Psd File: How to Open and Convert

By Tata Rossi 17 days ago, Photo Editing Tips

psd logo

PSD is an image file format that has been created in Adobe Photoshop. It is the native format used to save files in Ps, which is still considered to be one of the most feature-rich and popular photo editing software for photographers and creatives.

photoshop interface

What is PSD file?

PSD files contain various graphic layers, text information, specific notes, layer masks and other data from Photoshop. The peculiarities of this format are the support of shapes of different sizes and volumes, gradients, the possibility to choose three color bits - 8/16/32, which allows you to work with it in more detail. The reason why professionals choose PSD for work is because they can save layers in one file and work with them even when opening the file multiple times. PSD supports a large number of tools for work with color while saving them in adjustment layers.

It is worth noting that the format supports monochrome images, multi-channel models, RGB and CMYK color systems, as well as various shades of gray.

  • Saves layers and layer folders
  • Keeps transparency and translucency
  • Saves vector graphic elements
  • Image compression without quality loss (RLE-compression)
  • PSD files are big
  • Works well only in Adobe Photoshop

How to Open a PSD File?

The problem is that the PSD file format is not open, as is the case with PNG, JPG or BMP. It was developed by Adobe and opening such a file in Photoshop, you can always continue editing from the place where you stopped earlier.

However, if you do not want to buy Photoshop or you typically work in other software, then you have to look for an alternative. Some programs can only open PSDs, so no editing is possible. However, this is enough in most cases. By the way, Mac OS users can open PSD correctly using the built-in Apple Preview.

Professional Software to Open a PSD File

Other Adobe software. If you use such programs from the same company as Illustrator, ImageReady, Adobe Fresco, then you can easily open a PSD format image in them with support for all layers.

Affinity Photo. In this program from Serif you can export the image in this format. All layers are preserved, except for adjustment ones. You can also open them but in this case, all adjustment layers will work fine.

Capture One Pro. You can also export and download PSD files in the latest version of this software. This feature was only added recently, but now many professionals can use the most powerful software combination of Photoshop + Capture One for photo processing.

Free Software to Open a PSD File

GIMP. The first free application that is worth trying to open a PSD file. GIMP edits such files to the full extent. The project will be opened not just as a static picture. It will display available layers so you can perform certain operations on them. However, when making changes and saving a file, you may encounter some problems opening it in Photoshop.

PaintNET. To open the PSD file extension here, you will first need to install a special plug-in. Download the content of the plugin, open the archive and copy the PhotoShop.dll library to the directory where the editor is installed (most often it is C:/Program Files/ The project layers will be displayed, but Paint.NET does not support all the features of Photoshop, so some layers may not be available or even generate errors when opening a file.

PSD Viewer. This is a small program to view PSDs which operates at high speed. It can open an image with all layers, however, not allowing you to perform any editing.

Open a PSD File Online

Photopea Online Editor. This app successfully works with individual layers, which is very cool for an online editor. Thus, it becomes possible to edit a PSD file wherever you are, from any computer. You can also export your work to PSD.

Pixlr Editor. Like the option described above, Pixlr allows you to open and create PSD projects. Work with layers is supported, but not all imported styles are correctly transferred to this web application. Mind that you won’t be able to export a document back to the same format.

How to Convert a PSD?

If you have a PSD file and you just need to have a standard image on hand, for example in JPEG format, the best way is to convert it using special programs.

XnConvert. This is a universal converter for a wide variety of images. Using this program, you can convert 500 image formats to 80 others. This software even supports batch conversion, folder import, filters, resizing and other necessary parameters for a user to work with images.

FileZigZag. An alternative PSD file converter that works with the most popular image formats. To get started, you need to upload the source image, select the desired format, and then wait for the link to the converted image.

Zamzar. Another online service that is designed to convert images. It supports the most common graphic formats and even several formats of CAD systems.

Read more about the Difference between JPEG, PNG and other formats.


  • • What Is a PSD File Size Limit?

The dimension of an image in this file should not exceed 30,000 pixels and the overall size of 2GB.

  • • Can I Make a PSD File Larger Than 2GB?

When your image exceeds such numbers, you will need a similar format, PSB. The pixel count can reach 300,000, and the size of such a file can be nearing 4 exabytes (4 billion GB).

  • • Are There Any PSD Analogs?

Similar to a PSD file extension but not quite equal to it are a few more file formats that are not too common. Among them are WPS, XSD, PPS, etc.