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What Is A PSD File?

PSD stands for Photoshop Document and is the native file type created by the Adobe image editing application, Photoshop.  Photoshop is a powerful editing tool that allows for a totally non-destructive editing workflow (if used correctly!).  Much of the workflow centres around the use of ‘layers’ to selectively apply adjustments and add or remove content from the image.  A PSD file saves all of this layer content, as well as other content such as saved selections of specific areas in your image.  A PSD file can be as simple as a single image, or as complex as a file containing hundreds of layers, images, masks and selections, with a file size in the hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes.



Can Any Other Programs Open PSD Files?

Photoshop is the only program that can truly edits PSD files and maintain them in the same format.  Adobe Lightroom can open the files and apply a range of edits to them, but the edits are to the flattened image, so layers cannot be used. Affinity Photo and Pixelmator can open PSD files and maintain the layers.  Affinity Photo can also export as a PSD file.

Additional Reading:

  • What Is A TIFF File?
  • What Is A DNG File?
  • What Is A JPEG?