Ubuntu - Paint Tool Sai Integration including Wacom Tablet Pen Pressure



Paint Tool SAI has been running for a long time under linux with the help of Wine. But till date, Wacom tablet pressure is not handled properly. This problem is referenced as bug11846, opened in 2008 in WineHQ Bugzilla and still open.

Hopefully, the PlayOnLinux team has issued a patch for Wine version 1.5.5 that allows Paint Tool SAI to handle tablet pen pressure. But this patch doesn't seem to work with latest Wine versions.

So, this specific wine version has been added into PlayOnLinux database under 1.5.5-SAI name.

This guide explains all the steps to :

  • check if your Wacom tablet is recognised on your system
  • install PlayOnLinux and the patched Wine 1.5.5-SAI
  • install Paint Tool SAI
  • declare SAI files interaction for Gnome desktop

It has been tested with a Bamboo Fun CTH-661 tablet under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 Amd64 (Gnome 3.4) and Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 Amd64 (Gnome 3.8).

It should be applicable to many other Wacom tablet models and other Linux flavours.

Some parts of this guide are based on a very good Deviant Art tutorial. Also, thanks to Fiona for pointing out that the patched Wine version has become available this summer.

1. Test Wacom Drivers

Wacom tablets have been supported by Ubuntu for some time now. Most of them work perfectly fine out of the box.

For example, Bamboo Fun CTH-661 tablet is recognised Out Of the Box under Ubuntu 12.04. As soon as you plug it in, you can move the mouse pointer with the stylus and simulate a left click with a simple stylus pressure.

You can test that your tablet is fully recognised by running Wacom Graphics Tablet application.


If your tablet is not recognised, you must install proper drivers before following this guide. Never forget that Google Is Your Friend.

2. Install Wine & PlayOnLinux

2.1. Install Packages

Even if PlayOnLinux will be used to install a specific patched version of Wine, Wine needs to be installed prior to PlayOnLinux installation.

You can get latest version of PlayOnLinux from their download page.

To simplify installation, they also provide a repository with latest package :

# wget -q "" -O- | sudo apt-key add -
# sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get install curl wine playonlinux

At the time of this guide, you'll install PlayOnLinux 4.2.1

2.2. Configure patched Wine

Before going further, you need to declare a patched Wine version that corrects the Wacom tablets pen pressure bug.

Launch PlayOnLinux and run the Ms fonts installation wizard if you launch it for the first time.

Then, select menu Tools / Manage Wine versions.

You'll open a windows with a list of all Wine versions available.

Whatever is your architecture, select to install Wine version (x86) 1.5.5-SAI.

This version provides a patched version that allows Paint Tool SAI to use tablet's pen pressure.


Installation will take some time as this patched version has to be downloaded.

3. Install & Configure Paint Tool SAI

3.1. Install Official Software

To install Paint Tool SAI in PlayOnLinux, you first need to download the installer file from the Official Paint Tool SAI Website.

You should get a file called sai-1.1.0-ful-en.exe.

Once the installer is downloaded, launch PlayOnLinux and select Install.

As there is no official Paint Tool SAI installation script, select Install a non-listed program in the lower left corner.


Then, go thru these installation steps ...

  1. Select Install a program in a new virtual drive
  2. Set virtual drive name as PaintToolSAI (no space ...)
  3. Tick Use another version of Wine
  4. Select Wine 1.5.5-SAI
  5. Select 32 bits Windows installation
  6. Select installation file sai-1.1.0-ful-en.exe you've previously downloaded
  7. Select installation path as C:/Program Files/PaintToolSAI/
  8. When asked, select to create a shortcut for sai.exe
  9. Give the name Paint Tool SAI to the shortcut
  10. Finish by selecting not to do another shortcut

A Paint Tool SAI icon should now be present on your desktop.

Once back to the main window, select Paint Tool SAI in the list and click on the Configure button.

Make sure that selected Wine version is 1.5.5-SAI


3.2. Patch with Modified Version

Do not launch Paint Tool SAI at this stage !
Paint Tool SAI is now supposed to be installed but if you launch it, you'll end up with an error message.
This error comes from the fact that SAI does some verifications and needs to run as administrator.


To overcome this error, you need to install some portable version of SAI that do not do this type of verification at startup.

These versions are not legal ... but they are the only one working under Linux. So make sure you've bought your SAI licence before going ahead.

To install a modified version, you need to :

  1. Download a portable SAI archive ( or google Paint Tool SAI Portable Full)
  2. Open the zip archive and go to the main directory where you get sai.exe
  3. Place the content of this archive directory in the PlayOnLinux installation directory /home/yourlogin/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/PaintToolSAI/drive_c/Program Files/PaintToolSAI.

where yourlogin is your current login.

You will then replace all the official files with the modified ones. This should solve the error.

3.3. Tweak for Wacom tablet

Before launching Paint Tool SAI you still need to do a specific configuration.

In fact, there is a known problem between Paint Tool SAI and Wacom tablets : inside the drawing window, the pen will move all around the window all on it's own.

Hopefully, you can get rid of this problem thru a simple configuration in the file misc.ini. You just need to set a specific key in the file :

/home/yourlogin/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/PaintToolSAI/drive_c/Program Files/PaintToolSAI/misc.ini

TabletMouseSimulation = 1

4. Gnome Shell Desktop Interaction

ubuntu-painttoolsai-iconIf you are running Gnome Shell, you can setup a full desktop interaction, allowing you to :

  • declare a Gnome menu for Paint Tool SAI
  • launch Paint Tool SAI when double-clicking on a .sai file

4.1. Declare SAI Icon

Paint Tool SAI icon may be used for Gnome menu and for .sai files.

Icon has to be placed in an active theme's directory. Under Gnome Shell, the gnome theme is used with every theme. So, Paint Tool SAI icon will be installed under gnome default theme.

Once you've placed the new icon, you need to regenerate your theme cache file.

# sudo wget -O /usr/share/icons/gnome/256x256/mimetypes/application-ptsai.png
# sudo gtk-update-icon-cache --force /usr/share/icons/gnome/
gtk-update-icon-cache: Cache file created successfully.

4.2. Declare Mimetype

Next step is to declare a application/ptsai mimetype for .sai files.

This declaration is done thru an XML file and the xdg-mime command.


<?xml version="1.0"?>
 <mime-info xmlns=''>
  <mime-type type="application/ptsai">
   <comment>Paint Tool SAI project file</comment>
   <glob pattern="*.sai"/>

# wget
# sudo xdg-mime install systemax-ptsai.xml

4.3. Create Menu Launcher

Once mime type is declared, you can declare the Gnome Menu and the Desktop Interaction for .sai files with the application/ptsai mimetype.

This is done with a .desktop file and the xdg-mime command.


[Desktop Entry]
Exec=playonlinux --run "Paint Tool SAI" %F
Name=Paint Tool SAI

# sudo wget -O /usr/share/applications/ptsai.desktop
# sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/ptsai.desktop
# sudo xdg-mime default ptsai.desktop application/ptsai

5. Launch Paint Tool SAI

Paint Tool SAI is now installed and Gnome interaction should be fully operational.

You should be able to launch Paint Tool SAI :

  • thru gnome menu
  • by double-clicking on a .sai file

And most important thing ... it handles Wacom tablet's pen pressure.



Hope it helps.

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