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Customizing the Brush Presets Panel

by SnickerdoodleDesigns on 7 September 2013
in Elements (PSE),Photoshop CS+,Tutorials Pin this scrappy stuff!

The only thing worse than not having the proper tools to get a job completed, is having the tools and not being able to find them. Today we are going to  look at the Brush Preset Panel and customize it to meet our needs, making it easy to find exactly what we want when we want it.

I am working in Photoshop CS6, but what we will cover today works similarly in most versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

I love using brushes (.abr files), but I don’t like having to guess what brush I am selecting simply by the look of the brush preview.  The previews are small and a lot of the brushes really look alike in the preset manager.  Here’s an example of what I mean:


Look at the Preset Manager previews and at (what I have labeled) brush #1 and brush #2.  They look  identical, don’t they?    On the right hand side, you can see the results of my clicking just one time, with each brush, on the grey background document.  In use, they are quite different, don’t they?

Here is where changing the Brush Presets Panel view can come in handy!

Click on your Brush tool to select it, then look at the top Menu Bar to see the Brush Tool Options.  A preview of the brush last used will be in the visible.


Click on the down-pointing area to the right of the small brush preview and a drop-down window will open.  This menu offers many different tools for you, but today let’s looks at the third grouping.  This is where you can change the way the previews are displayed.


In the image above, you can see that I have Small Thumbnail checked.  I have the option to change to a Large Thumbnail preview, which looks just like the Small Thumbnail preview….. only bigger!

The Small List will display all brushes by their names and a small thumbnail; and the Large List will display all of the brushes by their names and a large thumbnail.

We can also choose Text Only, which is just what you would expect… a list of the brushes by their names.  And finally we can choose the Stroke Thumbnail.  This view displays the brush as a stroke, which is helpful in determining how the brush will look in use.

My personal favorite is the Large Thumbnail. I like to see a visual of the brush tip, as well as the name of the brush.  But I also switch back and forth frequently between this view and the Stroke Thumbnail view.


 Your preview choice will not affect how the brushes work, so feel free to choose the version that best suits your design needs.

Credit:  The adorable little chalk boy doodle was created by Kimberkatt Scraps and is included in Chalk it Up, a collaboration between Kimberkatt Scraps and SnickerdoodleDesigns.  Chalk it Up is currently being offered at a 40% customer savings, in celebration of theStudio’s 6th Birthday! Sale ends September 30th, 2013.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LLinda 7 September 2013 at 11:20 pm

Thanks for the information. Love when a topic is written well and is easy to understand like this one!


2 SnickerdoodleDesigns 8 September 2013 at 7:54 am

Thank you for comment, Linda. I appreciate it, and I’m glad you found this helpful!


3 NancyP 22 September 2013 at 9:07 am

Now see?? I did not know that!!! I’m always afraid to touch anything in my PSE that I don’t understand. Afraid I’ll really screw everything up! Thanks so much for this new information!!!! Well, new to me anyway! :o)


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