In this article, you’ll learn how to add plugins to the plugin database, if you have sub-folders.

You may come across this pop-up message:

Please first select or open the plugin database subcategory folder(s) that describe this plugin best, then select add to plugin database again

This just means you have to add the plugin to a subfolder, then you can manually click/drag it to the main folder.

I show you step-by-step how to fix plugin database error:

How to Add Plugins to Plugin Database with Subfolders

LEARN: How to Organize FL Studio Plugin Database

If you watched my plugin database organization tutorial, then you may stumble and get confused at this point when trying “Add to plugin database (flag as favorite)”.

This is because when a folder contains subfolders in the Plugin database, the main folder will return this pop-up message, and not allow you to add a plugin! (I am not sure if this is by design, but not a big deal, it’s an easy fix, and we can still get our organization):

This happens if you have a folder within a folder in the Plugin database. For example “My Effects” -> Delay -> Chorus. If you were to “Add to plugin database (flag as favorite)” while highlighted on the Delay folder, the error would happen. You have to be highlighted on the subfolder, like Chorus, and then you can add a plugin. Then you just manually drag the plugins to your desired destination.

Fix FL Studio Pop-Up: “Subcategory folders” for Plugin database error

If you do not have subfolders, “Add to plugin database (flag as favorite)” works great. It creates a thumbnail .fst which you can drag from FL Studio’s Browser.

(I like using subfolders, though, because you can get REALLY organized in FL Studio when selecting VST Effects and Generators.. remember, it’s all about workflow.. and be wise and learn to select the right plugins!).

But when using a subfolder within a folder, you will get the pop-up like shown above, and it won’t allow you to “Add to plugin database” !! Again, the quick fix for this is just to select a subfolder within the main folder, add your plugins via “Add to plugin database”, and then just drag them over manually which can be found here:

C:\Users\[*YOUR USERNAME*]\Documents\Image-Line\FL Studio\Presets\Plugin database

Remember, Generators and Effects are different. So if you want to add a Reverb plugin, you’d add it in the Effects folder .. (I recommend setting it up with “My Effects” and “My Generators” for FL Studio to not touch your organization.. learn more in my plugin database organization tutorial).

For example, if you have a folder called Delay, you may want to create subfolders like Chorus, Phaser, or Flanger, which are all variations of a typical Delay plugin.. (we’re talking like 0-20ms here on some of these delay-like plugins!)

A typical delay plugin as we know it would get quieter with each repeat, but Chorus is similar to a delay plugin, but is a much different effect. I personally like to create a subfolder under Delay called Chorus.. It looks like this..

You can see that Fruity Chorus is stored in Chorus subfolder.. but Delay is the parent folder. You can also see Fruity Delay 2 + Fruity Delay 3.. These are stored in the Delay parent folder, and if I click into one of the subfolders (Chorus, Flanger, or Phaser), I would then get those respective plugins, which are similar to Delay.

How to Easily Add Plugins to FL Studio Database..

Again, you should definitely checkout how to organize and add plugins to the plugin database tutorial.

To add a plugin to the Plugin database, simply click into one of the subfolders, and select “Add to plugin database” in the top-left menu of any plugin in FL Studio. (Remember, there is a difference between Effects and Generators).

Add to plugin database (flag as favorite), available by clicking the top-left menu in any plugin in FL Studio, which adds the plugin to the Plugin database.
Simply click the top-left menu arrow to “Add to plugin database”. First, highlight the folder of the Plugin database within the Browser in FL Studio (the left sidebar).

If your folder is like Effects -> Delay -> Chorus, you cannot directly “Add to plugin database” into Delay, but it would work for Chorus. That is okay.. just simply manually drag the VST once you are done.

This is why I showed why I backup my Plugin database in the cloud. This then becomes my “main copy” of plugins that I use in FL Studio. I can easily transfer this “My Effects” and “My Generators” to any new install or different computer, and have a very similar setup and workflow.

And.. you may have to batch hide .png files which I show here..

I hope that clarifies the workaround. It’s really easy once you get it.

And.. if you follow my recommended approach, you only have to set up your Plugin database once.. then you just copy over the main copy to your working computer.

If you ever add a new plugin, then make sure to update this “cloud version” of your Plugin database. It’s totally worth it.. I really like the workflow.

You can learn more about the Plugin database on my website.

If you would like to learn FL Studio, I offer many courses and books. Or, if you’d like to see my favorite plugins for FL Studio, see my learn your gear page.