The Sims 4 skills guide: every skill explained

How skill books work

When The Sims 4 was first released, there were quite a few skills that Sims could learn. If you count all of the skills introduced in every single DLC pack, that number has now ballooned to over double the base game’s skill list. Some of these skills are vital to learn to get that dream job, while others just make Sims look better on the dance floor.

In this Sims 4 skills guide, we will be showing you how to learn skills, teaching you how moods affect your Sim’s ability to use said skill, and give you a full list of all the skills in the game.

What are skills in The Sims 4?

A skill is something a Sim can learn which allows them to satisfy their aspirations (a Sim’s lifelong goals), get certain jobs, and unlock certain activities or interactions with other Sims. For example, a good painting skill will allow that Sim to talk about colour theory with another Sim. Each skill has a set amount of levels: major skills have ten levels while minor skills only have five.

Some skill also give you new revenue streams, like selling the licencing rights to music your Sims create with the singing skill. Skills can be upgraded by either doing its related activity, or by reading skill books.

How to use skill books

Some skills can be learned from skill books. They can be read at the library or bought via your computer or bookcase. Reading a skill book is often the quickest way to learn a skill. Each skill book type comes in three volumes and it is important to get the right volume for your Sim’s skill level. These are the skill levels that each skill book volume can increase:

  • Volume 1: Skill levels 1-4
  • Volume 2: Skill levels 5-7
  • Volume 3: Skill levels 8-9

The final skill level needs to be learned by doing a related activity enough times to master the skill. There is no shortcut to this sadly, well, outside of using one of The Sims 4 cheats that is!

How emotions affect your Sim’s skills

Good emotions allow you to increase your Sim’s skill level quicker, and the chances of getting a preferred outcome such as creating a masterpiece with the painting skill. Your Sim’s mood can also negatively impact your ability to use skills, so if your Sim is tense, try to get rid of that mood before trying to improve or use the skill.

Some emotions enable your Sims to make special versions of their creations, for example a playful novel or an angry painting. This can invoke that emotion in Sims who read or view them.

Here are all of the emotions in the game:

Good emotions

  • Happy
  • Confident
  • Energized
  • Flirty
  • Focused
  • Inspired
  • Playful

Neutral emotions

Bad or Negative emotions

  • Angry (This can be good for Criminals or Mischievous Sims)
  • Bored
  • Dazed (Can be good for Comedians)
  • Embarrassed
  • Sad
  • Tense
  • Uncomfortable

The Sims 4 skills list

Now you know how to increase your Sim’s skill level and how moods affect skills, here is a list of all of the skills in the game. Use the search function in the table to find the skill you wish to learn, so you can find out how to increase its level and what you get for investing your Sim’s time into learning that skill.

Skills Base/DLC pack Ideal Mood(s) How to use skill Notes
Cooking Base game Inspired Cook a meal. Unlocks better recipes.
Handiness Base game Focused Repair broken objects or purchase a woodworking table. Can eventually make objects unbreakable, self-cleaning, or perform better. Working with wood allows you to craft furniture.
Charisma Base game Happy (Skill gains)
Confident (Interactions)
Talk to Sims or practice in front of mirrors. Helps form friendships and romantic relationships faster.
Fitness Base game Energized Head to a gym or use home gym equipment. Lose weight, gain muscle, or stay in shape.
Logic Base game Focused Play chess or use telescope/microscope.
Can also paint mathematical diagrams with the easel if Focused.
Improves ability to play chess and use telescope/microscope.
Painting Base game Inspired Purchase an easel Angry or Flirty moods may give paintings that give off emotional auras to others.
Guitar Base game Inspired Buy a guitar in Buy Mode. Make money by making licensed songs to earn commission. Can play for tips.
Fishing Base game Focused Fish at a sign near a body of water. Improve fishing skill to get a chance to catch better fish.
Writing Base game Inspired Write at a computer. Publish novels to earn money. New genres added by advancing the skill.
Gardening Base game Focused (Skill gains) Harvest in the wild or buy seeds on the computer. Will eventually be able to take cuttings and graft onto other plants. This unlocks new plant types.
Mixology Base game Inspired Buy a bar in Buy Mode or read a skill book. Get better at making drinks, eventually earning money or making drinks to boost emotions.
Piano Base game Inspired Buy a piano in Buy Mode Can eventually make money if good enough.
Violin Base game Inspired Buy a violin in Buy Mode or use the one at the Lounge in Oasis Springs. Make money by making licensed songs to earn commission. Can play for tips.
Comedy Base game Playful Write jokes at their computer or choose Funny interaction. Learn to write jokes, perform comedy routines, and earn tips for making Sims laugh.
Gourmet Cooking Base game Inspired Cook a gourmet meal. Unlocked at Cooking level 5 or skill books.
Unlocks better recipes.
Mischief Base game Angry
Use a Mischievous interaction or read a skill book. Eventually get a voodoo doll to inflict harm on enemies.
Programming Base game Focused Use a computer at home or the library Can make money from writing apps and plugins, or via nefarious means such as hacking.
Rocket Science Base game Focused Buy a rocket or read a skill book. Build and repair rockets.
Find rare items such as aliens and space rocks. Can upgrade rockets to improve their performance in space missions.
Video gaming Base game Focused Use a computer Meet needs for fun. Can eventually make money or compete as a professional in tournaments.
Baking Get To Work Inspired Bake stuff. Baked goods can be sold in retail stores or bakeries.
Quality of food improved with Inspired mood.
Photography Get To Work Inspired Purchase a camera or use the Sim’s mobile phone/cell phone camera. Higher cost camera produce better images which can be sold for massive profits. Photos can be displayed at home or sold in shops.
Dancing Get Together Confident Just dance the night away! Improves the Sim’s dancing animations. Helps lose weight.
DJ Mixing Get Together Inspired Use a turntable. Earn extra tips.
Learns to get crowds in the mood to party all night long.
Singing City Living Inspired Use a microphone or karaoke machine. Sing in the shower. Can be combined with the guitar skill to do both at once. Write songs and licence them to make money.
Pet Training Cats & Dogs Focused Train dogs. Teach dogs more commands and gain the explore ability to help your pet find collectables.
Veterinarian Cats & Dogs Focused Treat animals for illnesses. Improve vet clinic with Vet Points.
Unlock new serums, pet interactions, and treats that affect pet age. Can make pets immortal.
Flower Arranging Seasons Inspired Arrange flowers. Sell flower arrangements.
High levels allow infusion of scents that have powerful effects. These can extend or reduce a Sim’s ageing process.
Skating Seasons Focused Skate in a rink. Either an ice rink or a roller skating rink at other times. Secret skill that doesn’t show on your skill list. Can be used to increase Fitness.
Acting Get Famous Confident Acting jobs or by performing scenes for tips to increase fame. Used in Actor Career.
Can also direct conversations.
Media Production Get Famous Inspired (this varies) Mix music, record video blogs, or get drone footage, then publish it. Provides fame and residual income.
Research & Debate Discover University Focused Participate in the debate club. Boss other Sims around.
Can also learn most skills with expensive research computers, as well as earn a little money contributing to Sim knowledge.
Robotics Discover University Focused Make robots. Build Servos, Exosuits, and bots to do household chores.
Herbalism Outdoor Retreat Focused Gather/eat/identify herbs in Granite Falls.
Specimens can be planted at home.
Can also learn from skill books.
Learn to brew potions to cure ailments.
Befriend the Hermit in the Deep Woods to learn a unique recipe.
Wellness Spa Day Focused Go to a Yoga Class at the Spa, or purchase a related skill item. Learn to give massages. Can meditate to freeze needs and learn to teleport.
Pipe Organ Vampires Inspired Buy a Pipe Organ. Can make money from this skill.
Vampire Lore Vampires Focused Read Encyclopedia Vampirica books only. Gives Sims the ability to ward off vampires, protection against them, reduce vampire’s weakness to the sun, and cure vampirism.
Parenting Parenthood Focused Have a child. Improves skills as a parent, eventually unlocking “Super Parent”, which reduces the rate their needs drop.
Archaeology Jungle Adventure Focused Navigating traps and puzzles in Selvadorada. Can unlock artifacts and relics that create powerful magic.
Selvadoradian Culture Jungle Adventure N/A Interact with the locals of Selvadorada. Unlock new interactions with locals and abilities for jungle exploration.
Bowling Bowling Focused Play some bowling. Just improves bowling skill.

Thanks so much for reading this Sims 4 skills guide. You should now know what all of the skills are and how to improve your Sim’s skill levels. We have other Sims 4 guides available, including our The Sims 4 packs guide that details every single DLC pack. There’s also our The Sims 4 cheats guide if you need it.

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