I'm a programmer for a website. Because the site looked kind of naff, we paid a graphics designer to do us a new design. He has just sent me sample images (.jpgs) and the .psd files they were generated from.

In implementing the design in css, I want to work from the .psd files, as they are lossless. However, when I open them in GIMP, they look different to the sample images. For instance, the buttons don't have the gradients + shadows like they do on the sample image.

Is this because the designer sent me backups from halfway through production, by mistake? Or do you think it is because GIMP can't open .psd files correctly?

I don't have photoshop, so trying to open the files in that program is not an option.

  • 4
    Nothing can really open PSD files as-is except for PhotoShop. If you're doing the slice-n-dice method of web site design by outsourcing the visual part, then you probably need to invest in a copy of PhotoShop as that's pretty much the standard tool.
    – DA01
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 13:45
  • I think you're right. I downloaded a trial of photoshop, and opened the files in that - it renders fine. I think maybe the grouping of layers that Photoshop does was confusing GIMP.
    – Oliver
    Commented Sep 22, 2011 at 14:02
  • @Oliver If you found the answer please post it and close this question.
    – Jack
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 6:34

3 Answers 3


No, especially layer effects are not translated correctly. There is most likely always a loss of information!


I realise this is a very old question, but the answers need an update because GIMP is continually being developed.

The most recent stable version of GIMP 2.8 can open and export basic PSDs. However there isn't full support and its highly unlikely that it will ever have full support, because PSD is a proprietary format developed by Adobe. For full support, you would need to use Photoshop. GIMP's native file format is XCF. Use that format for full compatibility with GIMP.

What isn't currently supported in PSDs opened in GIMP:

  • Photoshop Layer Styles/Effects
  • Adjustment layers
  • Smart Objects
  • CMYK image mode
  • Bit depths greater than 8bit per channel
  • Editable text layers (text is rasterized)

The development version (GIMP 2.9) does support higher bit depths, but it's an unstable build.

Update: GIMP 2.10.x now supports bit depths greater than 8bit.

  • ... and Text layers (or is that included on "smart objects"?).
    – xenoid
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:33
  • Not sure about that @xenoid. I suspect text layers might be rasterized. I must check when I get the time.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 17:52
  • @xenoid Yes as I thought, text layers get rasterized, so are no longer editable as text. Although GIMP supports editable text layers in XCF.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 18:05
  • @xenoid updated my answer. Thanks for pointing that out.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 18:47

No, it can't. There are some features, like adjustment layers and layer styles, that GIMP doesn't have and thus doesn't support. Some other features are in GIMP (like group layers), but are not properly supported. If you don't want to use Photoshop CC (which of course supports PSD files best), you might consider trying out Krita (www.krita.org). It appears one of the rare professionally developed open source graphics software.

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