How to install and use Drop Shadow Layer Styles

Credits: HGB by Laurie Ann Today’s Story & Mommyish Shadow Styles

If you aim for your digital scrapbook pages to look lifelike, you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with the perfect shadows for your layouts.

Drop shadows can make or break the realism of your layout, so to get realistic, consistent results many scrappers use their favorite shadow style sets.

What is a shadow style set?

A shadow style set is a set of premade shadows set up to reflect the size and density of the different embellishments you use on your scrapbook pages. For example, ribbon, buttons, washi tape, flowers.

Usually the set includes an .ASL file (Adobe Photoshop Style file) which contains a number of different styles.

When you install the .ASL file all of these different shadow styles are ready for you to use with the click of a mouse.

How to install a shadow style set

Firstly download and unzip a shadow style set.

In Photoshop Elements 11 and newer, it’s a simple process to install styles.

  1. Be sure you are Expert mode.
  2. Head to the Effects panel
  3. Click on Styles.
  4. Then select the panel menu icon panel menu
  5. Click Load Styles…
  6. Browse to find your .ASL file
  7. Click Load

Now you’ll see a new selection of styles in your
Effects panel


In Photoshop CC or CS you can simply double click on the .ASL and they will be loaded into your
Styles panel.

In earlier versions of Photoshop Elements 10 and earlier it’s a little more difficult, but
there’s some instructions here from Wendyzine.

All layer styles work the same way, so you now know how to install
any styles you can lay your hands on!

How to use a shadow style

Layer styles are very easy to use. Simply:

  • Select the layer you want to add a shadow to
  • Double click on the thumbnail of the shadow you want to apply (in Photoshop CC or CS, just click once)
  • The layer is now shadowed!

To use another layer style:

  • Select the layer
  • Double click on the thumbnail of the new shadow you want to apply (in Photoshop CC or CS, just click once)
  • The shadow is now replaced!

To remove a layer style
, either:

  • Select the layer(s) you want to remove the style
  • Right click on the layer in the layer panel
  • Click Clear Layer Style
  • All the layer styles are now gone!


  • Select the layer(s) you want to remove the style
  • Select the Layer menu then Layer Style – Clear Layer Style
  • All the layer styles are now gone!

Where can I get shadow styles?

There’s many sets of shadow styles around the digital scrapbooking community that will give you different results. So why not browse around and see which styles will fit
your scrapbooking style.

Learn more about shadows

In Photoshop Elements you can make some basic changes to the drop shadows after you’ve applied them, by heading to
Layer – Layer Style – Style Settings…

layer style settings

Play around with the size, color, distance and opacity and you’ll be able to tweak your shadows a little more. You can even drag your mouse over the layer and move the shadow around while this dialog box is showing.

If you love playing with your shadows, at the Daily Digi there are several posts about drop shadows to whet your appetite:

There’s even a whole episode of the Digi Show dedicated to drop shadows
You say Opacity, I’ll say Opacity.

Keep it Simple

As for me, I like to keep it simple and choose from my favorite shadow styles most of the time.

Do you use shadow styles? Which are your favorites?