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How to Install / Load / Import Photoshop Brushes Tutorial Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021

how to install load add photoshop brushes tutorial
  1. Install / Add the Photoshop brushes ABR files to the ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC/Presets/Brushes folder on mac

  2. add the Photoshop brushes ABR files to C:\Users\<your account name>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC\Presets\Brushes.

  3. Start Photoshop

  4. Select a brush tool

  5. go to the brushes panel and right side menu and select the brush file.

You can also add the Photoshop brushes to the program files folder or the applications folder equivalents for Adobe Photoshop and presets and brushes (that requires admin privileges). You can also load the brushes via the file open command in some versions of Photoshop.


You can double click the ABR files to load the Photoshop brushes (and they can be installed anywhere). You can also load the Photoshop brushes via any location by using the brushes panel and right side menu to load and replace the Photoshop brushes ABR files. You can also load the Photoshop brushes via the edit menu preset manager.


This tutorial shows you all the methods to install and add and load Photoshop brushes in ABR format.


Import brushes

Things have changed with the latest version and you can see that at the top of the page with the new import feature to import Photoshop brushes. The brushes need to be ABR format. They are then loaded into a group. To use the new Photoshop brushes import, go to the brushes panel and right side menu and to the import command and then select a filder with the AR files. You can select one ABR or multiple files. Once loaded, they are all displayed in groups. You can move the groups and individual brushes around in the brushes panel. This is only with the most recent versions of Photoshop


Photoshop brushes

You can load them in a number of ways. You can also install them in a number of different locations. Place the ABRs into the presets folder in the applications / Adobe Photoshop (or program files / Adobe Photoshop) location.


You can also install them in a user location as the user location will not require any password / admin account to be entered. On the mac, the user location can be found via the ~/Library folder (use the finder go to commnd to get to that) and then application support and the sub folder beneath Adobe and the current version of PS and a sub folder of that - presets and brushes.


If you add them in the user account, the items will appear in a slightly different position in the presets list (at the bottom) for the strokes.


Load / replace brushes in Photoshop

If you decide not to add them into the presets location then you will have to use the load / replace commands found in the presets palette to find them. Personally, I use the load / replace commands as it means the ABR files are all located at a central location for all the 1000s of ABRs but you can use whatever is easiest. OK, once you have added the ABRs to the required location (or not) then you can get to the loading of the ABR.

Open via file open

You can, in some versions of PS, use the file open command to open and load the ABR and you then can open them from any location. This does not work on the mac. Alternatively, if you do not have any open documents, you can drag a single or multiple ABR files to the application and they will be added to the preset panel (this is probably the easiest way to load them on the mac)


Double click Photoshop brushes ABRs to load

You can just go to the ABR file and double click them and that will load them into PS though it depends on the file associations. If the file association is set to load Illustrator with ABR files then ABR will start up instead. In most cases, you should have no problem but I know I always end up with file associations with odd versions of PS or PSE and they start up instead and that can be frustrating. You can also use the right click and select open with command from the context menu and then select the correct version of PS to use.


Loading them via load / replace commands

You can load them or replace the existing set with the new set via the preset panel right side menu with load and replace commands. You can also do much the same via the edit menu preset manager commands though the menu / buttons are slightly different in their layout.