How to Load Photoshop Layer Styles

Karen SchulzTutorials, ,

Photoshop Layer Styles provide different effects to a layer’s content in a non-destructive manner. You can edit Styles, change them, or remove them.

There are hundreds of different effects you can achieve using Styles. Here are just a few examples:  shadows, metals, bevels, textures, acrylic, glitter, and paper.  Here at Oscraps, we have a special category dedicated to Styles, (Photoshop/Elements tools > .asl Styles) where you will find a variety of quality products.

Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements come with a default set of Styles, which can be fun to experiment with, especially if you are new to Layer Styles and wonder what they are all about.

Where are the default Photoshop Styles?

  • In Photoshop, if you do not see the Styles Panel, go to Window in the top menu bar, and click on Styles.
  • In Photoshop Elements (PSE), you will see the Styles panel icon at the bottom right, when you are in Expert mode. (PSE 2018).

How to Load Photoshop Styles:

So you’ve purchased a Style that you want to use. Now what?

Styles come in .asl format, so that is the file you want to look for. This is what you will see inside my unzipped Watercolor 04 Styles pack.

There are multiple ways to load Styles in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Here are 3 ways. Try them and decide what works best for you.

  1. Left click on the .asl file and drag and drop it onto the Photoshop canvas. (Photoshop and PSE)
  2. When in the Styles Panel, click on the 3 horizontal lines at the top right of the panel. Select “Load Styles” in the pop-out box.  A window will open. Navigate to where you have the .asl file you want to load. Click on it to select it, then click on the “Load” button. (Photoshop and PSE)
  3. I use ACDSee to organize my digi-supplies. In ACDSee, you can double-click on a .asl file and have it automatically load into Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, whichever you have selected as your Default Editor.
  4. If you are a Mac user, if you double-click on a .asl file, it will automatically Load into Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, whichever is your Default Editor.

Watercolor Styles 04, used in this tutorial is this week’s 52 Inspirations (2018), FREE to the 52 Inspirations Subscribers. Non-subscribers can enjoy a 20% discount through October 21st.

Not a member of 52 Inspirations yet? Here’s how to join.

Snickerdoodle Designs Watercolor Styles


  • I am wondering if someone can advise me how to get ACDSee to open abr files in Photoshop (cc) when I double click them. I have PS CC 2019 set as my default editor, but when I double click the image of the abr file it only opens it (all the various brushes show up on the left in the page view) in ACDSee (Photo Studio 20). I can right click the abr image and send it to my default editor, which does open them up in PS, but double clicking the image to open automatically in PS doesn’t work. Sorry if this isn’t a good place to ask!

  • Snickerdoodle Designs says:

    Hi Nina, As you said, ACDSee was designed so that when you double-click on a .abr file, the software displays all of the images within that (brush) file, and you can open it in your default editor as you are doing. You can also select the .abr file in ACDSee and just drag and drop into Photoshop, which is easy and will save you some clicks. It’s fine to ask your question here. 🙂

    • Thanks for the quick response! I like that I can just double click in Bridge but dragging and dropping isn’t so hard. 🙂 Will just do it that way.