How to edit layers in psd without photoshop

Written by briensouthward
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How to edit layers in psd without photoshop
The GIMP offers full-featured photo editing for free. (reflex camera image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

You don't need to own Adobe Photoshop to edit PSD files. Adobe's PSD format was created for Photoshop, but free software such as The GIMP can read and write PSD layers, all without having to spend hundreds of dollars on high-end graphics software. With the help of The GIMP, you can have full-featured photo editing capabilities without worrying about the cost of expensive software.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Download The GIMP from its official website. It is available for nearly any platform, so there should be a version for you regardless of operating system. Set aside at least 200 megabytes of free hard drive space for the install process. Although there are a few other programs that can view Adobe's PSD format without editing, The GIMP is by far the most widely used program for editing them.

  2. 2

    Open the "Layers" dialogue, under "Window," to view the layers in your PSD file. This should open a box listing every layer in the file. In many cases, the "Layers" dialogue opens automatically when the file is opened. You can now access each layer in the image individually for editing.

  3. 3

    Consider trying a modified version of The GIMP, known as GIMPshop, if you are already familiar with the Photoshop interface. Although the two are very similar, GIMP's graphical user interface is somewhat different from Photoshop's, and experienced Photoshop users may find the differences confusing.

Tips and warnings

  • The GIMP has its own format, but it is capable of writing PSD files as well.
  • Double-check to make sure you choose the right format when you save your file.
  • There is a modified version of The GIMP known as GIMPshop which is designed to look more similar to Adobe Photoshop.

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