Pen-Pressure Sensitivity Not Working in SAI

13 min read

Deviation Actions

amiriteC's avatar

I'll talk a little first. 

  • What is pen sensitivty? Well basically,
    9 by amiriteC
    It allows you to vary the width of your pen strokes with how much pressure you apply to it, and almost essential to digital art.
    You can notice tapered ends to the strokes with pen pressure but the same width in the strokes without. 

  • Please don't forget to install/update your driver! It is NOT optional! Please install it. You should be able to find your drivers online easily by doing a simple google search of your tablet model + "driver". (ALSO NOTE: Yes, you NEED to have a pen tablet in order to use pen pressure. It is 100% necessary!!! The brand does not matter, but the most popular is Wacom. You can find super cheap small second hand tablets on ebay if you want to start out small, and if you draw a lot, it is definitely worth the investment.)   

    Common tablet brands and the link to their list of drivers:
    - Wacom drivers: link
    - Genius drivers: link
    - Huion drivers: link

  • If you have a pen that came with your tablet computer I can not help you. I have no idea how those work or what the drivers are for that. Please look up a separate tutorial for those. 

  • For reference a lot of the time I'll refer to using Wacom tablets, but unless I specify that the solution is Wacom specific, it shouldn't matter what brand of tablet you have.

Before we get into the actual solutions I've discovered...

Remember to do the BASIC UNIVERSAL fixes first! By that, I mean...
    - Restart your computer (PLEASE DO THIS. It fixes like 94% of all problems)
    - Close and re-open SAI
    - Re-install SAI
    - Install and re-install your driver
    - Make sure you HAVE a driver installed
    - Unplug and plug your tablet back in

If these DO NOT WORK, then please, carry on.

1. Your Brush Settings in SAI

Sometimes something has happened and boom, your pen sensitivity doesn't work and your driver is working completely fine. Take a look at your brush settings. These things right here:
1 by amiriteC 
Now specifically, look at the part that says Min Size. That bar shouldn't be at 100%. 0% will give you absolute pen pressure, but some artists like to move that level around a bit. But basically, if you're looking for pen pressure, and are not getting it, take a look and make sure the Min Size bar is NOT at 100%. 
Personally I've never had this problem, as my settings don't often change on their own unless I mess around a bit too much with my SAI files in its folder, but who knows, apparently this has solved a few people's issues.

2. Your "Click Detection Pressure" Settings in SAI

This seems to be the most common issue with pen pressure in SAI. Open up SAI and in the menu bar at the top go to Other (O) > Options (O)...
 2 by amiriteC
This window should pop up:
3 by amiriteC
Now click on Digitizer Support
4 by amiriteC5 by amiriteC

There your Click Detection Pressure bar setting should be at 0 to receive absolute pen pressure. If it's already at 0, set it to 100, then click okay. Then go back, set it back to 0, and now try pen pressure. It should be working. You can also try closing and reopening the program before resetting it back to 0. 
This also was never a problem of mine, but apparently it was for a lot of other people, so it's a good idea to put it here I guess. There are other deviantART tutorials talking about this so I think I'll end it here. 

3. Tablet Drivers and Tablet Hardware

Talked about this a little in the beginning, but make sure your tablet driver is up to date and functioning properly. Also make sure the driver is actually installed. Drivers are not an optional part of the tablet if you want it to function properly. The drivers are free to download on their website (remember, I've linked it above) so there's not much reason not to have one. It's possible that your driver has for some reason uninstalled itself (computers are witches sometimes) so double check to make sure its there!

Usually when SAI pen sensitivity isn't working I'll try it out in other programs to make sure that it's fine. Sometimes re-installing the entire driver helps as well. Also try out your tablet on other computers to see if the tablet lies in itself. Make sure the nib isn't worn out and if it is replace it. Make sure that the actual tablet isn't broken as well, if it is you might need to get it fixed or have to replace it... blah blah blah, I can't really say much more but you can Google tutorials or help and/or ask a friend. 

Oh and don't forget to try to unplug the tablet and then plug it back in! Sometimes just a manual restart is what it takes to keep it going, including closing and reopening SAI. 

4. Wacom Tablet Preferences

This has almost ALWAYS been my issue. It is ridiculous.
NOTE: This is a WACOM tablet SPECIFIC method!! I have no idea what other tablets are like and so do NOT know the solutions to those. I'm so sorry. 
It has caused pen sensitivity to not work ONLY IN SAI as well, pen sensitivity not to work in general, and more the entire tablet just to screw around as well. I shall explain.

  • Go to Control Panel > View Devices and Printers. 
  • Now find your tablet and right click on it. You should see a drop-down list and at the top there should be Wacom Tablet Properties and below it Wacom Tablet Preference File Utility. These two are important. 
6 by amiriteC

You've probably already seen the Wacom Tablet Properties window, as you've probably used it to decide some settings for yourself.
7 by amiriteC

You wanna know something? These exact settings sometimes screw you up and make it so your pen pressure doesn't work at all. I don't know why, I don't know how, but they do and its god annoying. Like FIX IT WACOM, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US. But there's a way to fix that. 
  • Go to Wacom Tablet Preference File Utility
8 by amiriteC
  • This above window should pop up. Under All User Preferences click Remove
Your pen sensitivity should work again! It always has for me. But problem, all your preferences are gone! In other words, that means all the changes you made in the Wacom Tablet Properties are gone. This especially sucks for some people with very specific settings, such as myself, where I use dual monitors but only want my tablet to work in a single monitor. I have good news and bad news.
Good news, even though you had to remove your preferences, you can put them back. You can go back to Wacom Tablet Properties and set all your changes back manually and your pen sensitivity should be fine for a while. 
Bad news, pen sensitivity after a while might drop again, and you'll have to remove your settings once again. This gets tedious and annoying especially for those who make a lot of changes. But I have another solution.
  1. Notice how in the Wacom Tablet Preference File Utility, under My Preferences, there is a option that says "Backup..."? Use that once you have removed and then put back all your preferences in the. Wacom Tablet Properties window! It will back up all your preferences in one small file. 
  2. Save that file somewhere on your computer (somewhere where you'll remember it). 
  3. When you're forced to remove your preferences once again, go back to the Wacom Tablet Preference File Utility window, click restore, and then locate and double-click on the back up file. All your settings will be restored AND pen sensitivity will continue to work. 

This is a bit annoying but I found it's very fast and efficient compared to the alternate. Also bear in mind, sometimes your back up won't work. It sucks a lot, but when I upgraded and changed my small tablet to my medium, SAI didn't work my pen pressure and my back up didn't help it. I removed my settings and restored them, but the backup kept leading the pen pressure to stop working in SAI, so I was forced to redo them manually and back up once again.
This was only once and that's when I changed tablets though, so I don't know if it's a recurring problem or not, but I'm personally not too worried.
This method has always solved my personal pen pressure settings. Nothing else has fixed my problem like this has. 

5. Plug and Unplug with you canvas open

This method hasn't personally worked for me , but it has for Didule (thank you!)
Unplug you tablet, open SAI, then open a new canvas (or the canvas/drawing you're currently working on), then plug your tablet back in.
Hasn't worked for me, but it worked for someone!

6. Your "Misc" settings in SAI

This method has actually worked for me (No.4 was my holy grail go to, but this worked for me yay!) and RonTheWolfwas kind enough to share it with me! (Thank you!)
So first, find your source folder for SAI (when you downloaded SAI, you had a folder, right? Go find it and open it!)
Now, find a file that says misc. (you're going to have to do open that file and do some changes, so if messing with things makes you nervous, feel free to make a copy of it before any changes were made and put it somewhere safe)

Immediately upon opening it, it should look something like this:

Now near the very bottom it says "TabletMouseSimulation = 1"
And it SHOULD say that! If it says 0, then change it to 1 !

7. Previous Drivers that were Uninstalled, but not Eradicated from your Computer

(Thanks so much kartos!!)
This isn't a problem I ran into, but for a specific reason, and I'll explain why at the end. 

So basically (this applies to nearly all programs btw) even when you uninstall something, it can leave behind pesky files that are hidden beneath layer and layer of folders. Most of the time, these files don't cause many issues, but sometimes, they do. This can happen when you uninstall a wacom driver, and wow it's annoying. 

So to get rid of these files...
1. Uninstall your current Wacom driver (a reboot isn't all that necessary, but do it if you need to).
2. Make sure SAI and other drawing programs are closed. 
3. Open up your C:Drive 
4. Open up Program Files, and find any folders that say "Wacom" or "Tablet" (but if you have a tablet computer, make sure these folders are not related to that!!) and delete all of it!
5. Reinstall your wacom driver
6. Reboot entire computer
7. Open SAI and test if your pen pressure works!

The reason why I've never dealt with this is because I use an un-installation program called "REVO Uninstaller" and I have the option to do a deep thorough cleaning of all related files when I uninstall something, so I don't have residual files. This is handy when you accidentally install a program that brings all sorts of shit into your computer (toolbars, popups, changing your search engine to bing or whatever) and it just removes everything related. It's great! But I understand people don't want to install a program to uninstall things, so just do the above clean now and then, and you'll be fine!

8. Restarting Wacom Professional Services

This method was provided by Yumiandava (Thank you so much!!)
1. Click on Start (or press the windows key on your keyboard)
2. Search for "Services" and then click on it (it should just say Services). A window should pop up with a list of services.
3. Scroll through the list until your find one that says "Wacom Professional Services"
4. Click on it, and then to the left, there should be two options to either STOP or RESTART the service. You can click either other, but if you stop the service, make sure to remember to start it up again!

And that should do it!

9. Maybe Paint Tool SAI just doesn't like you

Okay, no, but seriously, if you have a pirated/unpaid for copy of SAI, it's possible that karma is biting you back in the butt, illegal versions of programs never guarantee proper function and won't always properly work. It is always best to actually buy a copy so that if something doesn't work, you can go to their official website to report issues and/or ask for their help at their Information Desk. So perhaps its a good idea to go to their site and buy their Software License.


If you're still experiencing issues then my greatest apologies :( Maybe youtube will be able to help you or another user. Unfortunately due to my decreased amount of time since starting university I won't be responding to comments anymore. I'm really sorry about that. If I see/find a new solution then I'll try and add it, and if you'd like to add one, feel free to PM me. It may take a while, but I'll probably get around to it. 

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I really do wish everyone the best of luck, and I hope that all your pen pressure issues are solved. Good luck, and happy drawing!
© 2015 - 2021 amiriteC
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
dongphuchaitrieu's avatar

Thank you, you're my life saver!

PeppyBunnyYT's avatar


Chippy95's avatar

I have been trying to fix this issue for over a year. I have SAI on my laptop and my PC. I have a wacom tablet for my pc. But I want to use my laptop because it is touch screen and I can use my pen. No matter what I do, pen pressure will not work. I tried all of these, I have the official download of SAI. Nothing worked. But I know it's not the pen because I downloaded the trial for Clip Studio Paint (which I would use but Im very intimidated by it) and it works there. If someone can help, it would be appreciated. I'm about ready to give up. Tbh I feel like SAI does not like this pen because my wacom tablet works on my laptop. I really dont know what's wrong...

Ooha's avatar

liiiife saaaaver

that worked tysm <3

JuneFanarts's avatar

how about painttool sai 2? pen pressure wasnt working

Shrewbiez's avatar

Ahh, thank you! I panicked a bit when my pen pressure wasn't working only to find out my brush settings were changed somehow. Thanks again

wulunch's avatar

ahhh tysm !! ive been struggling to draw due to unmotivation and my pen pressure not working

i got it by step 3 and just tested it out ! everything ran smooth

i think the tablet driver was the issue cause once i downloaded it/rebooted my pc it worked on sai :)

hi i got that paint tool sai ver.2 but the problem is that the menu is kindoff different and im not that person that mess around with the setting so please help me out :) :)

AnimeRemix503's avatar

Any advice for if the cursor won't move? Like it won't move from the taskbar when I run it, when I uninstall the tablet driver (I use veikk) it works but there's no sensitivity to it

bloodburial's avatar
sai is a very glitchy/buggy software when it comes to tablets like veikk and xp pen, so honestly you're better off finding a different art software, i've been messing with sai settings trying to get it to work on my new xp pen tablet for ages (redownloaded drivers several times, several restarts/redownloads of sai and the pen pressure is still lost to the abyss)
Solaresque's avatar

That's a whole ass vibe. I got an XP Pen tablet and it worked with Sai the first time I used it. Now it's just a pain in the ass. I had to change my Misc setting to get the cursor to be noticed at all, but pen pressure's just not working for some damned reason.

If you learn/learned how to fix the issue, please let me know how.

bluwish's avatar
All of these didn't work for me, but this one actually did after I searched all over the Internet for a solution.
(I'm using a Wacom Pen and Touch small btw, so I don't know what will work if your drawing tab isn't a Wacom)

!) Uninstall all of your Wacom drivers (old and new ones or the update/s)
2) Restart your computer/laptop
3) Install the driver that came with your drawing tablet (the one that's in the package)
4) Restart again
5) Try out your tablet and do some scribbles in SAI to check your pen sensitivity

Hope this helps! :>
Kurokasumi's avatar

Thank you for this! I removed my tablet settings for all users and Sai started working properly again! Never would have guessed that one.

Hiiranee's avatar
This guide let me solve my problem with sai. You have no idea how grateful I am: you made my week ♥ ty ty TY!
Peanut-Kid's avatar
Thank you SO much, I just upgraded my tablet and had no problems with my last one- but for some reason my new one did not want to work with sai, but it worked fine in photoshop and other drawing programs. After trying everything I finally took your advice to 'remove preferences' and it worked!!!! I am so grateful, thank you. I don't think I ever could have figured out how to do that on my own
LightningSoul62's avatar

I followed some of this and some of that. And for some reason, it worked! Thank you!!

Shinoakii's avatar
Nothing works ;u; i guess sai just does not like my device. TiMe To LeArN pHoToShOp
RE-BioHazard's avatar
So, there is no preference file utility on my computer. I used to have it before a windows update but it's just gone now and I just cant get my pressure to work at all now since I cant use that trick anymore I have no clue what to do. 
Luubeani's avatar
oh my good god thank you so much! I was going insane trying to fix sai, I must have tried all the regular fixes 10 times before I found this and finally got it fixed!! you are a god send!!
aImsivi's avatar
you saved me, thank you so much 
pink-hudy's avatar
hello , thank you very much for info for helping 
but i'm using now macbook , is there way to make it work ? i already did setup sai but still the pen dosen't work it
but my tablet working well with other programs 
my tablet is intuos wacom 
wulunch's avatar

try searching for the specific tablet you have on the internet, there should be a Mac version of the file.

oh and go to misc in your sai folder. keep scrolling until you see tabletmousesimulation and if it's at 0 put it 1

pink-hudy's avatar

it's already work ! , but it's dosen’t work on Sai as i said !

and i tried everything and failed .. thank u

Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In