PSD — which stands for Photoshop Document — is the default file extension of the most popular image editing tool Photoshop. Theoretically, you need Photoshop to open and edit a PSD file. It turns out, you can open and edit PSD files without using Photoshop. There are several photo editing tools out there which have the compatibility with PSD files.

PSD itself is a raw document format. A PSD file stores an image and the editing elements supported by Photoshop like layers (including layer masks), transparency, text, alpha channel, clipping paths and so on.

GIMP and Photopea are two of the image editing tools that have the compatibility with PSD files. GIMP is a cross-platform desktop-based image editing tool while Photopea is an online-based image editing tool. The two can be used for free. Not all PSD files might will be open perfectly by those tools, depending on the contained elements.

How to open PSD files using GIMP

As mentioned, GIMP is a free image editing tool. It is touted as the best free alternative to Photoshop. GIMP is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. You can download the binary file of GIMP on its official site.

GIMP has the compatibility with Photoshop. You can either save your works into PSD file or open and edit PSD files created with Photoshop. Again, not all PSD files created with Photoshop might will be open perfectly by GIMP because not all Photoshop elements are available on GIMP.

To open a PSD file using GIMP, launch GIMP and click the File menu. Select Open (Ctrl+O)

Browse the PSD file you want to open and click the Open button.

How to open PSD files using Photopea

Photopea is an online photo editing tool. It has the similar interface to Photoshop. This tool also allows you to either save you works into PSD file or open and edit PSD files created with Photoshop. Since it is web-based, you can use it no matter the operating system you use.

You can use Photopea for free, but have to deal with ads banner. Premium version is available for ad-free image editing. To open a PSD file using Photopea, visit the website of Photopea. Click the File menu and select Open (Ctrl+O).

Browse the PSD file you want to open and click the Open button.

Final thoughts

PSD is a default raw file format of Photoshop. PSD itself is actually a proprietary file extension (belong to Adobe), much like DOCX, XLSX, NEF, CR2 and so on. However, some photo editing tools are developed with the compatibility with PSD file. Including GIMP and Photopea. Not all PSD files created with Photoshop can be open perfectly on GIMP and Photopea since not all Photoshop elements are available on those tools.

If you want to proof if GIMP and Photopea can really open a PSD file created with Photoshop, you can try open this PSD file from Freepik. You can also refer this this post to discover more free PSD files

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