How to Install Layer Styles
in Photoshop Elements 6.0

Linda's Tip: Week of December 10, 2007

Are you scratching your head over trying to install layer styles in Photoshop Elements 6? It's actually easier than most people think. Follow these five simple steps, and you'll soon be installing layer styles in Photoshop Elements 6 like a pro!

Step 1: Check to make sure you're able to view all your folders. (Technically I shouldn't even count this as a step, since you only need to do this the first time you install styles.)

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.

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  • 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.

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In Vista

• Open the Start menu and choose "Control Panel."
• In the upper, left corner, choose Classic View.
• Double 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.

tip 14-vista

Now you're ready to add your layer styles.

Step 2: Copy the layer style you want to install.

  • Open the folder with the layer style.
  • Right click on the layer style name and choose "Copy" from the pop up menu. Here I copied the "Scrapper's Guide Glitter.asl" layer style.

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Step 3: Paste the layer style in the correct folder inside Photoshop Elements 6.0.

  • Click on the Start menu, then click on My Computer, and follow this navigational path:

C: > Documents and Settings (Vista computers: substitute Program Data for Documents and Settings) > All Users > Application Data > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > 6.0 > Locale > en_us > Photo Creations > Layer Styles.

Note: If the "Application Data" folder appears to be grayed out and not accessible, double click on it anyway, and it will open.

  • Once you're inside the Layer Styles folder, press Ctrl V to paste the layer style. It will appear at the bottom of the list of layer styles. If you exit the folder and come back later, it will be in alphabetical order as my Scrapper's Guide Glitter style is here.

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You could stop here and your styles would be installed the next time you opened Photoshop Elements 6.0. However, they would be mixed in with all the other layer styles in the "Show All" category of Layer Styles. They would not be in a category by themselves.

To make the name of the layer style show up in the drop down menu as a separate category, complete the last two steps:

Step 4: Create an .xml document for your style. (Don't worry! You don't have to know anything about code!)

  • Navigate up two levels until you reach the Photo Creations folder again. Listed below the Photo Creations folder you'll find the Photo Creations Metadata folder. Double click on the Photo Creations Metadata folder to open it.

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  • Double click on the Layer Styles folder to open it. Inside this folder are the .xml files that are responsible for putting the names of the styles in the drop down Layer Styles menu of Photoshop Elements 6.0.
  • Right click on the Wow Plastic.xml file at the bottom of the list and choose Open With > Notepad.

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  • A document will open that has some code. Find the two places in the code where you see the name of the layer style "Wow Plastic." They're in the long line of code near the end. The first one says "CatWowPlastic" and the second one says "Wow Plastic." You're going to change both of these to the name of your style using exactly the same word structure.

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  • Since my style is called Scrapper's Guide Glitter, I'll change the first name to "CatScrapper'sGuideGlitter" (Cat stands for category, and "CatScrapper'sGuideGlitter" should have no spaces between the words).
  • I'll change the second name to "Scrapper's Guide Glitter" (the exact name of my layer style with a space between each word).
  • If your style has only one word for its name, such as "Glitter," the two names would look like this: "CatGlitter" and "Glitter"

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Step 5:
Save this file as a new document.

  • I don't want to overwrite the Wow Plastic.xml file, so I'll choose "File > Save As." That will create a brand new .xml file for my Scrapper's Guide Glitter layer style and leave the Wow Plastic.xml file unharmed.

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  • When the Save As dialog box comes up, follow these instructions:

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When you complete this last step, you will have successfully added a layer style with its own category in Photoshop Elements 6.0! Congratulations! Now it's time to check it out by opening the Editor portion of Photoshop Elements 6.0.

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Important: If Photoshop Elements 6.0 is already open, you'll need to close it first and then reopen it.

When you open the Editor you'll probably see an hourglass for a few seconds as your styles are added.

Open the Effects palette and click on the Layer Styles icon (second one from the left) at the top of the Effects palette. Open the Layer Styles drop down Menu and you should see your style in the list.

Trouble Shooting Tips

Tip #1: If you don't see the name of your style, close Photoshop Elements and open it again.

When I installed my first style, it showed up as soon as I reopened Photoshop Elements, but the second style I installed didn't show up right away. I had to close and open Photoshop Elements a second time, and then it showed up in the menu.

Tip #2: After opening and closing Photoshop Elements 2 or 3 times, if you still don't see the styles listed in the Effects palette, you'll need to delete the metadata cache and let Photoshop Elements rebuild it the next time you open the program. Here's how:

Follow this navigation path: C: > Documents and Settings (Vista computers: substitute Program Data for Documents and Settings) > All Users > Application Data > Adobe > Photoshop Elements > 6.0 > Locale > en_us. In this folder you'll see a file called MediaDatabase.db3.

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Right click on this file and choose "Delete" from the pop up menu. Close Photoshop Elements 6 and reopen it. It will take awhile (several minutes) but Photoshop Elements will rebuild this file, and you should now see the layer styles you installed in the Effects palette.

Tip #3 If you move or remove a file from within Photoshop Elements 6.0 you may get a warning window like this the next time you open the program.

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When you click okay, the warning window keeps returning--repeatedly!

If you quickly click multiple times on the okay button, you can usually get the warning window to close, but it will reappear each time you open the program.

If you can't get the warning window to close, force quit your computer.

In either case, you'll need to delete the MediaDatabase.db3 file according to the instructions in Tip #2 before reopening Photoshop Elements. This will eliminate the warning window and is much easier to do than uninstalling and reinstalling Photoshop Elements 6.0!

Linda Sattgast is Adobe's Scrapbooking Expert and president of Scrapper's Guide. If you enjoyed this tutorial, you'll definitely want to sign up for Linda's FREE eNewsletter "Digital Scrapper" for weekly tips and inspiration!

Ready to upgrade your digital scrapbooking skills?

Check out this free video tutorial from Linda's Photoshop Elements 6.0 training CD.


Scrapper's Guide Glitter Styles are available in the December 2007 Digital Scrapper Premier newsletter.


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