Your friend had created a cool logo and sent you a PSD file, but unfortunately, you are out of town without your work computer. And you want to open a PSD file without Photoshop. So, what is the best way to do that? Well, let’s find out.
But first, what exactly is a PSD file?
When you save any image in Photoshop, the default format is PSD (short for Photoshop document). This PSD file contains all your images, functions like color correction etc store in original quality.
Just like WMA is a propriety of Microsoft, but you can play a WMA audio file with most music player; similarly PSD is owned by Adobe, but other programs can also open (and sometimes edit) a PSD file. So, let’s check them out.
Open PSD files without Photoshop
1. PSD Viewer
PSD Viewer is a free and simple tool for those who just want to see a photo from a PSD file. Simply install the app on your PC and you are good to go. The app lets you do basic stuff like — rotate the image, resize, zoom or save it to any other formats like jpg, gif, BMP, and tiff.
Support for layers – No, sadly you can’t view the layers or make other changes to an image.
Available – Windows (10 MB)
Bottom Line: A simple tool if you are just looking to open a PSD file.
At first glance, PNG PSD Viewer looks like a windows media player. You can view PSD files, run a slideshow, customize it’s interface, change slide show duration and save PSD files to jpg format.
Support for layers – No, though you can not edit your images, you can play the image as a slideshow.
Available- PNG PSD Viewer is a free app for Windows, and it will only consume 1.62 MB of your Internet.
Bottom Line: Simple and best for those who are on slow Internet or in a hurry.
Paint.net is a powerful tool that can open a lot of other stuff like photoshop like playing with layers and editing images. To open a PSD file you need to follow these steps-
Make sure you Paint.net installed and then close the software temporarily.
- Download Paint.NET PSD Plugin.
- Extract ZIP file content.
- Copy PhotoShop.dll
- Navigate to the Paint.NET installation folder (mine is located at C:/Program Files/paint.net).
- Paste the PhotoShop.dll file into the FileTypes subfolder.
- Launch Paint.NET
Support for layers – Yes, Paint.NET is quite similar to PhotoShop both in looks and features. You can resize an image, apply a filter, watch and delete any layer, make adjustments to a picture like increasing saturation and much more. You can also apply Gaussian Blur to an image.
Available: Paint.net only take 6.74 MB of your Disk space. It is free to download for Windows.
Bottom Line: Mini PhotoShop for beginners.
Artweaver is a fantastic tool to open PSD files without any hassle. You can easily watch the layers, create a new layer and make basic changes to an image. Artweaver free version has filters like blur, distort, sharpen and some other necessary filter. You can make adjustments such as increasing Hue/Saturation, Brightness and change Levels of an image. And you can save PSD file to jpeg, TARGA, bitmap, tiff and gif.
Support for layers – Yes, you can create a new layer and make basic changes to the existing ones.
Available: Artweaver is free to use at home, but its commercial version is also available. Its file size is only 11.94 MB and available for Windows 7/8 and 10.
Bottom Line: A basic free tool to open and edit PSD files.
If you are looking for an app to open PSD files on iPad and iPhone then this one will do the trick. Although, just like its name, you can only view your Photoshop file, no editing or anything. Also, the free version of the app is bloated with Ads, which can be removed by buying the pro version for $1. Or you can also try another app called PSD.see (search it on App Store). It also shows you only the image but unlike the former one, it doesn’t have any ads.
Support for layers – No
Bottom Line: A simple PSD viewer for iPhone and iPad.
6. Irfan View
Irfan view is for those who want more, not just displaying a PSD file. Irfan View can do a lot more things like conversion, optimization, scan and printing and create slide shows. It can also play audio/vide but you need to install appropriate plugins. There are a lot of options to save a PSD file and common are jpg, BMP, Raw, and PDF.
Support for Layers – There is no option to watch layers of PSD files in Irfan View
Available: Windows only. It takes 2.03 MB on your Disk.
Bottom Line: Irfan View is all in one tool for opening PSD and other files with proper plugins.
Gimp is the closest open source alternative to Photoshop. The app looks quite similar to Photoshop in terms of layout. With gimp, you can not only open a PSD file but also do basic edit just like you would do with Photoshop. The setup of Gimp is a bit heavy compared to all the other apps in this list.
Support for Layers – Yes, you can also edit your layer with basic functions like resize, crop, blur etc.
Available: Gimp is a cross-platform desktop tool available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Depending on which platform you want to use Gimp, the setup file will weight from 50 MB to 100 MB.
Bottom Line: Off course, Gimp can never be as powerful as Photoshop but when it comes to the basic image editing this is the best you can get for free.
If you want to open a PSD file on Mac OS, then you are in luck. Unlike Windows, Mac OS has a built in program to open PSD files. All you have to do is select the PSD file and hit the space button and it will show you the top layer of your PSD file. Or you can also open the PSD file with Preview if you want to customize it a bit like — rotate, color, change size, annotate etc.
Support for Layers – No.
Available: Mac only.
Bottom Line: A built-in tool, if you just want to see the content of a PSD file and maybe write some text on it.
Also Read: Use Mac’s Preview App like a Pro
9. Google Drive
Google Drive is a beautiful and easy option if you just want to view the image inside PSD file. For that first open Google Drive, then after that drag the PSD file to your Google Drive. Now as soon as the upload will complete, you have a variety of options. Right-click on the archive and select Preview to watch the image. You can print the photograph or convert it using cloud convert.
Bottom Line: Easy to use, Free of cost and fast.
10. Photopia (recommended)
Photopia may seem new to you, but it’s an excellent online website to open PSD files. It is an online version of PhotoShop. You can open a PSD directly from your computer or from a link. It can access your webcam and take a picture directly. Photopia is available in eight different languages and you can customize the Photopia at any time.
Even though it’s a web app, it open a 21 MB PSD file without any problem, while other mobile apps we tried on Android and iOS can’t. Just make sure to request desktop site.
Support for Layers – It shows all the layers of a PSD file. You can also edit your layer with basic features like adjustments, transform the image and is capable of applying various filters.
Available: It’s web tool, which means you can access it from any platform whether it’s Windows, Mac OS, Linux. We also tried it on our Android and iPad and surprising it worked on mobile devices as well.
Bottom Line: It is one of our favorite online tool to open and edit PSD files.
While all the above methods work fine, but if you are in hurry or just want to see the picture from a PSD file, then Google Drive and Photopea is the best option available.
If you can take out some time and install a desktop software, then Gimp is a great option.
So what are you waiting for? Select the best option which suits you and don’t forget to tell us your choice.