Options.txt: Improved Wacom Tablet Support in Ableton Live 8.0.2 + Entering Text into Kore2 and other VSTs


Better Support For Wacom Tablets in Live 8.0.2
For the past year, I’ve been using a Wacom Bamboo tablet as an alternative input device for a mouse. It works well with VSTs. However, in Ableton Live, the pen stroke length to move a knob through it’s entire range of values is too short.

In the recently released Ableton Live 8.0.2 update, there is a new improvement:

“Added an option for the Options.txt file to support Wacom Tablets. Adding the line ”-AbsoluteMouseMode” into Options.txt file switches Live into absolute mouse position mode.”

I just installed 8.0.2 on Windows Vista (32) and I am happy to report that pen control is now MUCH better. It takes a much bigger stroke to move a knob through it’s entire range. Therefore, it is much easier to move the knob to the value you want.

Options.txt Parameters
In order to enable this feature you need to modify (or create if it doesn’t exist) a file called options.txt. Live reads the parameters within this file on startup. As the 8.0.2 description indicates, this file supports a new parameter “-AbsoluteMouseMode”. Adding the parameter adds the new Wacom support.

I want to also mention another parameter you may not be aware of,
_EnsureKeyMessagesForPlugins”. Add this parameter if some of your VSTs won’t accept keyboard input when hosted from Live. Native Instruments plugins such as Absynth and Kore2 come to mind.

Adding Parameters to Options.txt

  1. Find/create options.txt
    The file resides in the preferences sub-folder:

    MAC: userxxx/library/preferences/ableton/live 8.x

    XP: C:\Documents and Settings\userxxx\Application
    Data\Ableton\Live 7.0.15\Preferences

    Vista: C:\Users\userxxx\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Live 8.0.2\Preferences

  2. Use a text editor to create or edit the file.
  3. Save the file and restart Live


Mark Mosher

Ableton Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

Mark Mosher • Audio/Visual Synthesist | Boulder, CO View All →

Artist site: http://www.markmoshermusic.com
Host of Sonic Encounters Podcast: http://markmoshermusic.com/podcast/.
Boulder Synthesizer Meetup founder and host: http://www.bouldersynth.com

12 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Very cool. Is it better for ergonomics or just a lot of fun to use a tablet?
    I might consider it… wait, never mind, I use FL Studio and it would be hard to use a tablet on all those tiny mixer sliders and knobs! lol, using a mouse is hard enough.
    I’m looking forward to making music on touch-screens. Lots of live performance and experimenting possiblities.


  2. It’s for both ergonomics and for workflow. I don’t use it all the time, just when I’m docked.
    I tried it with FL Studio and it works really well.
    The stroke length with knobs is just right. Step sequencing, keyboard editor and piano roll work very well.
    I think you could go much faster with the pen than with the mouse.


  3. This is a great tip. Works like a charm on my intuos and macbook.
    However on my PC which is running Win7, I can’t seem to find the folder to place the Options.txt file.
    Any ideas where to place it? I’ve got 2 cheap touchscreens connected to the PC that would work much better with ableton using absolute mode.


  4. yup found it… just needed to Show hidden folders, then it was in the same spot as Vista.
    Thanks, this makes the cheap touchscreen much much more usable…. especially in combination with Abletons new zoomable GUI.


  5. i’ve been using a wacom for years, and i concur.. it’s faster and much easier on the wrist.
    mark, i’ve been bugging ableton about the wacom issue since v1.0. thanks much for sharing the info!


  6. I’ve been using my wacom tablet (an old intuos model) for some years now and I really love it for working in music applications.
    I recently ran into the frustrating problems with trying to adjust knobs in Live 7, so this is really good to hear that 8 fixes those issues (or that there’s a workaround)…
    unfortunately, it will probably be a long while before I can upgrade, but at least the fix is out there. too bad they couldn’t do an bug-fix-update on 7 to fix that problem.
    unlikely, I know…. oh well.😉
    thanks again!


  7. Wow, thnx. This was really annoying and you fixed it😀
    I just hope Ableton will just build this in as an official option next time. There are a lot of tablet users I guess, and especially with the new Max for Live instruments tablets could very well become the next cool thing for musical instruments.
    I am building an instrument myself for school and using my Wacom touch seems like a logic thing to do… lolz


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