A graphics tablet (also digitizer, digital drawing tablet, pen tablet, digital art board) is a computer input device that enables a user to hand-draw images, animations and graphics, with a special pen-like stylus, similar to the way a person draws images with a pencil and paper. These tablets may also be used to capture data or handwritten signatures. It can also be used to trace an image from a piece of paper which is taped or otherwise secured to the tablet surface. Capturing data in this way, by tracing or entering the corners of linear poly-lines or shapes, is called digitizing.
The device consists of a flat surface upon which the user may “draw” or trace an image using the attached stylus, a pen-like drawing apparatus. The image is displayed on the computer monitor, though some graphics tablets now also incorporate an LCD screen for a more realistic or natural experience and usability.
Some tablets are intended as a replacement for the computer mouse as the primary pointing and navigation device for desktop computers.
Some graphics tablets incorporate an LCD into the tablet itself, allowing the user to draw directly on the display surface.
Graphics tablet/screen hybrids offer advantages over both standard PC touchscreens and ordinary graphics tablets. Unlike touchscreens, they offer pressure sensitivity, and their resolution is generally higher. While their pressure sensitivity and resolution are typically no better than those of ordinary tablets, they offer the additional advantage of directly seeing the location of the physical pen device relatively to the image on the screen. This often allows for increased accuracy and a more tactile, “real” feeling to the use of the device.