abrMate Tutorial: Convert a Newer Adobe Photoshop CS Brush to PS7 Format for Use in Any Photoshop Version

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The latest version of abrMate now allows you to convert any newer Photoshop CS brush set that can be opened by the software to a Photoshop 7.x compatible brush set in a new .abr file. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Photoshop users that are not using the latest version of Photoshop and want to use brushes available online that were created using newer versions. For example, if you have Photoshop CS2 and find an awesome brush set that was created with Photoshop CS5, you can now convert the brush set to a Photoshop 7.x version and now use it in Photoshop CS2! Remember that brushes are always forward compatible, just not backwards compatible. First off, if you are reading this tutorial, you are probably used to seeing this dialog from your version of Adobe Photoshop stating "Could not load the brushes because the file is not compatible with the version of Photoshop":

Could not load the brushes because the file is not compatible with the version of Photoshop
Could not load the brushes because the file is not compatible with the version of Photoshop

This occurs when you try to load a brush file into Adobe Photoshop that was created in a newer version of Photoshop then what you are currently using. This is why we need to convert the brush set! Start up your copy of abrMate and open the brush set you would like to convert to a PS7 format. Once your brush set is open, select it in the left list and click "Convert Selected Brush to PS7.x":

Convert Selected Brush to PS7.x

The brush file will now be loaded and converted by abrMate. A dialog will now be displayed to save your new Photoshop 7 compatible brush! By default, the new filename is the same as the old one but now starts with a 'ps7-' in front. You may change the filename to whatever you want, of course and save it anywhere you want as well. If you try to save over an existing file, you will be prompted just like any Windows software. I would not recommend overwriting any original brush file until you are positively sure it works in your version of Photoshop.

Save Your New PS7 Compatible Brush File Somewhere

Note that if you have 'Open Folder After Export/Convert' selected in the 'Settings' pull-down menu, a Windows Explorer window of where you saved the new brush file will be displayed. After saving the new brush file, go ahead and try to open it from within Adobe Photoshop...

Adobe Photoshop 7 Now Has No Problem Opening a CS5 Brush Set!

No problem! You can now use the converted brush in your older version of Adobe Photoshop. Have fun with the new world of possibilities of brushes that has opened for you!

abrMate Download Page

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Anonymous's picture

I see several comments about

I see several comments about the issue of files being protected even when set to full control, and am having this same issue. And yet,,,, I see NO comments on how to deal with this issue.

Robert's picture

I see comments about the file

I see comments about the file restricted issue,,,, but no comments on how to correct this issue. Is it we have to buy a PRO version to get past this?

Bill's picture

After dusting off and

After dusting off and installing some older versions of Photoshop, I've been doing some testing. It looks like Adobe has added some things to CS6 and newer versions of Photoshop that makes going backwards from this version on incompatible with the existing version of abrMate 1.1. Since abrMate was a free piece of software that hasn't been worked on since 2011, I will have to see if I get some time to poke around to see whats been changed and if I can get CS6 and newer brushes to convert. So far now, the bad news is abrMate 1.1 can handle CS5 and older brushes and convert them back to a brush file that PS7 or newer can open...

Bill's picture

The very odd thing is that

The very odd thing is that Gimp opens both the new CS6 brush and the PS7 brush converted by abrMate just fine, but Photoshop is having trouble...

Anonymous's picture



steph's picture

Hello! This is a wonderful


This is a wonderful solution! Question - does this work for toolsets too? I'd like to take a toolset from CS6 back to CS5. I keep getting this error: could not load toolsets because of an unknown brushtype. :/

any help would be great, thank you!! :))


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