Importing custom content from Painter 11

Let's say you've just upgraded to Painter 12 and now you're wondering what to do with all the great content you created in your old copy of Painter.

Here are a few ways to bring your customizations forward from an older version:

Custom Palettes

First thing you need to do is to get your custom palettes out of Painter 11. You have two options for this: 

  • Go to %APPDATA%\Corel\Painter 11\Default (Windows) or  "UserAccount>Library>Application Support>Corel>Painter 11>Default" (Mac) and grab the CustomPalettes.pal file. Copy it somewhere easy to find, like your desktop.

- or -

  • Launch Painter 11.
    1. Go to Window > Custom Palette > Organizer...
    2. From the list, select the custom palette you want to export. (You can CTRL+CLICK to multi-select.)
    3. Select Export... and save the .PAL file somewhere easy to find, like your desktop.

Now, in Painter 12 do the following: 

  1. Go to Window Custom Palette > Organizer...
  2. Select Import...
  3. Browse to and select the .PAL file you saved earlier.

 In theory, you can use this technique on custom palettes created in any version of Painter back to version 8.1. However, not every command, brush or library item will import correctly as many of these have changed from version to version.

Another very important issue to note is that if you import a custom palette from Painter 11 that references some content that you don't have in Painter 12 (ex. a custom paper texture) it will not import the paper. You'll only have a button on a custom palette that doesn't do anything.


To get custom content in to Painter 12, follow these steps:

In Painter 11: 

  1. Open the media selector that contains the content you want to export. (ex. The Paper Selector )
  2. From the flyout menu, select the Mover option (ex. Paper Mover...)

  3. Select New... and save the file to your desktop.
  4. Now, click and drag all the items from the left side to the right side list box.
  5. Click Close
  6. Click Done
In Painter 12:
  1. Open the Media Library panel for the content type that you want to import (ex. Window > Paper PanelsPaper Libraries)
  2. From the Panel flyout, select Import Legacy Paper Library...
  3. Browse to and select the library you exported from Painter 11
The Painter 11 media items should be added as a new library to your library panel.
Now, if you want your legacy custom palettes to work in Painter 12 you need to take one final step: You need to manually drag your imported library items in to the default library. For example, if you have a paper in "Dan's Paper" library, you need to drag it to "Paper Textures". This will re-establish the link between the custom palette and the paper.
Of course, at this point, it might just be easier to create a new custom palette! (SHIFT+DRAG to do this)


You might find that these "hunt-and-peck" methods of importing content piece-by-piece can be tiresome. If you want to bring everything over in one shot, you'll want to move your entire workspace.

To do this:

  1. Launch Painter 11
  2. Select Window > Workspace > Export Workspace ...
  3. Save the workspace to your desktop
  4. Switch to Painter 12
  5. Select Window Workspace > Import Workspace ...
The import process might take a while since the format for all the resource types have changed from Painter 11 to Painter 12 and we need to go through a full conversion/upgrade process for every type.
Once Painter 12 is done importing your workspace, you should find that all your custom content types, brushes and custom palettes from Painter 11 should now be available. 


  • Hi Dan,

    Great post. Helped me clarify my thinking and has started the wheels going to move in the direction that works for me.

    Can I ask for help along the same lines, but different from this post?

    Right now I have P11 and P12 on my machine. I want very much to move some of my brushes, etc to 12, but the file structure on 12 has me all confused.

    After working with Jinny on 11, I created all my custom stuff in the P11 user folder. Back-up was slick. The Program (x86) files were reserved for Painter 11 installed brushes, etc. so that if a re-install had to be done, it was a breeze - nothing lost.

    I tried the same approach for P12, and the custom brush folder was recognized, but the variants did goofy things between the different categories. So I ended up putting all my custom stuff in P12 Program Files just to make them work.

    Can you help with a basic understanding of how the structure works in 12? Your detailed explanations are really clear and well thought out!



  • Anyone having trouble seeing the images in the post?

  • >>Anyone having trouble seeing the images in the post?

    Not me...using Firefox 3.6...

    Also...thanks much for this info...very helpful...


  • Not me either, Dan.

    I agree, your explanations are a pleasure to read. Wish I had more time to do the reading, though.

    About Jim Gahl's question. What he's talking about, I believe, is a known bug that places a folder and an .XML  file in the wrong category folder along with the files for the brush variants that are supposed to be there. This happens when we're using custom brushes and switching from category to category. Messy!

    It takes forever to explain and if I can find some extra time, I'll copy and paste a message I posted on the PainterWorld list the other day. A few people had told us about this but since I hadn't experienced it, poor Jim got my instructions too early (Sorry Jim).

    I'm wondering if you have any news on this bug, or if we'll just have to wait for a patch. What I'm noping for is a temporary workaround for now with the patch coming later along with other fixes.

    Boy oh boy! I do talk a lot. ;o)

    Thanks in advance, Dan.


  • Hi Daniel,

    I can't see the images in the post.  I'm using IE9.

    Concerning Jinny's and Jim's comments, I have found that I have to load my brush libraries with custom brushes into the Application area.  C:/Program files/Corel/Painter 12/Brushes/

    It doesn't stop the files being created and placed in the wrong places, but it does stop the error messages that the category is empty...or if you do not get a message but nothing happens.  

    I much prefer to place my libraries and custom brushes in the user area...User/AppData/Roaming/Corel/Painter 12/Workspace name/Brushes/.  Until there is a patch or fix, putting them in the Application area does work well.

    I love yours and Chris' blogs...very helpful indeed.



  • Skip, can you see the images now? I tried messing with some settings.

  • Jinny, Jim & Skip... I'm not familiar with the brush library issue you're writing about. Is there another post on the forum with more details that you could point me to?

    I just tried creating a simple brush library in my User folder and I didn't run in to any problems. With some more details about exactly what the issues are, I'd be happy to write up a blog post about workarounds/alternatives.

  • Here you go, Dan.

    It's a copy of the message I posted at PainterWorld. It's pretty long to post here so if this doesn't work, I'll send it to you via PM.

    Beatrix and anyone who might use my instructions - What I'm going to tell you, I hadn't experienced until very recently:

    Though I much prefer installing custom brush libraries/categories in the User folder as described in one of my earlier messages, now I've experienced what Karen Bonaker and others were talking about. There's a bug that acts up when we install, then use, custom brushes in Painter 12, if we install them in the Painter 12 User folder.

    Here's an example:

    1.  After launching Painter 12, I loaded the Groovy Brushes library, chose the Cottonball variant, and painted a stroke. Then I left Painter 12 running and went to my User Folder to look inside the Groovy Brushes library > Groovy Brushes category.

    Everything was just as expected.

    2. Back in Painter 12, I loaded one of my custom libraries, named Jin's River Grasses, chose the Jin's River Grasses 1 variant, and painted a stroke. Then I left Painter 12 running and went to my User folder to look inside the Jin's River Grasses library > Jin's River Grasses category but a new folder had been added just above the Jin's River Grasses category.

    Guess what it was?

    3.  It was a copy of the Groovy Brushes category, the last brush category I used, just before switching to the Jin's River Grasses library. Inside that brush category folder were two files, the...

    c_Cottonball.xml file (cached variant) and the

    Cottonball.jpg file (219 x 219 pixel Captured Dab JPG file).

    I won't spend more time on this right now, but it seems the pattern is this:  Painter 12 adds a copy of the last brush category and brush variant we used to the current brush library.

    I'll try to watch the pattern to see if remains this simple. (It is annoying and time consuming cleaning out the added brush category folders and their contents!)

    So pay attention to this, folks and for now the best solution is not to do what I advised earlier.

    Instead, install extra and custom brush libraries in the application/program folder where Painter 12  was installed, using the following path:

    Mac - Applications > Corel Painter 12 > Brushes

    Windows - Program Files > Corel > Corel Painter 12 > Brushes

    Windows Vista - Program Files > Corel > Painter 12 > Brushes

    Windows 7 - Program Files > Corel > Painter 12 > Brushes

    Sorry about the bother. I sincerely hope Corel will release a fix for this (along with several other fixes) in the upcoming patches and that they arrive soon.

    In the meantime, this one is manageable and we can continue enjoying what does work in Painter 12.

    Jinny Brown

    Visit PixelAlley

    and The PainterFactory