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Everything About Photoshop Document File (PSD File)

Updated on Tuesday, May 7, 2024

iBoysoft author Eudora Liu

Written by

Eudora Liu
Professional tech editor

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Jessica Shee

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What are PSD Files & How to Open A PSD File

Summary: If you are a graphic artist or photographer, you must be very familiar with the .psd extension format. This post from iBoysoft give a full introduction to PSD file and describes how to open them both on Windows and Mac.

Everything About Photoshop Document File

Most people may know about Adobe Photoshop which can help you to edit and compose raster images in multiple layers and supports masks, alpha compositing, and several color models. Photoshop uses PSD and PSB file formats to help with these features.

If you are an Adobe Photoshop user, you must be familiar with the .psd extension format. Now, let's take some time to learn about PSD Document files and how to open a PSD file.

What are Photoshop Document files?

PSD, Photoshop Document, is Adobe Photoshop's native file format, which can store large amounts of image data, including image layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, annotations, file information, keywords, and other Photoshop-specific elements. It has a maximum height and width of 30,000 pixels and a length limit of two gigabytes.

Some PSD files only contain one single image but the use for a PSD file includes much more than just storing an image file. They support multiple pictures, objects, filters, text, and more, as well as using layers, vector paths and shapes, and transparency.

It can be used in digital design, photography manipulation, etc.

How to open a PSD file on Windows & Mac?

If you want to open PSD files on Windows, you need additional software, like Creative Cloud. But if you want to edit a PSD file, you need to use Photoshop to edit the original file.

Like Windows, you can sign in to Creative Cloud on Mac to edit the PSD file. Except for that, you can also use Preview to open and view it but edit it.

Here are two common methods to open a PSD file:


As we mentioned above, a PSD file is a native file format that belongs to Photoshop, so you can use it to open a PSD file both on Windows and Mac and it's also the easiest way to open and edit a PSD file.

  1. Download and install Photoshop.
  2. Right-click on the PSD file you want to open.
  3. Click Open With and then select Photoshop in the pop-up list.

If Photoshop doesn't show up in the list, choose other and then select it in the Applications list. Or you can launch Photoshop and go to File > Open and choose the PSD file to open.

Open PSD file with Photoshop


Although using Photoshop is the easiest way for you to open and edit a PSD file, you need to pay for it. At this time, you can take GIMP as the alternative. It allows you to open and edit a PSD file for free both on Windows and Mac.

  1. Download and install GIMP.
  2. Right-click on the PSD file.
  3. Click Open With and then select GIMP.

Although GIMP can actually process the individual layers of a PSD file, some layers are unreadable to GIMP or need to be rasterized so that GIMP can work with them. After that, if you need to open it in Photoshop, the PSD file may be corrupted.

Open PSD file with GIMP

Except for the above two apps, you can also use CorelDRAW, PaintShop Pro, IrfanView, etc. to open and edit a PSD file on Windows or Mac. The steps are similar to the above.

Bottom Line

If you are a photographer or graphic artist, the PSD file must be very important for you because it supports images with multiple layers, making the images easy to edit and manipulate. Therefore, it's also essential to learn about what it is and how to open or edit it on different operating systems so that you can work with it better. Hope you can get something useful after reading this introduction.

If you think this post is helpful for you to learn about the PSD file, don't forget to share it.