How to Install Photoshop Brush Toolsets (tpl files)

Update: Most versions of Photoshop now allow drag and drop install of TPL files (see here)

Custom Photoshop brushes such as the GrutBrushes natural dynamic Photoshop brushes are actually Tool Presets (.tpl files) and are accessed through the Tool Preset panel. To add a custom brush toolset, either follow this brief 40 second video or follow the written tutorial below it.

How to install Photoshop brushes – Text Tutorial

Open the tool presets panelClick on the arrow to revel the tool presets menu

If it’s not already open, from the Window menu (A) open the Tool Presets panel (B)

Choose “load preset” or open preset manager

select load preset

Choose load preset or open preset manager

Click on the triangle arrow (A) to open the Tool Preset menu

Choose Load Preset (B)

Select .tpl file to install in Photoshop

.tpl toolset file you want to install

Select the .tpl file of the brush toolset you want to load into Photoshop

Custom Photoshop Brushes will now appear in tool Preset panel

Brushes will now appear in Tool Preset Panel

The brushes you loaded should now appear in the Tool Preset panel. (A)

If you can’t see them, make sure you have the correct tool selected or uncheck the box that says “current tool only” (B)

…now Enjoy your Custom brushes! 

* The blue annotations in this tutorial were drawn with the free “Tally Stick” GrutBrushes custom Photoshop brush! You can download it for free here.

New Method: Drag and Drop! (now supported by most newer versions of Photoshop CS+)

install TPL files by dragging and dropping into Photoshop*. Then you'll find them under 'Window -> Tool Presets'

install TPL files by dragging and dropping into Photoshop*. Then you’ll find them under ‘Window -> Tool Presets’

*If you can’t drop it onto the Tool Presets panel in Photoshop, try dropping it into a blank space in the top menu bar.

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Painting a bear with the Cherry Pectin Photoshop watercolor brush-small

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32 Responses to How to Install Photoshop Brush Toolsets (tpl files)

  1. Tyler Gooden March 30, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    No complaint on the actual brushes, but the protocol for simply getting the brush and starting use it is an unnecessary headache. Not exactly designed to make easy for someone who is busy. It’s confusing even if I have what I paid for or not.

  2. Manuel March 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    Hello. Is there a way to add the whole pack as one file?

  3. Nicolai March 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    In most recent versions of Photoshop you can drag all of the .tpl files from Finder on a mac or Windows File Explorer and drop them into Photoshop and that should add them all like this: http://grutbrushes.com/wp-content/uploads/drag-and-drop-tpl-files-into-photoshop.gif

  4. Joe Sanchez April 14, 2015 at 3:09 am #

    Hi Nicolai. I recently bought my brush pack and they work wonderfully on photoshop cs6, however, I’m experiencing very little to no response on photoshop cc, is there a fix to that?

    • Nicolai April 23, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

      Hi Joe,

      Sorry I missed this comment somehow. Are you still getting no responsiveness in CC? It’s strange that it would happen in CC and not the CS6 as the cuplrit is usually the tablet. Are they both on the same computer? I hope it’s working for you now but if not let me know and I’ll give it some more thought.

      • Joe Sanchez April 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

        Hi Nicolai, well the brushes are still not responding well especially the watercolour ones in CC, so in the meantime I’m using them in cs6, as for the tablet, it’s a cintiq13hd, thanks for the help 🙂

        • Nicolai April 27, 2015 at 1:24 am #

          Hi Joe, this one is a real mystery, I’ve never heard of this one before. I will investigate and get back to you if I can find a solution. I will also see what Wacom has to say about this, the first thing they will always suggest is making sure you are using the latest software drivers. I think the last software update for both Windows and Mac was in March http://us.wacom.com/en/support/drivers/

          I’ve found their tech support can be very good at diagnosing problems and getting you the best drivers for your system and in certain cases have even suggested older drivers.

          • Nicolai May 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

            Hi Joe,

            Sorry for the delay, the reply I have gotten back from Wacom is that it sounds like a driver issue and as I expected, they recommend making sure you are using the correct updated driver. If you think your driver is the reight one, I would suggest trying to give them a call and explaining the situation and they can direct you to the correct driver for your configuration.

  5. bluechairdiary April 23, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Great tutorial – mine are all uploaded and ready to use! Yeah! 🙂

  6. sophie May 27, 2015 at 6:04 am #

    Hi, not sure which brush is which, the names are very confusing. Which are the watercolor ones?

    • Nicolai May 27, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

      Sorry if it’s confusing. 
      The watercolor brushes all begin with the letter ‘W’ The others are I for Ink, NM for natural media, O for Oil and Hatch for cross hatchers.

      The names are designed to hopefully be memorable enough that if you use a brush you like often you will remember what it is by the unique name more so than you might remember a name like ‘Watercolor #16’ I am working on a PDF brush stroke guide that will also help to identify them visually by name.  You can also preview thumbnail stills of them online here http://grutbrushes.com/shop/photoshop-brush-collection/all-photoshop-brushes/#/-1/
      Also, by clicking on the word ‘preview’ that pops up over each brush you can also see a live animated brush stroke.

      I hope that helps clear things up a bit!

      • sophie May 28, 2015 at 5:47 am #

        Thanks!

  7. Rodolfo May 29, 2015 at 2:06 am #

    Hi Nicolai, I bought the brushes but I’ve never notice any minimum requirements advice. I’m running PS CS4, the .tpl files are not compatible. Is there a way to go around this? Cheers.

    • Nicolai July 19, 2015 at 11:09 am #

      Hi Rodolfo,

      I’m so sorry I missed your comment until now! Unfortunately the brushes require Photoshop CS5.5 or higher, and I wish there was, but there is no way around that.
      I do try to mention it somewhere on all the product pages but it’s very possible I missed it somewhere. Send me an email at [email protected] (so that I can find your order via your email address) and I will send you a refund right away.
      Thanks for trying Rodolfo, sorry I don’t have better news!

      Nicolai

  8. Polly June 21, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    Hi, I have installed the brush file but its work only by mouse not on Wacom pen. Is it anything missing?

    • Nicolai July 19, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Polly,

      They are normal Photoshop brush tools so if they are not working with the Wacom pen then that would be an issue with the Wacom tablet, I would try re-installing the latest drivers from Wacom or check in with their support team. You can access them both here: http://us.wacom.com/en/support/

      Thanks Polly

  9. GREEN December 14, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    THANKS

  10. Shin December 15, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

    Great tutorials! Thanks, it was so much helpful.

  11. jazg41 July 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Is the impasto brushes in the oils or natural brushes

  12. jazg41 July 22, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Hi Nicolai
    Download no bother ,trouble is drag and drop in ps cs6 any help would be great.
    Jim

    • Nicolai July 22, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

      Hi Jazg41, The most common reasons that dragging and dropping to install doesn’t work is that either a)the zip file was not extracted/unzipped first. If you try to drag and drop the TPL files from inside a zip file they will not install. You must first right click and then unzip/extract them to a directory on your hard drive and then install them from there Unzip/extract the zip file first
      or b) You may be dragging other file types in. Make sure you drag ONLY the tpl files.

  13. Waqas January 8, 2017 at 1:34 am #

    Hi,

    I’m using Photoshop CS6 Extended. I tried to install the Grut Brushes by drag dropping into the Tool Presets panel and also to the top menu area and it doesn’t work at all. I get the small circle icon with the line through it popping up.

    If I got the Tool Preset menu and choose load tool preset it does work but I have to do one at a time!?

    What could I be doing wrong?

    • Nicolai January 8, 2017 at 11:42 am #

      Hi!
      That is almost always caused by dragging them from inside a zipped file. Make sure you extract/unzip them to a folder on your hard drive first.

  14. Monika January 10, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    I’m using Photoshop CS6 Extended too and my Photoshop see only ABR file. I did everything with instructions, but I still can’t use brushes ;/

    • Nicolai January 10, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

      Hi Monika, Photoshop CS6 can use Tool Presets, that is where you will see them. Make sure you are looking in the Tool Presets panel (not in the abr brushes panel) and also make sure that the brush tool is selected like this

  15. Maron February 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    I seem not to manage to download the preset for my Photoshop CS5

    • Nicolai February 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

      Are you having trouble downloading or installing Maron?

  16. Eric April 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    Hello Monika
    First of all congratulations for your work, it’s great. Can we import our personal brushes into the “GrutBrush plugin”? When I drag “my tool preset brushes.tpl” into the “GrutBrush plugin” a script error appears: “underfined is not object”. Why? Thank you.

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