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How to Install Custom Shapes in Photoshop Tutorial

How to install the CSH custom shapes in Photoshop and how to load them in the custom shapes panel for CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 CS4 etc. The custom shapes can be installed in an admin account (the program files or applications folder on the pc and mac respectively) but they can also be added also to an user account (requires no privileges to add the CSH custom shapes install). You can also load the custom shapes in a number of other ways (not all work in all versions) so the install location for the custom shapes can be any folder. You can use the file open command to load the custom shapes in Photoshop. You can double click the CSH custom shapes file to load them. You can use the open with command to load the CSH files (multiple). You can also use the load and replace commands in the custom shapes panel of Photoshop to load and select the CSH custom shapes in Photoshop. You can also load the CSH custom shapes via the edit menu preset manager (so the install of the custom shapes can be any folder). This tutorial shows you how to install the custom shapes in Photoshop as well as load them via load / replace etc


  1. Select CSH files and copy

  2. go to the applications folder (mac) and program files (for the pc)

  3. go to the adobe photoshop cc etc (mac) and adobe / photoshop cc etc (pc)

  4. go to the presets folder and then "custom shapes"

  5. paste CSH files into the the custom shapes folder

  6. Start Photoshop

  7. go to the custom shapes tool in Photoshop toolbar

  8. go to the custom shapes panel dropdown

  9. right side menu and select the custom shapes file by name


Different approaches

As with many things relating to Adobe ® Photoshop ®, there are a number of ways to install the items but all have the end result of adding the vector artworks into the preset panel so they can be selected and used as layers as well as paths and fills / pixels in PS and PS Elements.


User account for the shapes install

You can also add the shapes into an user account (requires no admin privileges). For Photoshop CC

~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC/Presets/Custom shapes (mac)

C:\Users\<place your account name>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC\Presets\Custom shapes (pc)


  1. go the ~/Library on the mac (probably a hidden folder so will require the go menu and goto to folder command on the mac

  2. go to the users folder for your account (could be anyname) and the appdata on the pc

  3. add the CSH files into the presets folder "custom shapes" there

  4. access them via the custom shapes panel right side menu


Personally, a much better location than the program files and applications location.


Open custom shapes file approach

installation install photoshop custom shapes open

You can, in some versions of Photoshop, open them direct via the file open command and that is a very quick way to load them but this will fail in many versions of PS so is not particularly useful. The approaches below are far more useful and usually work fine. Not exactly an installation but it does mean you can add the artworks from any folder in seconds

Using the open command works in some instances.


Double click the CSHdouble click the custom shapes file in Photoshop to install the shapes

In most cases, the CSH file will be associated with PS or PSE and you can just double click it. Of course, the file association may be incorrect and it may be linked to a custom shell script or something and that is not so useful. You can always re-associate the CSH back to the current version of PS.


If you double click the CSH (or right click and select the open command or open with) then all the vector artworks are loaded into the preset panel along with all the currently existing artworks in the panel. However, that is not really an installation, as the items can be located in any folder (that is the case with my system as I generally have all my CSH files in one massive resources folder section on my user account).


At least this means, if you have multiple versions of Photoshop, they are all located in one place instead of having all the resources in multiple locations, though you can always just delete all the versions as you move from version to version (this is not such an issue now as the presets can be migrated with the version as you move from PS 2014 to PS 2015 to PS 2016 etc). Another approach is to right click the CSH file and then select the version of PS and then the vectors will be loaded into that version of PS (I have multiple versions of PS residing on my hard disk as well as PSE)

  1. Go to the CSH file

  2. double click CSH

  3. Check the Photoshop shapes panel to see that they have been added


Select multiple files in file browser / finder for Photoshop shapes - quick install / load

csh multiple files file browser folder finder

Select five or six CSH sets at a time and use the right click mouse option to select the open option. All the selected CSH presets will then be opened and loaded (install) into the presets panel of PS so you can load 100s of CSH files such as any number of custom shapes


  1. select 5 or 6 CSH custom shapes files in the folder

  2. right click and select "open with" command

  3. select the correct Photoshop versions (there maybe multiple versions displayed)

  4. go to the custom shapes panel and see the items have been added



Presets panel / load / replace command in Adobe ® Photoshop ® - Photoshop shapes install

preset panel and load replace photoshop custom shapes install

The standard way to install them is to add them to the presets folder of Photoshop - this does vary from version but in most cases just go to the applications folder on the mac and the program files folder on the pc and then the PS folder and beneath that you will find a presets section in that you will find a section for the custom shapes and just as the CSH files into there - you will probably have to enter your admin password at that point. In the case of PSE this is definitely the best solution.


You can also add them to the user equivalent section via the library (user) on the mac (use the go to folder feature to go to the ~/library and application support folder) or the app data section on the PC and search for your version of Adobe ® Photoshop ® .. if you have had your machine for a few versions then you will see a number of folders there with 15 14 etc.


Find the presets section in there and add the CSH files to that (you won't need the admin password for the user account).


Installed but how to quickly access the Photoshop custom shapes

You should now have all the custom shapes installed and if they are installed in the standard location you can quickly access via the presets panel. Go to the custom shapes presets panel and the right side menu you will see the CSH files listed there by name (such as gears, animals, arrows, etc).


You can also use the same preset panel to load the presets which means you can add the files to any folder (not for PSE) and the load option adds the new set to the old; or you can use the replace command and browse for the set. The panel can be used to load many 1000s of different vectors but there are probably some limits though I have never reached them. As the panel has no grouping functionality or search tool then the more you add to the panel, the harder it is to find the required vector artwork.


Or use the replace or load command via the preset's panel


Edit menu preset manager

preset manager panel and photoshop shapes install

You can also do much the same as mentioned above in the preset manager in the edit menu though this has varied over the versions. You can load the items etc. Some of the functionality is in the buttons and some in the side menu which is odd and to be honest, makes little sense. Still, all the presets are all in one place and it is a useful dialog but it doesn't offer anything newer or different from the other approach.


Or use the preset manager found in the edit menu, not all versions have it in that location


  1. Open Photoshop

  2. edit menu

  3. presets

  4. preset manager

  5. load



Other tutorials

1. How to install colorful gradients GRD into Photoshop tutorial

2. how to install brush strokes files into Photoshop

3. how to create patterns from Photoshop custom shapes tutorial

4. how to use the panel / palette options such as constrain and center the shapes

5. How to create amazing op art / black and white halftone dots in Photoshop tutorial


Other resources

1. teeth and knotted edge custom shapes

2. torus / curved custom shapes / tribal and decorative custom shapes

3. zigzag lightning custom shapes

4. zoom and effect line custom shapes


Sources and references

1. Custom shapes for Photoshop on



1. Free custom shapes


Youtube Video Tutorial

A quick video showing the install of the vectors [Youtube]





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Updated: July 2017