Jul 012010

I was working with some custom theme files for WordPress and found I needed to be able to edit Photoshop PSD files in Paint.NET and found a plug-in and some instructions on how to get Paint.NET to open Adobe Photoshop PSD files.  The original article I found was on a site called Digitizor and I am going to go into a little more detail with my readers than the original post there.

The first steps to opening PSD files with Paint.Net are to do the following:

  • Step 2- Put this Photoshop.dll file inside your Paint.Net installation folder under the “FileTypes” sub folder.

eg.  copy Photoshop.dll to C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\FileTypes

  • Step 3 – Start up or Restart Paint.NET

That simple huh, now you can see Photoshop .PSD extension as one that Paint.NET can save to or open.

The good news is that Paint.NET understands all of the Photoshop PSD file layers and will show you each layer to make it easier to do edits and make changes, but the bad news is that when you open a PSD file with Paint.NET it will not always have the layers in the right order. If you open a PSD file with Paint.NET that has many layers this can make it very hard to figure out what the original layer order is supposed to be so that you can slide the layers around to get the image to look correctly. If the wrong layers are on top, then underlying layers will be visibly blocked.

Fortunately for the file I was working with, there were only six layers and it wasn’t hard to decipher and re-order the layers so the image was correct. But for people who haven’t purchased Adobe Photoshop Paint.NET is a fantastic freeware image editing tool that most people can get by with without needing the full featured photoshop. This plug-in which allows you to edit or save to .psd files so that you can work with photoshop format files or save to them so you can share in that format only makes it more valuable as a freeware image editing tool.

I have done previous posts on Paint.NET and you can find Paint.NET addons that offer more effects and tools by reading my previous post on such. You can also read why I think the freeware image editing program Paint.NET is one of the best pieces of software for quick graphics design yet you don’t need the power of photoshop or the steep learning curve.

-Dragon Blogger

Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 13 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino


Technology, Gaming and Wordpress blogger who runs gadget giveaways, helps others with blogging tips, monetization, earning and more!
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  • rainer

    i dont know that this can be done?? usually i have both of them. thx for share this article

  • Paint.NET is my image editor of choice. All this features come for a zero price tag makes it even better. Light on system resources, best for quick and quality image tweaks.

    BTW, agreed with you on the point that the layers get jumbled after you open the PSD files with the plugin enabled in Paint.NET


    • Thanks for your original article, I wouldn’t have been able to find how to open PSD files if I hadn’t found it.

  • Great post Justin, I haven’t much time with paint.net. But it does look a lot better than some of the other free image editors. I normally use Photoshop and GIMP to modify my images when needed. I do need to look at paint.net. It looks promising.

    • For me Paint.NET is easier than GIMP and there are tons of effects you can download and install as add-ons (write your own if you are good with .NET programming too)

      • Thats what I heard about Paint.NET. I plan on checking it out soon. With GIMP you , just have to use it a lot to understand it. But I still think it can be hard to use at times.

  • This is great. I can’t tell you how many time this could have helped me. It will also help me send out some proof easier because you can save it as a smaller file. Thanks! this helps a lot.

  • Thx for sharing this tool. It used to take time to edit photoshop files,I am sure gonna try it out. The best part is that it is a freeware.

  • What Adobe? For me the best is Corel PhotoImpactX.
    Is ,,fantastique”.

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  • Interestingly, I’ve worked in Paint.NET, and constantly faced with this. By the way, do not open all the large PSD files in the program. Already a year I am pleased to use Photoshop, all the problems immediately disappeared.