Tips for Connecting a Cintiq 21UX to an iMac

Guest writer Macy Wong shares some tips and tricks for hooking up a Wacom Cintiq tablet to a Mac with a mini-display port (iMac, Mini Mac, etc). This is a must-read for anyone who’s been frustrated while trying to hook up a tablet (like myself!).

When I got my Wacom Cintiq 21UX, I was using an older Min-Mac. I had no problems hooking up the Cintiq because it plugs directly into a DVI port, which is what my Mini-Mac uses. It hooked up like a charm.

When my trusty Mini-Mac got too slow I realized it was time to upgrade. I’ve moved onto a new iMac and spent the afternoon busily installing all the doodads I’d need to run the Cintiq: Preferences, drivers, software, all that fun stuff. Finally it was time to hook up the tablet and get to work. The problem? My iMac doesn’t have a DVI connection, and the Cintiq doesn’t come with an adaptor.

First off, I bought a mini-DVI cable for the iMac. And I bought the wrong one. Turns out the iMac uses a ‘mini-display port’, which is totally different from the ‘mini-DVI port’ that I’d bought. Even my husband didn’t know there were 2 different kinds! The sales people weren’t much help either, they didn’t know enough about DVI cables. One of them even told me that such a cable doesn’t even exist! I was getting pretty frustrated at this point, as you can imagine.

To make things even more complicated, there are different types of DVI connectors. You can find out more here:

So here’s what you can do if:

  • You have a Cintiq 21UX (pre-2010 model)
  • You have a Mac with a mini-display port

1) Buy the right connector

You need to buy a mini-display port to a DVI dual link adaptor. A good one is made by Vivanco

2) If you can’t find it, you still have options

If you’re unable to find one of these, you can pick up a mini-display port to DVI-D Dual Link adaptor at the Apple Store:

You can use this cable along with the DVI-I dual link to DVI-D single link adaptor that came with the Cintiq, the cable with the two white connectors.

3) Turn everything off

Next, disconnect all the power to both your computer and your tablet. This is important! People have been known to accidentally ‘zap’ their Cintiqs by leaving their power on. If this happened to us, we’d be crying for weeks. So, please unplug everything!

4) Hook everything up

Connect all of your cables. Make sure your Cintiq is set on DVI mode – you can check by looking at the small buttons on the back of the screen.

5) Turn everything back on

Now you can power everything up. The Cintiq should show your desktop on-screen.

6) Update your drivers

Visit to get the latest tablet drivers. You could install what’s in the box, but odds are it’s out of date already. You will need to install the drivers in order to get the pen tool working properly.

7) Set up your preferences

Last but not least, on a Mac go to your System Preferences and click on ‘Displays’. Here’s where you can set up your monitor configuration and start adjusting your contrast, color and brightness.

Good luck, and happy drawing!

– Macy Wong


7 thoughts on “Tips for Connecting a Cintiq 21UX to an iMac

  1. don says:

    do you know which OS the 2005 Cintiq with the downloaded driver can handle?

  2. Wilbert Plijnaar says:

    Hi, I have the same hardware you describe and I did everything according to your instructions but at 5 the desktop never comes on. Cintiq menu says: No signal. What am doing wrong?

    • bortonia says:

      Hi Wilbert! I’m so sorry, but I actually don’t know what could be happening with your Cintiq đŸ˜¦ Have you tried contacting them for help? I unfortunately no longer own my Cintiq so I can’t do any tests at home for you đŸ˜¦

  3. Katy says:

    Hi, thanks for this! I have an iMac 27″ with the mini display port. I have just bought a Cintiq 13HD, do you think it would be the same adaptor I would need?

  4. amoraleite says:

    Thank you! đŸ™‚

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