Photoshop Tip: Delete Brush Shortcut

By pure accident I found out how to quickly delete a Photoshop brush from the preset list. This comes in very handy when you’re trying to save a custom brush set and don’t want any superfluous brushes to be in your .abr file. There’s a tedious way, which means right-clicking on each brush and selecting delete. There’s the obvious one by clicking the thrash icon in the brush palette. Finally there’s a hidden, much simpler, quicker way: hold the Alt-Key while clicking on the brushes you don’t want. A little pair of scissors should appear which indicates that you’re about to remove that particular brush. So simply Alt-click through your brush palette to delete them one by one. That’ll save you precious seconds and we all know that time-saving is very important when designing. FYI I am running Photoshop CS3 on a Mac so I’m not sure how compatible this shortcut is with other versions. Unfortunaltely I couldn’t produce a screenshot of the technique. It should be fairly straightforward though.

*Update*: The shortcut works on Windows running Photoshop CS3. Thanks to Mr.Ju!-ce for the info.

Written by Franz Jeitz

Franz Jeitz is a freelance designer and owner of Fudgegraphics. Originally from Luxembourg he now lives in London. Franz loves design, music and is a tea enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter.

Join the Discussion:

52 Awesome Responses so far
  1. Mr.Ju!-ce May 28th, 2008

    It’s the same shortcut on PC & CS3. Nice tip !
    And I’m not sure that a screenshot is necessary ^^
    Thanks ;)

  2. ohsilv3r July 2nd, 2008

    Wow nice tip!! Helped me soooo much!

  3. THanx……

  4. very nice works on cs4 too:D:D

  5. Thanks alot! The best tip ever! you are so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I needed this for ages! Thanks thanks thanks and more thanks xD! :D Thanks sooooooooo Much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. @Savzz:

    You are very welcome. I’m really glad I could help you out!

  7. What an easy solution to something that has been driving me crazy! Thanks so much. – Mike Lowery

  8. Nice tip. Saved me time. I always have a cluster of brushes. Thank you ^-^

  9. Yep, thanks so much. Yours was the first link I clicked on and that was all I needed.

    MelodyA.´s last blog post..Beautiful

  10. Thanks bro. That helps me so much

  11. I’ve tried it and it works like a magic… but I was wondering, how about the set instead of individual brush?

    I have a lot of list of custom brush listed on the fly out menu and I can’t find a way to get rid of them. I tried to deleted the physical .abr file even uninstalling the photoshop cs3 and reset the preferences into the factory default but all the custom brushes was still listed on the menu.


  12. OksanbI4 June 8th, 2009

    Thanks a lot!!!!!
    I’ve been trying to remove unwanted set brushes by deleting them one by one… your method is much easier than even to go to the PS’s files….

  13. Thank you! I often find myself with far too many brushes, even download the same brushes because I didn’t realize I already had them lol.
    This makes it 100 times easier to clean them up!

    I cannot thank you enough for sharing, really ^_^

  14. daffyd k jones July 19th, 2009

    Thanks so much, just what I was looking for :)

  15. You saved my day! Thanks for posting this!!!

    Does anyone know how to organize the brushes within the palette?

  16. OMG! You saved me…
    .-= june´s last blog post: My n97 experience =-.

  17. Works in CS too!

  18. Ahahaha. I didn’t know about that. I just keep clicking on the trash icon. This should save me a lot more time.

  19. Holy shit, this saved me literally hours of time — Thank you so much to whoever posted/came up with this! W00t.
    .-= Mallory´s last blog post: 4 November 2009 =-.

  20. Wow! This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. Love shortcut tips! Thank You for saving time.

  22. jerseydevil9x February 8th, 2010

    WOW!~ great.. thanks a lot mate! cheers~

  23. er! hello??

    what not just use the PRESET MANAGER in the brush menu?

    this loads up the thumbnails and you can multi select and hit delete!

  24. @sean23uk: Of course that works too. I believe that in certain cases this shortcut is quicker though. Thanks for your comment.

  25. OMG! Thanks!

    you can’t imagine how much time it saved me!
    Thanks seriously!

  26. thanks nice tip!

  27. Thanks sooooooo much i needed this i have so many brushes that i dont want! You dont know how happy i am!!! Oh thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  28. Wow, thanks mate! finally a awesome tip :)


  30. It won’t work for me :( when i click alt, no pair of scissors show up even if I hover over the brush/click it.

  31. You saved my life just now xD thank you~!

  32. thanks bro.. it totally helpful…

  33. wow. thanks a lot. I was downloading brushes and installing the same sets over and over again. lol. I forgot to restart PS CS3 so the new brushes would show up. I just thought they werent there. When I finally did restart, I had hundreds of brushes. Anyway, thanks for the tip. Its very convenient.

  34. Oh, you are so awesome for sharing this! I just made two killer brushes after importing about 500. Seeing your tip made my day!

  35. WOW! Thank you so much… I needed to deleted a lot of brushes and thisworked so well… I’m definately using it in the Future!!

    thank you again =D

  36. Hey man thanks for the tip! helped a lot =)

  37. twilightsymphony May 13th, 2011

    Thank you so much for this tip! Really helpful!

  38. There’s even a simpler way. Go Edit>>Preset Manager, and there:
    1. You can select a brush, then hold shift and select another brush. this way all the brushes between them will be selected, and you just press the “delete” button on screen.
    2. Hold control to select multiply brushes, then delete them.
    Google All Mighty!
    P.S: This works for me in PS CS2. I’m not sure about other versions.

  39. David Estes July 18th, 2011

    Thanks, I’ve been trying to figure out how yo do that forever!

  40. LOL! You just made my day.

  41. Fantastic. You have save me hours of work!!!!

  42. dude what a shortcut. i’ve been dealing with the devil for ages with this shit. So glad i finally said, ‘there HAS to be a better way than stretch my pinky and thumb across the d and enter k.’

    thanks :)

  43. OMG thank you so much, i have a hard time delete my brushes… :-D

  44. Thanks a lot.Works Fine On CS5

  45. There is another way that will save you even more time….Go to

    Edit…Preset Manager

    You can select multiple brushes by holding down the CTRL or the Shift button on your keyboard. Delete as many as you like in one shot.


  46. kulwant singh May 1st, 2012

    Thanks for help i save much time for this

  47. Is there a way to recover a brush if it is accidentally delete/cut using this method?

  48. Johnny Orff August 2nd, 2012

    Just the ‘ducks nuts’ !!!! Fanx !!!!

  49. Wow! These are Brilliant! Many Thanks Franz!

  50. I’ve got millions of brushes and hate some of them. Never found something this quick, but I knew one day I would find it! YOU ROCK! Thanks

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  52. Thanks for that really helpful tip!

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