PSD files are created in Adobe Photoshop image editing software. When you save a file in Photoshop, it is saved with an extension of .psd (which is an acronym for the file type named “PhotoShop Document”). Photoshop supports most other types of image files, such as, JPG (or JPEG), BMP, and GIF. It is also compatible with most widely used image modes, including Bitmap, Grayscale, Duotone, Indexed Color, RGB, CMYK, Lab, and Multichannel.
The most powerful feature of Photoshop is that it allows you to create files having different “layers”, so that you can edit specific sections at a later date, as per your requirements. However, in order to work with PSD files that are created with Photoshop, you must have the software installed in your PC. Otherwise, you cannot edit PSD files.
Adobe Photoshop is quite an expensive piece of software, and many users cannot afford it. Fortunately, if you just need to view PSD files without Photoshop, there is a way. There is a utility named “PSD File Viewer” that allows you to view thumbnails of PSD files stored in your hard disk. You may also view the files in full size, but the files are all in read-only mode (meaning you can only view the files, but not edit any of those). If you wish to edit the PSD files, you will still have to get a copy of Photoshop. PSD File Viewer works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista operating systems.
If you have Windows Vista operating system installed in your PC, then you have another way of viewing PSD files without Photoshop. The Preview Handler add-in for Windows Vista allows the user to watch previews of most types of image files, including PSD, JPG/JPEG, GIF, and BMP. PSD files can also be previewed using this add-in. Open Windows Explorer, and you will see the preview of the images in the Preview Pane itself. You will also be able to view specific details about the images you preview. For instance, you can see the dimensions of the images and the number of layers present in each image. You can also view details regarding the resolution, color depth and information regarding the compression algorithm used in the PSD images.
However, both these image viewers have a common problem. The image previews you can see using these utilities will still be in read only format, meaning you still cannot edit those without Adobe Photoshop.