How to view .abr brush files on Mac – BrushView QuickLook plugin

.abr files are brush files used in Photoshop and Gimp.  However there is no generic default software to view what the brushes look like in an .abr file.  You can find and download many free brushes for Photoshop or Gimp.  These are often encapsulated in .abr file types. However over time, it is usually not possible to remember what the brushes look like when all you can see is the .abr text name.

BrushView 000-view abr

How to view .abr files

There are a number of apps/plugins for viewing .abr files (free and purchased) that you can download.  After searching and testing, I have chosen BrushView QuickLook Plugin.  It is free and easy to use.

  1. Download the plugin from BrushView QuickLook Plugin

    BrushView 001-download

    Download BrushView plugin

  2. Unzip the downloaded .zip file (which will be in your Downloads folder)

    BrushView 002-downloaded zip

    Downloaded zip file

  3. This will create an unzipped folder “BrushViewQL” (This will also be in your Downloads folder).
    There will be 3 files in the “BrushViewQL” folder.

    BrushView 003-unzipped files

    3 files in the unzipped folder

    The “Readme.txt” file will contain Installation as well as Usage instructions.  So you can read that.  But I will record my steps here for completeness.

  4. To install the BrushView plugin, it is the .qlgenerator file that you will need. According to the instructions, there are 2 locations where you can install the .qlgenerator file. I chose to install it where any user on my Mac can use it.  So I moved the .qlgenerator file to /Library/QuickLook:
    BrushView 004-install location

    Install location: QuickView folder

    Once the BrushViewQL.qlgenerator file is in the QuickView folder, you can use it.

  5. How to use the BrushViewQL brush viewer:
    to view any brush .abr file, go to where you have .abr files on your computer. (If you have .abr files, you would have downloaded them and stored them somewhere.) Select an .abr file and press the space bar to view the brushes in the .abr file.


Tip: you can delete the downloaded files in your Downloads folder if you like.  I tend to keep mine in an archival folder. That way I can find them again should I need to refer to the ReadMe.txt notes.  But it is a good idea to delete/move them from your Downloads folder so that that folder does not become too messy and crowded over time.





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  1. I’ve been using this plug-in for years. Just updated to Mac High Sierra and the plug-in no longer works. I’m so depressed – it was the best little plug-in ever!

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