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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Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (38 votes)
Anonymous's picture

pls tell me what shall i do

pls tell me what shall i do to make cs5 brushes compatible with ps7 ... idnt finf an option to convert it....pla reply

Bill's picture

Hello, the first thing to do

Hello, the first thing to do is make sure that you have the latest version of abrmate. Do you have that?

Anonymous's picture

I don't have it either. I

I don't have it either. I have version 1.0. I downloaded this today (3/6/2011)

Kim's picture

Hi Bill, Thank you so much

Hi Bill,

Thank you so much for developing abrmate! I have PS7 and your program will allow me so much more freedom with my creativity!


Eureka's picture

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for developing this! I just about died when I found this program!

I Googled for a converter out of sheer curiousity, thinking and laughing to myself "Why would anyone still support Photoshop 7?" And stumbled onto this. Let me tell you, you've made a hobbyist designer very happy.

Redrick's picture

Thanks for developing and

Thanks for developing and releasing this software--I was getting tired of finding The Perfect Brush Set, only to then discover it wasn't compatible with my poor old PS7. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!


Anonymous's picture

I don't have an option to

I don't have an option to convert to PS7, only to .png, and I just downloaded the program via the link you put in this tutorial... What am I doing wrong? :(

Bill's picture

Hello, make sure you have

Hello, make sure you have abrmate 1.1. If not, download it from the abrmate page. Then you should see the 'Convert Selected Brush to PS7.x' right on the left side. Click that!

Mystic's picture

I am getting an error saying

I am getting an error saying I need a different version of .NET. What is that and how do i get it?

Bill's picture

Mystic, you need to update

Mystic, you need to update your .NET to 4.0 or newer. You can download it here: MS .Net 4.0

Rog's picture

This is precisely what I was

This is precisely what I was looking for and I much appreciate it being shared. It seems the version offered on the page is 1.0. I downloaded it and tried it even installed MS Framenetwork 4 but there was no option for conversion. A quick check showed what I had downloaded from this site was ver. 1.0.

OK I took another route and found ver. 1.1 downloaded and installed it from another site. I was able to convert my first abr file to ver. 7 soon after.

I find the program easy to use however I am getting error messages "Issue reading brush file may be protected" I checked the attributes of several files that could not be read and found they were not protected. The file name appears in the left pane but there is no thumbnail view. I have to close it out.

The files don't seem to be corrupt. Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas?

Thanks again.

sketchie's picture

awesome tool dude .... muchly

awesome tool dude ....

muchly appreciated.....

thanks for developing this and releasing to the wider world :)

Electra's picture

hello, well I did everything

hello, well I did everything here, but I get this error message issue reading brush file, file may be protected. How should I fix this?

Mi-Mi's picture

Thank you, thank you, thank

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

This is working smoothly, and I'm in love with it! I have a Photoshop 7 and loads of brushes are for cs4 and the newer versions.

Thank you for making something like this!!

Electric Coyote's picture

Just wanted to add my own

Just wanted to add my own "thank you" to the long list of us that are eternally grateful for abrMate! Many thanks for your hard work and for providing this great tool and the other great content on your site to the community...keep up the awesome work!

Anonymous's picture

Please help me, I found a

Please help me, I found a brush set on deviantart which was for cs5 and cs6, and I use cs3. I tried to convert them which worked fine, but somehow my photoshop would crash whenever I loaded the brushes :( Please help!

HG Guy's picture

Tried converting a CS6

Tried converting a CS6 originating brushes using abrMate 1.1, conversion seemed to work fine, got a new renamed file (with the PS7 at beginning) but having no success loading it into CS2 ... I am getting "Cannot load brushes into CS2 due to a programming error" dialogue ... it's not crashing PS like some report above, just won't load...

reinhard's picture

Same as the above. "Could not

Same as the above. "Could not complete request because of a program error" Converted brushes won't load in CS2. This would be an awesome tool if it would work. png convertion works fine btw.

Bill's picture

Hmmmm, let me see if I can

Hmmmm, let me see if I can load up CS2 and CS3 versions to see if I have problems loading PS7 brushes. So far, I've mainly just done CS5 and PS7.

reinhard's picture

Hi Bill! Thank you so much

Hi Bill!

Thank you so much for the fast response and for making this tool available for everyone!

This is the brushset I tried to convert to a PS7 version so I may open it in CS2:

I'm still using my ancient original PS7 brushes in CS2, so in theory this should not even be an issue.
Maybe the original brushset above is CS6 or CC and that cause some sort of trouble. Thanks for looking into it anyways! CS2 is my primary tool and I can't use a lot of brushsets friends gave me because they use more recent versions of Photoshop. If it would work, it would be really a highly recommended tool.


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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