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How to load and Install Photoshop gradients tutorial

how to load /  install Photoshop gradients tutorial

How to install Photoshop gradients in CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc. Photoshop gradients are in GRD format. The Photoshop gradients can be loaded and installed in a number of ways. You can load them from any location. You can load them from the Photoshop presets folder 'gradients'. You can load and replace the Photoshop gradients via the gradients panel right side menu. You can load and replace them via the edit menu preset manager in Photoshop. You can load them also by dragging them into Photoshop. In some versions you can open the gradients via the file open to load them. You can also load them into Photoshop by right clicking the gradient files and selecting the open command and all the gradients are then added to the gradients panel. You can then use them via the gradient tool as well as fill content in shapes and layer styles and more. This tutorial shows you how to install them in any location or into the presets gradient section. This tutorial shows you how to load them via the gradients panel and also the presets panel. It also shows you how you can quickly load many gradients in Photoshop in one go. It is a powerful feature of Photoshop and Photoshop elements. There is also a link to a set of free / freebie stunning gradients at the bottom of the page as well as our amazing 32,000 Gradients collection all by this site.


  1. Search for the Photoshop application via the program files / adobe section on the PC. Search for the Photoshop application via the applications folder on the mac.

  2. Expand the required version of Photoshop folders

  3. Go to the presets

  4. Place the GRD Photoshop gradients into the gradients folder

  5. Access the GRD gradients via the right side menu of the gradients panel in Photoshop by name


Video of gradients


Installation of Photoshop Gradients

photoshop gradients tool

Gradients are a powerful feature of Photoshop and elements and a fairly under rated one. The Gradients for Photoshop are in GRD format and are only for Photoshop and elements. Never seen any other application that used them. The Photoshop gradients format GRD files can be used from version 6 (way back in the dark ages) upwards. OK, how to add the GRD Photoshop gradients to your favourite application.


  1. Add the GRD files to the presets 'gradients' folder in your applications / program files folder

  2. Or Add GRD to your presets 'gradients' folders in your user account (requires no privileges)



Default load / install folder for the gradient presets

photoshop gradients install folder

If you want to use the Photoshop gradients on a more permanent basis then the easiest way is to add them to the presets folder


On the PC install folder

Go to the program files folder and Adobe Photoshop XX (depends on the version) and then go to the presets and finally place the GRD files into the gradients


On the Mac install folder

Go to the applications folder 'Adobe Photoshop XX' (again depends on the version) and then presets and then place the GRD files into the gradients


Password issues with folders

install gradients photoshop local and admin

If you are using your admin account (never a great idea) then you will not need to enter your admin password. If you are using a basic level account (a much better idea) then you will have to enter your admin password when you place the GRD files into the gradients folder. There is a better solution, add the GRD files to your user account gradients folder.


The solution means you don't have to enter a password and you can quickly remove and add GRD gradient files.


User installation folder for the Photoshop gradients

Personally, I always use a non privileged account and then I have to use the user locations for the presets. OK, so where do you add them if you want to add them to the user folder. On the PC it is in the appdata folder and then go to the adobe etc folder structure and add the gradients in that presets 'gradients' folder. On the Mac, you have to go to the library section (which may be hidden and then you can go to that via the go to folder feature) and then application support and Adobe and down to Photoshop (depending on the version) and then the presets and then gradients (no one said the folder structure was easy to remember). Once you start using the GRD gradient files in Photoshop you will notice that there is a faint dividing line between the selection of 'admin' gradients and the 'local' gradients. See the faint line on the image on the left.


Open command for Photoshop gradients

file open command photoshop for gradients

In some versions of Adobe ® Photoshop ®, you can use the open command but this is definitely not the case with Photoshop CC on the mac.


It is odd that you can open them this way in one version but not another and you may find that sometimes that the file opens but not all the presets are transferred in the process so it is not my recommended way of loading them.


You can do much the same with the other presets as well and sometimes the open will work and will load only a partial list of the presets included in the set.


  1. Start Photoshop

  2. file menu

  3. open

  4. browse for GRD files

  5. Select

  6. click open


Note, if Photoshop doesn't allow this, they will be not enabled


How to load & replace the Photoshop gradient GRD files via the gradients panel

photoshop gradients install load and replace

You can load / replace them in most versions via the edit menu manager (edit menu) and also via the gradients panel right side menu replace (though you can also click the load command on the dialog itself).


  1. select the gradient tool

  2. go to the gradients panel (top left)

  3. go to the right side menu

  4. select the load or replace command

  5. browse for the gradients GRD file


Preset manager and gradients load

edit menu and presets and gradients in Photoshop

If you use the edit menu command

  1. edit menu

  2. presets

  3. preset manager

  4. select the preset type to gradients

  5. load gradients GRD file


The good thing about the replace and load means that you can add the GRD files into any folder and not rely on the Adobe's folder structure and especially useful if you want manual control over where the files go and how they are added into the tool and also if you have multiple versions of the application and wish to still keep them active and the presets active in them.


Reset gradients

reset gradients via the gradient panel

If you decide to remove the colorful designs and return to the factory default, just select the reset command on the right side of the preset's panel.


You can also do the same via the edit menu and the preset manager and the right side menu 'reset'


  1. select gradient tool

  2. click gradient dropdown

  3. gradient editor and presets display

  4. right side menu (cog) of the presets

  5. reset gradients


How to load multiple presets files

Photoshop gradients install drag

In many cases, you may wish to load a lot of Photoshop gradient files in one go and have 1000s of presets added in your panel. This is quite useful if you are happy to trawl through a large panel of lots of very small thumbnails.


  1. One approach that seems to work well in some versions is to select a set of GRD files

  2. drag them into the application but it is likely that an error will appear as the application says that it does not accept the format (weird as it is a valid format)


Another approach and one that I use often is


  1. select a number of Photoshop gradient GRD files

  2. right click and select open with the version of Photoshop you want and all the files will be fairly rapidly added to the panel (though it is not instant)

  3. you will then see the set and you can then select from 1000s of great designs (especially if you go for the 32,000 gradients set available on this site).


You can also just go to the save command in the panel and then save them all to a single GRD file.


You can join all the gradients into a single gradient GRD file. I would make certain that you make a backup of the file in case of corruption. A good location would be the CC libraries


Other resources

1. wonderful 32, 000 Photoshop gradients (for linear, diamond etc modes)

2. 13,000 custom shapes for Photoshop and elements collection (which also includes 2000 gradients)


Free gradients to tryout

A selection of red themed gradients for free, all for commercial use, royalty free


Other tutorials

1. How to load and install brushes into Photoshop tutorial

2. How to install custom shapes into Photoshop CC 2017 2015 CS6 etc tutorial

3. How to create a contour themed artwork using Photoshop gradients

4. How to create gradient color effects using channels in Photoshop

5. How do you create new gradients in Photoshop tutorial


Sources and references

1. Gradients on Adobe.com


Youtube Video tutorials on the Photoshop gradients and installation / load

Quick video showing how to load (install) the presets (GRD files) into PS Elements 12 / 11 (as well as Photoshop elements 15 etc).


The presets are standard GRD files that can be used in most versions of Photoshop as well as PS Elements. They can be used in PSE 11 as well. There is no particular folder for the presets but they can be installed in a particular presets folder. Personally, I just load them via the load / replace functionality in the presets panel (and that is what is shown in the video). Once loaded, the presets can be applied in a number of ways such as a new layer and via the gradient tool in the PS Elements 11 toobox (in expert mode). The video also shows some of the basic uses and there are other ways to load them. The same approach can be used in Elements 13 14 15 etc Video: install / load them in PS Elements 12 / 11 [Youtube] A video showing how to load and install the GRD Photoshop gradients on a mac Showing the load / install on a mac [Youtube]