Note: We have stopped orders and production of the oStylus

User Guide for Owners of the oStylus and oStylus DOT

This user guide was written for the original oStylus, but most of it applies to the new oStylus DOT as well.

  • This is a drawing stylus, so pick it up like a pencil. Hold it lightly.
  • Make sure your screen is clean, free of dust, grit or sticky bits.
  • The contact pad must be flat against the screen. This is obvious with the original oStylus, but may take a little bit of practice with the oStylus DOT.
  • Don't let the heel or the palm of your hand or another finger touch the screen, or you will get unpredictable lines, or no line at all. (Some note-taking apps such as Penultimate or Noteshelf now have software that helps prevent this problem.)
  • right positionThe correct position for the contact pad is shown on the right.
  • Use the contact pad with the vinyl film against the screen. Think of it as a screen protector - but it's on your stylus instead of on your screen.
  • Don't use the oStylus upside down, where the top or the hinge part could touch the screen because it won't work that way and if you push really hard you might damage the stylus or the screen.
  • Don't try and draw with the end of the handle, or the edge of the contact pad.
  • Once again, hold it lightly. It's not a rubber-tipped stylus. It doesn't need pressure. Just let the pad lie flat on the screen at all times.

  • All the materials in the oStylus require little or no maintenance. It can be washed in warm soapy water. (Hot water may soften the adhesive on the vinyl.) It will not rust or stain.
  • The handle is anodized aluminum. Anodizing puts a clear hard coat on the aluminum. You can wash it with soap and water.
  • The contact O is stainless steel with a self-adhesive vinyl film. The stainless steel is maintenance-free. The vinyl is the same rugged vinyl used for bus and car advertising (which has a four-year outdoor warranty when used that way) so is tougher than it looks. We have been experimenting with prototypes using this vinyl for months and have never had to replace it. But people have asked "what happens when it wears out or gets cut?" so we put in a couple of extra vinyl Os in the box.
  • You can email us about replacing the whole contact pad, but if you think you can handle replacing the vinyl O, go to this page for illustrated instructions.
  • The whole O unit can be pried off the wires if you try hard enough. It is held in place by the spring tension of the titanium wires. If it should come off, you can easily put it back by inserting one wire end, then the other. If you lose it, please email us for a replacement part. Do not over bend the wires. Repeated over bending of the wires can lead to metal fatigue and breakage.

  • How you respond to a stylus will depend to a large extent on the software in various drawing programs.
  • Software determines the width of the line you're drawing, how the line begins and ends - blunt or tapered - and where the line is drawn compared to where you think it should be drawn. It can also determine line thickness based on the speed with which the line is drawn.
  • There are many drawing apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and all of them seem slightly different in the way they treat line thickness in an attempt to imitate pressure sensitivity.
  • We have tested the oStylus on many software apps. We particularly like Sketchbook, Paintbook, Adobe Ideas, Touch Sketch and TypeDrawing. We also like Noteshelf, Penultimate and iDraft for handwritten notes (see below).
  • Software that allows you to pinch in and out is great for detail work.

  • You can use the oStylus for handwriting on a touchscreen device. The oStylus DOT is particularly good for this. You will find, as with any new tool, that there is some adjustment.
  • Again, try different software to find one you like to write with. Vector-based drawing programs are often not the best for handwriting (such as Adobe Ideas) because the software changes the handwritten word into a more simple curved line. On the iPad we like Noteshelf, Penultimate and iDraft for the way they handle handwriting. Let us know of other programs you like.
  • Using a very fine line can look a bit jagged in some apps.
  • Some programs work better when you zoom in so you can write larger on the virtual paper, then zoom back out again to read the note. Some note-taking apps have a zoom box that moves across the page as you write.
  • "The stylus appears to be skipping, or not giving a solid line."
    • Make sure the screen is clean. Bits of dirt or grit can interfere with conductivity.
    • Pinch the wires together over the holes in the contact pad and rotate the pad, to make sure the contact between the titanium wire and the steel is good.
    • You may not be flattening the contact pad completely against the screen. You'll get used to it.
    • The heel of your hand, or a finger may be touching the screen in another place.
  • "Drawing a very small circle, the line is kind of jagged." This is a software issue and often happens when drawing very slowly with a very fine line when not zoomed in. Drawing this slowly with a finger you can still see this happening. Solutions:
    • Zoom in more.
    • Use a thicker line.
    • Draw the line more quickly.
    • Make sure the contact pad is fully flat against the screen.
  • "What if I lose the contact pad?" Email us and we will send you a price to replace it.
  • "What if I damage the vinyl film?" Replace it with one of the spares we sent you. Here's a web page with all the details of how to do that. If you've lost those, email us. [In a pinch you can use masking tape -- it works surprisingly well. Stick a piece on the pad after you've removed the old one. Snip the edges back with scissors. Poke a hole through the centre with a pencil from the bottom up and fold the ragged edges out of the way.]
  • "It feels odd to write with." With a few people it takes a bit of getting used to. Think of it like writing with a fountain pen with a wide nib. Make sure the O is flat against the screen; don't twist it so it's on edge.
  • "Can't draw right to the edge of the screen." This can happen when you have a case for the iPhone or iPad where the case wraps around the front of the glass and comes close to the edge of the touch-sensitive part. The edge of the contact pad gets lifted off the glass when it hits the case. We recommend a case that stays away from the touchscreen edges, or doesn't overlap very much (or no case at all).