One of the most frustrating things on a computer is trying to view a file that you just cannot open. This is especially true for Photoshop files on Mac computers that do not have Photoshop installed. You might think there is no solution outside of some “less than trustworthy” third-party websites that claim to help. The good news is that there are some solutions that are easier than you might think. Let’s jump right into the best ways to view a Photoshop file on a Mac without Photoshop being installed.
Preview is the default image and PDF viewer on macOS – and app that is something of a jack of all trades. It’s far more capable than most people give it credit for, and this is especially true when it comes to Photoshop. Using it to open a .PSD file type could not be easier:
- If Preview is already set as your default image viewer, you only need to double-click on the .PSD file, and it will open right up in Preview. Unfortunately, you will not be able to do much more than Preview’s basic edits, but you will be able to view the file in its entirety.
- If Preview is not set as your default image viewer, this is not an issue whatsoever. You can open the file in one of two ways. The first is to double-click on the .PSD file. It will open up a small window asking you which installed app you would like to use to view the file. Click on Preview. Separately, you can try the second method by finding the file in the file system and right-clicking and selecting “Open With -> Preview.” Both methods will end in the same result, opening the file in Preview.
- One final way to view a file in Preview is to view a file while Preview is already open. Head to “File -> Open,” and then find and select your .PSD file.
There is little question that Preview is a vastly underlooked part of the macOS ecosystem. That it can open and view Photoshop files is just one of the many reasons all Mac users should give it a long, hard look.
Using Google Drive
You might scratch your head at the idea of using Google Drive as a Photoshop file viewer, but that’s exactly what it is. Google Drive is far more than a tool to open PSD files, but it’s another one of the quickest and easiest ways to do so. This method is specific to the desktop, so Google Drive desktop users should know that trying to open a Photoshop file on the desktop will force them to use Preview.
Getting a PSD file into Google Drive is easy, and for those that are familiar with the system, you need only a Gmail address to access Google Drive. Its most basic plan is free for all users. Adding a new PSD file is as basic as going to “New -> File Upload” and browsing for the file. Once you locate the file, click “Open.” Google Drive will now upload the file and drop it into a predetermined location. When the upload is finished, double-click on the file, and it will open in a Preview window. From here, you can re-download the file.
So why use Google Drive? This method is perfect if you are not on your own Mac or if you need to view a file that is being shared by coworkers, other students in a class, etc. No matter the reason, Google Drive is an ultra-fast way to see PSD files with zero cost involved.
When it comes to opening up PSD files on a Mac without Photoshop, third-party apps are ready to come to the rescue. Assuming Preview and Google Drive are not available options, turn to solutions like Gimp. Gimp has a terrific reputation of being a free Photoshop-esque alternative for both Windows and Mac users alike. Aside from its outstanding price point, there is no need to worry about extensions, plugins or anything of the sort.
All you need to do is download Gimp and go to “File -> Open,” and the file will pop right up. This is where Gimp shines, as this tool can actually process the layers of a PSD file. Unlike Preview or Google Drive, you can now begin to edit, tweak and update the image. It’s not a perfect solution, and there might be some bugs, but for the low, low price of zero dollars, it’s hard to ignore.
For many people, the cost of Photoshop alone is reason enough to never give it a second thought. However, depending on your work, Photoshop files may not be something you can always ignore. In that case, options like Preview, Google Drive and Gimp offer plenty of peace of mind. Knowing that they are all free is just icing on the cake.