A .psd file is a Photoshop document. It contains layers, fonts, and other design elements that can be edited in Photoshop.
Whether you’re just getting started with Adobe Photoshop or you’re an experienced user with a specific question, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions about working with .psd files—and written the best answers on the web!
Can You Edit .Psd Files?
Yes, you can edit .psd files in Adobe Photoshop. Most .psd files have layers for the text, images, and design elements that they contain.
If you’re subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Photoshop is part of your subscription plan, and you’ve installed the Creative Cloud and Photoshop apps on your computer, then the answer is yes.
But if you’re not subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud or the apps are not installed on your computer, then the answer is most likely no.
Multiple Creative Cloud plans include Adobe Photoshop.
The “Photography” plan, which includes Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and 20GB of cloud storage space for your documents, is the cheapest. The “Creative Cloud All Apps” plan is the most expensive, but it also offers the best value because it unlocks all Adobe Creative Cloud apps for you.
Can You Edit .Psd Files Without Photoshop
Yes, you can view and edit .psd files with a number of applications other than Adobe Photoshop. However, keep in mind that .psd files are Photoshop source files, so you may lose data if you try to open them in other graphics editors.
Joel Lee lists a number of ways to open .psd files without Photoshop for Make Use Of. These include GIMP, Paint.NET with the PSD Plugin installed, and the Photopea web-based graphics editor.
Can You Print .Psd Files?
If you want to print a .psd file at home, you can print it directly from Photoshop. Just click File > Print and choose the settings you want your printer to apply to the document.
If you’re sending a document to a printer, it’s better to export your document in a print-friendly file format, such as .tiff or .pdf. Almost all printers prefer .pdf (exported with “Print Quality”).
When exporting your Photoshop document for printing, make sure the colors are set to CMYK (not RGB) and save it at a high resolution, such as 250-300 dpi (dots per inch) at 100% of the output paper size.
Is .Psd a Lossy or Lossless File Format?
Image files, especially photos and graphics with a lot of detail, can contain a ton of data. That data takes up space! It’s not uncommon for the uncompressed .raw files of digital cameras, for example, to be hundreds of megabytes, sometimes gigabytes large.
What’s the case with Photoshop’s files?
Adobe Photoshop’s .psd and .psdc files are uncompressed files. Since no compression is applied to their contents, they are either neither lossy nor lossless.
This is normal when you consider that .psd files are intended for image editing and photo retouching. The user editing the file needs the highest quality of that file available at all times during the editing or retouching process.
Are .Psd Files Vectors?
Adobe Photoshop files, or files with the .psd and .psdc extensions, are raster graphics. This means that they consist of square pixels on a grid—and not of mathematical formulas like vector graphics do.
The more pixels a raster image has, the higher its resolution and the greater its level of detail.
For example, a raster image with a resolution of 800 x 400 px contains (800 * 400) = 320,000 pixels, and a raster image with a solution of 1,024 x 768 px contains (1,024 * 768) = 786,432 pixels.
The main advantage of raster images is that they capture a lot of detail. However, the images lose detail—and visual quality—when they are scaled up or down, which is where the vector file format excels.
Other examples of raster file formats are, in alphabetical order, .bmp, .gif, .jpeg and .jpg, .png, .raw, and .tiff. Raster file formats are intended for photos and paintings, whereas vector file formats are best for shapes and illustrations.
Raster vs. Vector Images
Raster and vector files are the two main formats for digital images.
Photoshop is a raster editing software, and it’s intended first and foremost for digital photography editing and retouching.
As a general rule, the raster file format is suitable for capturing images with a lot of data and detail, such as photographs, paintings, and hand drawings. On the other hand, the vector file format is for simpler graphics with fewer details, such as logos, shapes, and digital illustrations.
Can a .Psd File Be Vector?
Adobe Photoshop’s .psd files are raster files, so a .psd file can never be a vector. However, a .psd file can contain one or multiple vector images embedded in it in the form of smart objects.
Related: If you want to know how to embed vector graphics as smart objects in Adobe Photoshop, check out “Can You Open .Ai Files in Photoshop?”
With that being said, you can open .psd files in Adobe Illustrator and convert them to editable objects as much as possible. Once you’ve opened the .psd files, you can convert them into vectors with the “Image Trace” button.
Alternatively, you can use Vector Magic to convert your raster images to vector files automatically.
Can .Psd Files Be Compressed?
Since Photoshop files are meant to be opened and edited at maximum quality, these files are uncompressed. You can’t compress a .psd, .psdc, or .psb file for the same reasons.
However, if you have too many Photoshop files on your computer and want to save some space—or you need to reduce their file size so you can upload them to the cloud—you can archive them in a .zip archive.
On a macOS computer, this is easily done by right-clicking on each .psd file (or the entire folder) and selecting “Compress.” A .zip archive will be created within a few seconds with them in the same folder.
On a Windows or Linux computer, you will need to install an archiver utility tool such as the free and open-source 7-Zip.
Can .Psd Files Be Opened in Adobe Illustrator?
If you’re designing a vector document in Adobe Illustrator and you want to use a photo or raster graphic edited in Adobe Photoshop, you might be wondering if you can open the Photoshop .psd source file directly in Illustrator.
Yes, you can open .psd files in Adobe Illustrator. You can import your .psd file into Illustrator by opening it as a standalone file with File > Open, or you can place it inside your vector document with File > Place.
When you open a .psd file in Illustrator, you are prompted to either load the layers as separate objects or flatten the file to a single layer. After you import the .psd file, you can convert the layers to vectors using the “Image Trace” button.
Can .Psd Files Be Opened in Adobe InDesign?
If you’re designing a document for print in Adobe InDesign and you want to use a photo or graphic edited in Adobe Photoshop, you might be wondering if you can open the Photoshop .psd source file directly in InDesign.
Yes, you can open .psd files in Adobe InDesign. You can import your .psd file into InDesign by opening it as a standalone file with File > Open, or you can place it inside your InDesign document with File > Place.
Can .Psd Files Be Opened in GIMP?
There is no substitute for Photoshop, and I say that only as someone who has been using the program for almost 20 years. 🙂
GIMP, the free and open-source graphics editor, can open .psd files and preserve most of their layer information. However, GIMP’s ability to read and edit Photoshop files is limited and likely to remain so, which means you may experience data loss.
Simple documents should open and render properly, and you should have no trouble editing them. But the more layers and settings you apply, especially if you use third-party plugins, the more likely GIMP will have trouble reading everything.
You know that’s the case when GIMP’s giving you errors, the document appears broken, and/or some of the layers are missing.
Can .Psd Files Be Opened in Canva?
Unfortunately, you can’t use Adobe Photoshop (.psd, .psdc, and .psb) or Adobe Illustrator (.ai and .eps) files in Canva. You can only upload the following file types to Canva: .heic/.heif, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .webp.
If you’re working on an image in Photoshop and you want to use it in Canva, you’ll have to export it in .png or .jpeg format, then upload it to Canva and use it as a design element.
If you want to edit a .psd file in Canva but you don’t have Photoshop, you can convert it to PNG for free online, then upload it into Canva.