What is a PSD File and How to Open It

icon Jun 24, 2022

You might have worked with or seen different file types on your PC, like jpeg or png, but have you ever encountered a PSD file? If so, you might have difficulty opening it to preview what’s inside.

What is a PSD file, how to open one, and if it can be opened with or without Photoshop? Want to know why PSD files don’t open the same way as other file formats?

.psd file in Photoshop

What is a .psd File?

Technically, a PSD file is an Adobe Photoshop file format to save the images in an editable format so that you can edit the file later on. They contain information about the images that have been edited. 

Subsequently, the PSD requires Adobe Photoshop to be viewed or edited. It is an image editing software that saves the completed or partially completed work in multiple files, depending on your need. PSD is one of the file formats in which you can save the work done on Photoshop.

With layers in Photoshop, you can make changes to a task you’ve performed before. For example, if you added a black background to the image but now wish to make the background red, you can change the color of the background layer.

In the PSD format, you can store up to 30,000 pixels of data, making as many edits to an image as you like and saving it as a .psd file. They are used mainly by graphic designers, publishers, and many other professionals.

Working with a PSD is fun because you will not have to do all the editing in an image from scratch; instead, you can open up your saved file and resume your work.

How to Open a PSD File Without Photoshop?

PSD file is only openable in Adobe Photoshop because the file format is designed originally for use in this software. However, you may sometimes want to open a PSD file without Photoshop. In that case, you can use another software for the process. 

Multiple paid and unpaid software help to open a PSD file. The best software to help you open a PSD includes Gimp, Paint.NET, XnView, and others. You can know what is the best Gimp or Photoshop.

How to Open a PSD File in Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is used to open a .psd, as it is the native software of a file. You can open the file and make appropriate changes to the image layers. All Adobe software allows you to open a PSD file.

However, it is only possible in Adobe Photoshop if you want to make changes to the file, follow these steps to open it:

  1.   Go to Adobe Photoshop and click on the open file.
  2.   Select a file in the window after clicking on open a file.
  3.   Select open after choosing the file.
  4.   Now, your file is open to preview and edit.

How to Open a PSD File in Gimp?

Gimp is the best software for opening up a PSD other than Adobe Photoshop. It is an alternative to Photoshop that can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Furthermore, it can open the individual layers as you open them in Adobe Photoshop. However, a disadvantage of using Gimp is that not all layers are readable for it. Gimp can open .psd using these steps.

  1.   Open the Gimp on your system.
  2.   Go to File and select Open.
  3.   Select the file you want to open and click to open it.

Pros and Cons of PSD Files

PSD files come with advantages and disadvantages. Although the pros are more prominent than the cons, you can still not ignore them.


  • Can store pixel data preserving colors and image quality.
  • Help to view and edit the images using multiple layers.
  • Importing and sharing over different mediums is easy. 


  • They are capable of storing extensive amounts of data. In some cases, the size can reach two gigabytes; this makes shifting and storing a bit challenging.
  • Your operating system cannot access the file unless you use a particular software compatible with this type of file.

Wrapping Up

PSD file is beneficial as it contains layers, text, notes, and other important information and details regarding the image, so it’s easy to edit. Additionally, it is identified by the .psd extension.

In Adobe Photoshop, you can save your work as a .psd, allowing you to continue where you left off even after a year. With all the information mentioned above, it will surely be easy for you to work on files in the future. You can efficiently work with a PSD like a professional with some practice.

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