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How to Install Brushes in Photoshop

Apart from Photoshop’s built-in selection of drawing tools, the advanced software allows you to import brushes from outside sources as well. Learning how to install brushes in Photoshop is easy. You just need to download the files to your computer, and then add them to the program’s current collection. Below, we’ve outlined the three major steps for importing new brushes.  

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Downloading Brushes

  1. First, you’ll need to find a quality source for brushes online. Sites like Creative Market and DeviantArt have a wide variety of compelling brush packs. It’s easier to search for a specific brush style (i.e. textured brushes), but typing “Photoshop brush download” into Google will also yield thousands of results. 

  2. When you’ve found some unique brushes, just download them to your hard drive. If there are multiple brushes in a pack, they will probably come in a .zip file format, so make sure to unzip the file before trying to import it. This can be done with a program like Zipeg or Zip Archive.  

  3. Your unzipped folder should have some .abr files inside. This is the specific extension for brush files. If you don’t see any, you might have downloaded a brush set that is not compatible with Photoshop.

How to Install Brushes in Photoshop

  1. Open the Photoshop program to add your new brushes. We recommend storing the .abr files somewhere within the Photoshop folder, or in your Pictures archive, so you know where to find them. 

  2. Next, click on the Brush tool (or press B) located on the main toolbar. Depending on which tool you’ve selected, the top row of toolbar functions will change. Click on the downward arrow in the top left corner to bring up a Brushes Preset menu, and then click on the gear-shaped icon. 

  3. Now, a new menu called the Preset Manager will appear. This shows all of your current brush presets. To load new brushes, select the “Load…” button and find the new .abr files you want to import. You can also drag the .abr files directly into the Preset Manager window.  

Importing Multiple Brushes
If you’d like to add a bundle of .abr files at the same time, you can drop them directly into Photoshop’s Brushes folder. Make sure the program is closed, and then use Windows Explorer or Mac Finder to locate the Adobe Photoshop folder. For Windows users, this should be in C:\ > Program Files > Adobe. For Mac users, you’ll find it in Users > Library > Application Support > Adobe.

Once you’ve located the Adobe Photoshop folder, click “Presets” and then “Brushes”. Here, you’ll find all of Photoshop’s current brush presets. It’s easy to add new brush files — just highlight and drag them into the folder. When you open Photoshop, you’ll see all of the new brushes in the preset menu.  

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