I would install PhotoShop. I really would. But Adobe seems to insist on me also having Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Updater, and something else — about a gigabyte of software I don’t want gumming up my system.

But I still want to be able to extract the layers from a PhotoShop file as images, with transparency preserved. I’m a fussy one.

Any tools that do this, aside from PhotoShop itself?


You can use Paint.Net with the PSD plugin (+ support thread) to open the PSD file, and then copy and paste individual layers to new documents.

Newer plugin releases may not work with old Paint.net versions. But you can try out older plugin versions.
For example the PSD Plugin v1.04 works well with Paint.NET v3.3.6

The same objective can also be fulfilled with The Gimp, but it is a much bigger install than Paint.Net.


Imagemagick can do it, it's a 6.4MB, free - as in Richard Stallman - download.


Try the free online painting software Pixlr. It allows you to load and edit PSD's without the need to install anything.

Adobe also have a free online version of Photoshop but I'm not sure it allows you to upload and edit PSDs.

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    Unbelievably, Pixlr does seem to work, pretty much. It had a couple of problems with the fairly complex PDF that I tried, but it’s definitely worth a go. – Paul D. Waite Oct 23 '09 at 0:02

On the Mac, Pixelmator can access the layers in PhotoShop files.


Adobe Bridge and Adobe Updater take about 130MB on your HD, not 1GB. (And this is from the latest version of Photoshop.) It's a necessary evil and well worth it, but I appreciate your frustration.

I'd bite the bullet if I were you.

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    I’m glad they‘ve slimmed down this stuff in the latest version, but as regards “It's a necessary evil and well worth it”, with the greatest possible respect: is it bollocks. – Paul D. Waite May 16 '11 at 6:54
  • No. You get access to the best Photographic editing software on the planet. That's why it's worth it. – Django Reinhardt May 16 '11 at 19:17
  • oh, Photoshop’s worth its price, no arguments there. But Adobe Bridge and Updater aren’t worth the hard drive space they take up. Adobe need to learn that they’re making apps, not an operating system. – Paul D. Waite May 16 '11 at 19:31

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