How to Use Photoshop Brushes in GIMP

By Naomi Bolton

Custom Photoshop brushes allow you to change the shape of the default brushes to add new designs or patterns to your images, without having to painstakingly draw them yourself. Free Photoshop brushes are available online in the form of ABR files. These files are compatible with the free image-editing software GIMP, which automatically detects Photoshop brushes when they are in the correct file format and you place them in the correct directory.

Step 1

Open GIMP, click the "File" menu, select "Preferences," and then click the "+" icon next to "Folders."

Step 2

Select "Brushes" from the list of folders to view where the GIMP folder for storing brushes are located on your computer. Take note of this folder, as this is where you need to place the Photoshop brushes.

Step 3

Close GIMP, and then open the folder on your computer where the GIMP brushes are stored. For a default GIMP installation, this is C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\share\gimp\2.0\brushes.

Step 4

Copy or move the Photoshop brushes that you want to use in GIMP into the GIMP "Brushes" folder.

Step 5

Open GIMP, and then select the Paintbrush Tool from the Toolbox.

Step 6

Press "Shift-Ctrl-B" to open the Brushes dialog window if it is not displayed by default.

Step 7

Click "Refresh Brushes" to load the newly added Photoshop brushes in GIMP.

Tips & Warnings

  • Extract Photoshop brushes that are archived in the ZIP or RAR formats before placing the ARB files in the correct folder.
  • Information in this article applies to Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC. Procedures may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

References & Resources