Been working on something, I see it in the recent list inside PS, but it cannot be opened.

I saved the latest version but would like to recover an older version of the existing PSD file or be able to open the one that I see in the recent list.

Using Photoshop cc.

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


As far as I'm aware, if you've merely used File > Save and closed the file, you have then lost all previous iterations of the file.

The "recent items" uses a cached preview so the preview there does not mean the file exists. And if you "can't open it" then the file is not recoverable.

If you have a backup system in place you may be able to pull the older version from that. Provided the back up hasn't run since you saved changes.

If the file in question is still open you may be able to use the History panel to revert to the originally opened version, then se Save As to save it under a different name.

To the best of my knowledge opening, making changes, and hitting Save eliminates all previous iterations of the file. Regardless of whether they show in "recent items" or not.

  • I think you are right about the lost iterations and unfortunately I closed the PS. can't use the history panel. Do you know of any .temp files / recovery folder that PS automatically saves files while working?
    – Waterlily
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 20:24
  • @Waterlily no there are no such recoverable files for Photoshop. Temp files can't be read really and if you close the document, even those would have been flushed.
    – Scott
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 20:25
  • By the way, I've done this many times and always kick myself. I feel your pain. But I don't think there's any solution other than manually recreating or pulling from backups. And now that Photoshop, Illustrator et al have auto-save features it can be worse at times if you forget to resave a file as soon as you open it, or copy it before opening it.
    – Scott
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 20:31
  • Thanks for all your help @Scott, lots of work has gone down the drain.. sure is painful :( guess I'll just have to recreate. and learn for next time.
    – Waterlily
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 22:06
  • I hate to be "that guy" this never happens to, but I have a habit of saving every major change (I guess that happens every half an hour or so) as a new file... something like "asset_name_1"..."asset_name_2", then at some point in the project I (usually) delete the old ones. So perhaps you could think about adopting that strategy in future. I won't even go into my backup strategy...that annoys everyone even fellow geeks haha. Commented May 12, 2018 at 6:13

In the project, go to File. Toward the bottom of the list, click 'VERSION HISTORY'. It will show you what each version looked like. Looked like it saved about every 10 minutes or so for the span of the project. Then click revert to this verison.

I had a moment where I realized a whole character had gotten deleted and I could not undo enough to get it back to when that had just happened. So,this is how I got the character back without loosing all the work I did after the character disappeared. In the 'reverted to history version' I chose, I collected everything about the character into a smart object and moved it to a separate page. I went back to version history and reverted back to the latest version and then dragged my character back into to the scene of my most recent work. Phew! Otherwise I would have had to figure out what details needed redone to catch back up. Thank goodness I spotted a way.

Hope this helps someone. -jan 2023

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