How to Use Photoshop Brushes in Other Programs

Open ABR files in GIMP and other graphics software

Blue paintbrush with blue light streaks coming off the bristles

Tyson Ferro / Getty Images

Adobe Photoshop custom brushes are distributed as ABR files, which cannot be used with most other graphics programs. However, if you convert the brushes to a PNG file, you can import them into your software of choice.

Instructions in this article apply to all Photoshop brush sets with the .ABR file extension.

How to Convert ABR Brush Sets to PNG Files

ABRviewer is an open source program that converts ABR files to the PNG format. To convert Photoshop brush sets to PNG so that they can be used in other programs:

  1. Open ABRviewer and select File > Open brush sets.

    Open ABRviewer and select File > Open brush sets.
  2. Choose an ABR file and select Open.

    Choose an ABR file and select Open.
  3. Select Export > Thumbnails.

    Select Export > Thumbnail.
  4. Choose where you want to save the PNG files and select OK.

    Choose where you want to save the PNG files and select OK.

How to Use Photoshop Brushes in GIMP

GIMP does not require most ABR files to be converted; Photoshop brushes can be directly copied to the GIMP brushes directory. If the ABR file does not work, or if you would rather use the PNG files:

  1. Open the PNG file in GIMP.

    Open the PNG file in GIMP.
  2. Go to Select > All.

    Go to Select > All.
  3. Go to Edit > Copy.

    Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C or Command + C to copy the image.

    Go to Edit > Copy.
  4. Go to Edit > Paste as > New Brush.

    Go to Edit > Paste as > New Brush.
  5. Enter a brush name and file name, then select OK.

    Enter a brush name and file name, then select OK.

The new brush will immediately be available for use with the paint brush tool.

The new brush will be immediately available for use with the paint brush tool.

It's also possible to use Photoshop brushes in Paint.NET and similar graphics program.