A stylus and table X-Y data input system for a video display system. The pen includes an optical styling having a suitable pickup mechanism and the tablet is passive in nature and provides direct digitized data readout. Absolute positional information is encoded in binary form in the tablet in such a fashion that the pen position upon the tablet is automatically determinable by illuminating a particular area of the tablet and reading off the digitized X-Y coordinate data stored therein. The pen and supporting hardware/software are rotationally insensitive so that the pen may be held in any desired position comfortable to a user. The system provides greatly improved resolution, sampling rate accuracy and general robustness particularly for such applications as text recognition as well as a wide variety of other graphical input uses.