How to View PSD Files Without Photoshop on Mobile or a PC
PSD is the current file extension for Photoshop documents (or layered image files). The thing is, Photoshop is commercial software that requires you to pay for a license to use it. This is fine if you work with graphic design on a regular basis, but if you only want to view the contents of a single file, this may seem unreasonable. Fortunately, there are workarounds to opening these files.
How to View a PSD File Without Photoshop on Windows
As the Windows PC is one of the most versatile platforms. The software tools that are available for viewing PSD files are rather varied. We will list some of the best applications available, along with the steps on how to view PSD files in them.
A free image viewer and editing tool, Irfanview has been around for quite a while and has proven to be quite versatile in the types of files it can support. The program now supports viewing PSDs by default. To do this:
From File Explorer
- Right-click on a PSD file on your file explorer.
- Choose ‘Open with,’ then find and choose Irfanview. If the Always use this program to open this file checkbox is enabled, this will set Irfanview as the default program. Disable this if you do not want to automatically use Irfanview when you double click PSD files.
- Click on File.
- Click on Open.
- Navigate to the folder that contains your PSD File, then select it.
- Click on the Open button on the lower right corner.
- Irfanview should now open your file.
A fully featured imaging tool that offers a lot more functionalities than Irfanview. Although the pro version needs to be paid for, you can download a lite version that is free to use as long as you want. If you only want to view PSD files, the lite version should be enough for your needs. To open PSD files in Artweaver, do the following:
From the File Explorer
- Right-click the file as described above. This time choose Artweaver instead of Irfanview.
- Click on File.
- Click on Open.
- Use the Open Document window to navigate to your PSD file’s location then click on Open.
- If you can not see your PSD file, make sure that either PSD or All Formats is selected in the window next to the Filename Text box.
An open-source image editing software, Gimp is fully free and has been ported to a lot of other platforms, including macOS and Linux. It is always being updated, further increasing its already impressive functionality. If you need an image editor there is no reason for you to not try out Gimp. To open PSD files in this program, follow these steps:
In File Explorer
- Similar to the above programs, right-click, then choose Gimp under Open With.
- If Gimp prompts you to convert the Image Profile, click on Convert. The file should be loaded onto Gimp.
- Alternatively, if Gimp is open, you can drag and drop the PSD file from your File Explorer Window onto the banner on the upper left corner of the program. Click on Convert when prompted.
- Click on File.
- Choose Open.
- You can use the Search function to type the name of your File or Navigate the folders to locate it the click Open.
- The Convert prompt box will also pop up. Click on Convert.
- Your file should now be open.
How to View a PSD File Without Photoshop on a Mac
Unlike Windows, macOS comes with programs that can open PSD files by default. The Preview and Quick Look apps included are fully capable of viewing the files without any additional apps needed. To view the file, do the following:
If Preview has been set as your default image viewer
- Double click on the PSD file to open it in the app.
If Preview is not your default image file
- Open the Preview app.
- When asked what file to open, browse for the location of your PSD file.
- Click Open.
If Preview is already open
- Click on File.
- Click on Open.
- Search for the location of your PSD file. Select it then click Open.
In addition to the default viewer, Gimp, as stated earlier, has a version for the Mac OS X. Download Gimp then follow the instructions as given above for Windows PC.
How to View a PSD File Without Photoshop on a Chromebook
The Chromebook is a rather peculiar platform, as it is subject to the whims of Chrome OS. No apps can be installed on Chrome without being approved by Google. A workaround would be to enable the Google Play store then installing PSD viewer apps from there. To enable your Google Play Store, if you haven’t done so, do the following:
- Click on Quick Settings on the bottom right of your Chromebook screen.
- Click on Settings, this is the Gear icon to the upper right of the popup menu.
- Scroll down until you see the Google Play Store tab. Click on Turn On.
- Read the Terms of Service, then click on Accept.
- You will now be able to browse the Google Play store and find apps that can open PSD files. A few of the popular ones are listed below.
A free app that, as the name suggests, can be used to view PSD files. The app itself is rather straightforward. Open the app, then use the built-in file explorer to navigate to the PSD file’s location. Tapping on the file then will open it. There are no editing tools in the app, as it was designed only for viewing.
Coming from the creator of Photoshop itself, Adobe Photoshop Mix is free, but you will need an Adobe account to be able to use it. Fortunately, creating one does not cost a thing. You can head over to the Adobe website and use your email or Facebook address to create a new account if you don’t yet have one.
Google Drive also has the capability of viewing PSD files without having to install Photoshop. The details on how to do this will be given in the Google Drive section below.
How to View a PSD File Without Photoshop on an Android Device
As there is no native PSD file viewer on Android devices, the best way to view PSD files would be to download apps for that purpose. On an Android phone or tablet, this is done by going through the similar Google Play. As we have already detailed several of the most popular Google Play PSD Viewer apps in the Chromebook section, you can use those for Android devices as well.
Also, similar to the Chromebook, you can use Google Drive to perform the same thing. Details of which are given on the Google Drive section below.
How to View a PSD File Without Photoshop on an iPhone
Unlike its desktop counterpart, iOS does not have a built-in PSD viewer available from the off. To be able to open PSD files, you are going to have to download apps that will do the job. We have listed some of the more popular ones below:
Adobe has released an iOS version of the app available for Chrome OS and Android. The controls for using the app is similar to its Android version, as they are technically the same program.
Another hugely popular image editing app on the iPhone, The Image Converter, as the name implies, can transform a multitude of file types into different image file versions. One of the related functions for doing this is the ability to open those files and see their contents. The Image Converter has PSD compatibility and can access these files by opening them through the app’s menu. Converting PSDs to non-layered images like jpeg or bmp would result in the image losing the layer data.
How to Preview a PSD File with Google Drive
Unknown to a lot of people who use Google Drive as a simple online storage solution, this cloud drive by Google has the inherent ability to open PSDs without needing any other apps. This is important as most of the other platforms can access Google Drive as long as they have an internet connection. This eliminates the need to download any third-party apps if you just want to look at the image files. To open a PSD file in Google Drive, follow these steps:
- Open Google Drive.
- Click on the +New button on the left menu.
- Choose File Upload.
- Use the Navigation window to locate your PSD file. Click on the file, then click on Open.
- Once the file has finished uploading, either double click the popup menu or the file on your Drive Menu.
- The image will then be displayed on your screen as a preview.
Working Around Inaccessibility
PSD files are favored by a lot of Graphic Artists as it supports images that contain multiple layers for ease of manipulation. Because of the proprietary nature of the filetype though, it’s not as accessible as the other common image types. Fortunately for everyone, there are always workarounds for these kinds of situations, and for all the available platforms.
Do you know of other ways to view PSD files without photoshop? Share your thoughts in the comments below.