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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!
Add a Comment:
roxaswantsacupcake Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
oh god bless you. my driver updated and suddenly certain "thin" consistency type tools like the marker were super opaque; pen pressure was working, but everything was really stiff and blocky and full opacity.
number 4 fixed it for me as well. man i was panicking! i use the marker to sketch and rely on it being light and transparent, not totally dark!

thank you SO MUCH
Ace-Of-Spirits Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2019
Thank you so much! Number 4 is what fixed it for me!
ohitskim Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
this was a lifesaver thank you sooo much! solution 6 worked for me immediately <3
Mashiro-Aru Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much. I spent so much time looking for a solution and this is the best post I've seen detailing how to fix it. Thanks again.

And by the way, it's the solution 6 that worked for me though, I didn't try 4. (I just wanted to keep reading before trying but the moment I saw 6. I knew it could work and it did)
Stockinghime Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2019  Student Traditional Artist
do you know naything about windows ink? this seems to be my problem and the step by step i found, my step by step was misisng a few things i needed to click to fix it
KarineKMattos Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2019  Student Digital Artist
THANK YOU SO MUCH. Finally!! 6 worked! 
melcasipit Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for this! I've been looking online for the solution to my problem! :) It works! In my case no. 4 Wacom Tablet Preferences worked on me! Thank you very much! 
SabreMutt Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for this troubleshooting tutorial. It is very detailed and helpful - plus the images make it very easy to understand.

I have a Wacom Intuos but cannot get the pressure sensitivity to work for me (yet!) I am partway through the process (updating tablet drivers) and hopefully this will fix it - I'm going through and checking ALL of the settings listed here.
Broken-Bun Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2018  Student Digital Artist
i use a pen that came with the computer.. ;__;
CrystalizedStars Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2018  Hobbyist
So do I...
Have you found a solution at all? ;^;
Broken-Bun Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2018  Student Digital Artist
No! There's like 0 post about it, i guess it's uncommon..
CrystalizedStars Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2018  Hobbyist
I just don't think SAI is made for monitor tablets... 
Broken-Bun Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2019  Student Digital Artist
Hey again! You're actually right about SAI not being made for monitor tablets ;;;;
But i found an alternative program that has pen pressure for monitor tablets! It's called FireAlpaca. If you really want pen pressure then that program is the way to go! (but i'm not sure if it'll work for you too ;w; )
Broken-Bun Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2018  Student Digital Artist
I don't know really, i'll try to research a bit more ;;;
awsomegirlyanimator Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
my cursor moves, but still no pressure. :(

(I use a UGEE Monitor, but the settings are the same as a tablet)
SakishiTheWolf Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The problem for me was that the Cursor didn't even move when i used
my tablet on sai (but the tablet worked perfectly fine on other art programms)

so when i changed tablet mouse simulation from 0 to 1 it finally moved but no pen pressure
why is sai so weird
EvilChicken8 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I had to set the tablet mouse simulation to 1! it was on set on 0!!
I had been crying when i found your tutorial cause i dont know shit about computers and i had already tried everything the wacom support had told me.
i feared i would never find the problem. but know it's working!! thank you so much!!!!!
now there's tears of joy
Sakibanu Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ty for help!
OtakuforeverLala123 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
ty so much aaa
ghoulraa Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2018  Student General Artist
paint tool sai never worked w my new tablet,, guess my tablet just sucks ass (((:
Chairocchi Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much!! ^o^)/~ <3 really helped me alot!
Aldi-Chan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Muchas Graciaaaas!!!!♥
AttackTheRain Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heckin thanks >.<
MadMaddyGirl Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018  Student General Artist
StarGazzerr Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018
thank you so much!!!!!
BattlyWatt13 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018  Student Digital Artist
WarmSummerSun Featured By Owner Edited Jul 18, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
THANK YOU SO MUCH! After getting a used Intuos2, I've spent about 4 hours getting pressure sensitivity to work in SAI, and believe it or not what fixed it for me was "Plug and Unplug with your canvas open"!! Hilarious. I was getting desperate. Thank you for this post, you are saving lives :)


Edit: Hnng... well it worked once, but then the cursor wasn't lined up, so I messed around some more and now the unplug/plug no longer works and pressure sensitivity is gone again. My goodness this is a pain in the butt!


Edit again: Solved by installing an old Intuos2 driver (615-3), setting TabletMouseSimulation = 0, and setting tablet to "Mouse" setting in both Wacom settings and PaintTool SAI. Good luck everyone!!!!!
harutaknight Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OH MY GAT! YOU SAVED ME!!!! thank you for making this tutorial, the last step has fixed my problem!!!! now I can use sai again
SGT-Stories Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2018
I've tried everything but deleting all of the files since that makes me really nervous, and absolutely nothing has worked. I don't know what to do. My program is a paid version, but it just doesn't work, and it gave me two panic attacks today since I cannot draw without pressure sensitivity. Are there any other solutions but these? I don't know what else to do since I've tried to call customer service and the number doesn't work.
Neo-Zander Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy freaking devil nuggets! I FINALLY FOUND OUT THE SOLUTION!

... after I bought a new tablet. :facepalm:

BUT STILL! It works thank god! Thank you thank you thank you! :yay:

I had no idea the Misc Settings in Sai were what was messing me up. 
AssilemDraws Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2018  Student
Were you sent from heaven? Thank you so, so much.... I have been struggling with this for days!!!
E-of-Lelalz Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2018
I have 3 versions of Sai (don't judge me my sister and friend do this too) and the PAID version of Sai isn't working, and it has nice custom brushes so I only really use that version, but it wasn't working but a free backup version of Sai is working just fine so...
JustARegularPeach Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2018
*bow* you're my life saver
GoblinsDomain Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist

Thank you guys so much for making this I just bought sai and I was so worried I already did something wrong but I opened this and followed the 6th one with worked for me you guys are great keep up the great work <3 
Kalinaszek Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2018
BaileybooR Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2018  Student Digital Artist
You are a live saver! tysm!!
Izskat Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Your are an actual angel from heaven thank you
AmbrosiaDelish Featured By Owner May 30, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This happens to me at least 3 times a day, and is making me want to just give up. I tried literally everything you listed here (and thank you very much!!) but it only gives a temporary fix. Is there anything I can do to stop it once for all? Or at least make it less frequent? I'm going nuts.
julie7507 Featured By Owner May 18, 2018
Thank you so very much!
cottontuft Featured By Owner May 12, 2018  Student Digital Artist
dainmondboun Featured By Owner May 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
LOL so it was min size on brush settings. i didnt really realize that. thank you so much! llama for ya 1:*
CarolingWinter Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Student Digital Artist
same thing here
CarrotPotato Featured By Owner May 5, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Oh I didn't knew about the ''Min size'' thing
LaraHemille Featured By Owner May 2, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much!!!!! This was really helpful!!
xlittle-dragonx Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I was trying to figure out why mine was acting up and i tried the unplugging and plugging back in and that worked for me.
MOVED0000 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
number 6 worked like a charm!! Tysm!
Meowmeowhajimechan Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018  Student Artist
- My pen pressure is still working normal but the porblem is here, the brushes just broken when i draw left to right lines. How to fix this? Thank you :<<<
Capture by Meowmeowhajimechan  
WittleBanzaiTree Featured By Owner May 11, 2018   Digital Artist
This happened to me when my windows updated
To get rid of the random disappearance of the penpressure in the middle of drawing
go to your pen settings and turn your double click distance to 0
Meowmeowhajimechan Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2018  Student Artist
- Really thank you and apprreciate your help, it's fine now, but it kind of still broken a little X3
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