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Installing Custom Shapes and Brushes in Photoshop

If you’re new to Photoshop, you may not be familiar with installing new custom shapes or brushes. In this tutorial, I’ll show you the ropes so you can start using them straight away.

Brushes and Custom Shapes are both collections of design elements in Adobe Photoshop that can be used to enhance your graphics. There are hundreds of online resources that provide free downloads for each of these mentioned elements, but they won’t do you much good if you’re not sure how to start using them.

Installing Custom Shapes

To install a new Custom Shape you’ve downloaded, you’ll have to first select the Custom Shape Tool from the toolbar.

Custom Shape Tool

Now, from the Custom Shapes Options Bar, select the Custom Shape Picker dropdown. From here, you’ll be able to pick any of your currently installed custom shapes for use in your documents. However, right now we want to ignore all of these shapes, and instead click the arrow on the right side of the picker. From here, we want to “Load Shapes…“.

Load Shapes

Once you click this, a browser will be opened up for you. From the browser, just travel to the directory where you saved your custom shapes too, and load them from there. Your new shapes will be available in the Shape Picker afterwards.

Installing Brushes

Installing brushes takes essentially the same steps as installing custom shapes.

Select the Brush tool from the toolbar.

The Brush Tool

And now from the Options Bar, select the Brush Preset Picker dropdown menu, click the arrow off to the right, and then select Load Brushes…

Load Brushes

Again, just browse to the folder where your installed brushes are stored, and load them from there. You’re new brushes will be available in the Brush Preset Picker, as well as the Brushes window.

Need Help Installing Custom Layer Styles in Photoshop?

Hope this helps!


  1. Add point Subtract point

    Ihave downloaded Adobe elements 9 to try
    There is no Shape picker on the drop down menu

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Photoshop shapes (4 Points) December 25, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Thank you for great tutorial. Using of shapes become very popular nowdays, but several years ago we only used brushes.

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  3. Add point Subtract point

    Je suis a la recherche de tuto pour Adobe Photoshop Éléments 9.
    Je cherche un outil pour repousser les contours vers l’intérieur.J’aimerais amincir une personne
    Pouvez-vous me renseigner SVP.

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    • Add point Subtract point

      Je suis à la recherche de tuto pour Adobe Photoshop Éléments 9.
      Je cherche un outil pour repousser les contours vers l’intérieur.
      J’aimerais amincir une personne.
      Pouvez-vous me renseigner SVP.
      (J’ai corrigé mon message précédent, je sais pas pourquoi, mais il c’était changé .

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  4. Add point Subtract point
    Raul Angeles (1 Point) November 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Hey this is an exellent work what you do, I. from México, and your page takes me out of the sand, Thanks a lot

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  5. Add point Subtract point
    chandan (1 Point) October 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

    very very useful information thanxxxx.

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    chandan (2 Points) October 21, 2010 at 7:55 am

    very very useful information thanxxx.

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    陈颖 (1 Point) May 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

    It’s quite useful for a new man to photoshop, thanks a lot, and thanks for sharing the PSD resourses for free, I love this website!

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    CronixxxCancer (1 Point) May 6, 2010 at 10:02 am

    wowwww, it’s help alot for me as a newbie for PS…very well explained. Waiting for the new basic tutorials…:)

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    Meredith (0 Points) April 23, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Finding this doesnt work for MAC….any suggestions….? Cannot save a shape in the shapes folder. i can only save as a Brush. I would like to save and load my own custom shape. I have Mac osx and photoshop 4…thanks

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    เนื้อเพลง (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    wow Great article, thanks!164

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 1:31 am

    wow Great article, thanks!151

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  12. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงสากลใหม่ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 2:48 am

    wow Great article, thanks!146

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  13. Add point Subtract point

    I wanted to know if I can download shapes and brushes for my photoshop elements 6 for the mac ?

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    arcadia (1 Point) October 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    quiero descargarlos como le hago?

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  15. Add point Subtract point

    NEED HELP!!!!

    hey m using photoshop cs4 & i m new to this

    i have tried evrythin for installin custom shapes n brushes in photoshop,bt its not working,wen i click on load shapes or brushes,its not showing any files in that folder. . .is it bcoz i hav installed photoshop in my E Drive???

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  16. Add point Subtract point
    منتديات ماى بكتشرز (1 Point) June 11, 2009 at 5:41 am

    good Keep Goning

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    Sergey (3 Points) June 6, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Thank u for all your posts, man!
    But i only have one question, how can i delete brushes i`ve installed?
    Simply deletin` them from the PS Brushes folder not workin`

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    ashamadan (1 Point) June 6, 2009 at 1:34 am

    useful for students and faculty

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    ashamadan (1 Point) June 6, 2009 at 1:33 am

    great work david, really very very simple to follow how to work with photoshop. thnks a million

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    huwaw69 (1 Point) May 8, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Great man! very worthy to be learned hahaha

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    AztKfullHD89 (1 Point) May 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I simply drag the desired brush to the brushes folder (then restart photoshop), which is under the presets folder. I use a Mac but I think its the same on a Windows XD

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  22. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you for the great tutorials, very helpful for a beginner like me. Now I know of all the shapes available in photoshop. Great job.

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  23. Add point Subtract point

    Hi! Thanks for the amazing site! I am working on a Mac and with CS3, and I’m a real beginner. I cannot even load the brushes. What am I doing wrong? I downloaded a couple of brushes, I expanded them, put the abr files in the Presets>Brushes folder, and either double-clicked or used the preset menu to Load Brushes, but nothing is working. Can you help? I’m trying to do the parchment tutorial…I’m hitting a snag before I even start :-(

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    Alentus (2 Points) January 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, I understand this part but where do i find those .ABR files :p

    Btw, very clear tut

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  25. Add point Subtract point
    Animaziz (1 Point) December 30, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    it is easy to install and use. Thanks dude..

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  26. Add point Subtract point
    cherry (1 Point) July 17, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Hello all,
    I just started learn photoshop yesterday thru this usefull site. But i was wondering if my photoshop is the right version to learn from the very beginning. So i have Adobe photoshop 7.0
    Please advice… Thanks

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    With versions of Photoshop prior to the Creative Suite 3, yes, it was required that you install them in this way.

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    Photoshop brushes (1 Point) April 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    i just double click on the brush file and it automatically installs them.
    is this only a CS3 thing?

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    antonwoods (1 Point) March 24, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    very well explained :) i had problems trying to do this back in the days aswell Steve hahaha :(

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  30. Add point Subtract point
    Steve Mathis (1 Point) January 1, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I remember when I first tried to do this I had an older version of photoshop…and had a heck of a time finding brushes for my older version hehe.

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  31. Add point Subtract point

    Yes, this is definitely one for those new to Photoshop. But everyone must start somewhere ;)

    Also, this tutorial was filed under the Photoshop > Basic category, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise :P

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  32. Add point Subtract point
    cruddpuppet (1 Point) December 10, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Quite basic, but I’ve seen many people with this question, so this should be of great help to others.

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