Tutorial for Adobe® Photoshop® Elements

How To Install Layer Styles
in Photoshop Elements 7

glitter layer styleBy Linda Sattgast

Week of October 13, 2008

Layer Styles are a favorite tool of digital scrapbookers, yet it isn't always a simple matter to install layer styles in Photoshop Elements. With Photoshop Elements 7 recently released, I thought it would be a good idea to give you instructions on how to load layer styles, because the method has changed—yet again.

You must complete three steps if you want to see your layer styles listed as a separate category in the Layer Style menu, but you can get away with doing only the first and last step if you don't mind accessing your layer styles mixed in with all the other styles in the "Show All" category.

Before You Start

Make sure you have your computer set to see all folders:

In Vista

• Open the Start menu and choose "Control Panel."
• Click on Appearance and Personalization.
• Click on Folder Options.
• When the Folder Options dialog box comes up, click on the View tab at the top.
• Under the Folder "Hidden files and folders" click "Show hidden files and folders" and click okay.

In Windows Explorer

• Click on "Start" and choose "My Computer."
• When a window pops up, click on the Tool menu at the top and choose Folder Options.
• When the Folder Options dialog box comes up, click on the View tab at the top.
• In the"Advanced Settings" section there's a folder called Hidden files and folders. Make sure "Show hidden files and folders" is selected. Click okay.

Now you're ready to install layer styles.

Step 1) Place Your 3rd Party Layer Style Inside Photoshop Elements 7

Glitter Layer StyleLet's say you downloaded a free layer style from the internet, or you purchased a layer style that you want to install, or maybe you have some layer styles in a previous version of Photoshop Elements that you want to transfer.

To show you how to install your 3rd party layer styles in Photoshop Elements 7, I'll install a style called Scrapper's Guide Glitter, which originally came with the December 2007 Digital Scrapper Premier and is now available as a back issue.

  • If Photoshop Elements 7 is open, close it.
layer style 2
  • Navigate to the layer style you intend to install inside PSE7. If you have styles inside a previous version of Photoshop Elements, navigate to the folder where they reside in that version. Right click on the layer style and choose Copy from the pop up menu.

By the way, you can copy more than one layer style at a time. Simply click on one and Ctrl click on additional layer styles. Then right click and choose Copy.

  • Navigate to the layer styles folder inside Photoshop Elements 7.

In Vista the path is:
Start > Computer > Local Disk (C:) > ProgramData > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > 7.0 > Photo Creations > layer styles

In Windows XP the path is:
Start > Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Documents and Settings > All Users > Application Data > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > 7.0 > Photo Creations > layer styles

  • Right click inside the layer styles folder and choose Paste from the pop up menu.

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If you don't mind seeing your layer styles only in the "Show All" category of the Layer Styles Menu, skip to Step 3 now. If you want to see your layer styles in a separate category in the Layer Styles Menu, continue on to Step 2.

Step 2) Create A Metadata File For Your Layer Style

If you look at the files inside the layer style folder inside Photoshop Elements 7, you'll notice that each layer style has a corresponding metadata file. These metadata files are responsible for placing the name of the layer style as a separate category in the Layer Style Menu in the Effects palette, so here's how to create a metadata file for the layer style you just added.

image 4
  • Right click on one of the metadata files and choose Copy from the pop up menu. I copied the Wow Plastic.metadata file.
  • Right click on your desktop and choose Paste to place a copy of the metadata file on your desktop.
  • Highlight the original layer style name, and change it to the name of your layer style.
  • The name of my file now reads: Scrapper's Guide Glitter.metadata

image 5

image 6

Don't try to double click on the copied metadata file to open it. Instead, right click on it and choose Open with > Notepad.

When the metadata file opens, you'll see the code. Don't worry. You don't have to know anything about code. You just need to change a few things.

Start at the top and scan down until you find the name of the original layer style. I found the title I was looking for on the 5th line: WowPlastic=Wow Plastic.

image 7

  • Highlight the name before the equation sign and change it to the name of your layer style with no spaces between the letters, but do use capital letters when appropriate. In my case, I would type Scrapper'sGuideGlitter.
  • Highlight the name of the style after the equation sign and change it to the name of your layer style with spaces between the words, e.g. Scrapper's Guide Glitter. Don't add any other spaces or change anything else. If you happen to have a one word name, such as Glitter, it would look like this: /Glitter=Glitter"

image 08

Right after the category line you just changed, you'll see rows of code that give the names of the individual styles within that layer style. Highlight all of these lines, making sure you don't include the very last short line that says </PSEContent>. Press the Backspace key to delete them. Here's what your entire document should look like now:

image 09

  • Choose File > Save (at the top of the open Window) to save the changes and then close the document.
  • Click and drag your new, saved file into the layer style folder inside Photoshop Element 7. (If you already closed this window, see Step 1 for the file path.) You can also right click to copy and paste it inside PSE7.
  • If you're installing more than one layer style, you'll need to follow the same steps to create a metadata file for each style.

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Step 3) Get Your Layer Styles To Show Up In The Effects Palette

If you simply close the PSE7 layer style folder and open Photoshop Elements 7, the style probably won't show up, so do this next:

  • From the layer styles folder within Photoshop Elements 7, click the Back button two times until you reach the folder that contains the ThumbDatabase.db3 file.
image 11
  • Right click on the ThumbDatabase.db3 file and choose Delete. Click okay when you get a dialog box asking if you really want to delete the file.

image 12

Close the window and start Photoshop Elements 7. When the Welcome Screen comes up, click on Edit. When the Editor desktop appears, you'll also see a dialog box that says "Building Content and Effects." This will take awhile, usually 5 minutes or more.

image 13


When Photoshop Elements 7 is done building content and effects and the dialog box disappears, open the Effects palette and click on the second icon at the top of the Effects palette to get layer styles.

Open the Layer Styles menu, and you should see the layer style you just installed in the list of available styles.

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