clearly that you do NOT have to have a pen and tablet to work in Hatch, and not everyone finds it fun, too.  But aside from that, the pen and tablet can be a great tool for digitizing.

So what is a pen and tablet?  It is two pieces that you can use with any software on any computer (Mac or PC), and basically those two pieces replaces your mouse.  It’s a simple concept – you use your pen instead of a mouse – and yes, you must use the pen on the tablet or it will not work.  Does it replace your keyboard?  Not entirely – I have a tablet that has buttons down the side and a radial dial for more shortcuts – so it does quite a bit on its own, but I still use my keyboard, too.  Instead of clicking the mouse, you are tapping the pen on the tablet.  And it is FUN.

The idea behind it is that you can work faster, more naturally and be more precise with your work.  After all, we have been holding pens for a long, long time, right?  It may be a more “natural” feel to some people.   And did I say that it is fun?  Yes,  I think I did.

So move your mouse aside and pick up a pen and TAP your way to great embroidery.

It is not really that simple, yet it is.  The left click on a mouse is a tap on the tablet with a pen.  That part is very easy.  The difficulties (and frustration) start happening when you need to right click.  You need to either press a button on the pen and tap, or hover and tap, depending on what your tablet allows you to change.  Personally, I do not like the hover click because I tend to hover in the same place when I am plotting my next move – and then I get a right click and a menu pops up!  Super annoying, so I leave mine set at click the button on the pen and tap the tablet for a right click.  Try both ways, and see what works best for you.   There are many settings that come with my pen and tablet – you can find tune just about any detail that you can come up with!  I suggest leaving them all on default until you get the hang of using a pen, and then you can find tune details to make working with the pen easier for you.

People also always ask what is the best type of pen and tablet.  My answer is “I have no idea” because I really do not.  I have not tested out all of the different ones.  I have a pro level large tablet, and that is all that I have and that is all I can show you.  You do not have to get the same one as mine, there are tons of different levels, sizes and capabilities for each tablet – from one popular company, or from lesser known ones.  From what I can see with a quick search, you can try a well known brand name tablet for less than $100.00, and if you don’t like it or need something with more features or has a bigger tablet platform, you have not spent too much money!  I am a nerd, so I always go for the highest level, bigger is better and newest version of any technology, but you certainly don’t have to.

What can you do with a Pen and Tablet + Hatch?

Anything you can do with a mouse.  There are no limitations at all.  If you can click with a mouse, you can do the same thing with a tap of the pen.  It really is that simple and works equally as well as a mouse.

Does my software change when I attach the pen and tablet?

No.  Your embroidery software does not change at all, you still must do the same things as you always did, but you are tapping a pen instead of clicking a mouse.  Some programs may work better than others with a pen, and you may have to make some adjustments (for example to make some icons a little bit larger so they are easier to tap) but everything else is the same.  In Hatch when you click to start digitizing an open shape, for example, you click on the screen to lay your points down and then hit enter to finish off the object.  Same with the pen.  Tap on the tablet to place your nodes and then hit enter on the keyboard to finish off the object.  If you have some of your buttons programmed, and one of them happens to be for the enter key, then you can press the button for enter and you don’t have to use your keyboard.

I have done a quick introductory video on how to use the pen and tablet with Hatch, how to tap and do right clicks and how to hold your pen.  I show you the pen and tablet that I have and that I do use, and I show you how I use it, with a few tips and tricks for mastering the right click for curved nodes.  There are more brilliant features in Hatch that take advantage of a pen and tablet (freehand mode for example – you can DRAW on the tablet with stitches, it is really amazing), and we will show off some of these features in future videos.

click on the picture for the "introduction to Pen and Tablet " video

click on the picture for the “introduction to Pen and Tablet ” video

For now, hopefully, this explains the pen and tablet just a little bit more, and you might be encouraged or excited to try one.  Remember this, though – it took a while for you to learn the mouse, and it will take a little bit to learn the pen and tablet.   Be patient.  Practice until you get it right every time.  Once you do, it will also become second nature, just like the mouse is an extension of your hand, the pen will be too.

Have fun.  Doodle a little bit with the pen.  Play in Hatch and have fun with a pen and digitizing.

Until next time,

Happy Digitizing!



2 Responses to “Pen and Tablet + Hatch = FUN”

  1. gary says:

    hoe do you make icons bigger?

    • Susan Brown says:

      are you talking about making icons bigger in Hatch? you can right click on the grid icon, and under the general tab, there is a check box for SHOW LARGE ICONS. Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply