I do not have Photoshop installed on my own local machine unfortunately, but would like to know if Photoshop can export an image file to a PNG and retain the separate layers for a different program such as Paint.net?


Like marcusdoesstuff says, one option would be to save out your file in a TIFF.

Another option would be to save it in a PSD format and use a plugin to open the PSD in Paint.NET. One is available here, although I can't speak to how well it works as I do not have Paint.NET to test it.

  • PNG does not inherently support layers. So exporting a PNG would merge all of the layers into one. I would recommend PSD or TIFF as stated above because they support layers. – Elliot Labs LLC Sep 30 '14 at 21:29

If you export in PNG format, all layers are rasterized. This format aren't vectorial and doesn't support layers. Only Adobe Fireworks (Dismised) can save .png with all layer, but are readable only by itself. Check if Paint.net can read .psd format (photoshop native) with all his layer.


TIFF is a widely supported image format that can save layers and transparency (which Photoshop can open). There's not a ton of advantages of using PNGs over TIFF unless you're using them on a website. Whether it works with Paint.net or not, I'm not sure, but you could give it a go! You could also try saving as PSD (Photoshop's native format) which work with some other software but they may need plugins to work.

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