I have a lot of .gif images which can be viewed by e.g. IrfanView, but not opened in photoshop. Photoshop says it can't interpret the file format module (I'm using it in German, so I don't know the exact english error message).

When opening the file in a text editor, it starts with gif89a. I guess it has something to do with this type, but how can I open/edit gif89 files in photoshop?


I found out that the main difference between working and not working ones is, that the broken ones contain NETSCAPE2.0 in the first line in their source code where the others just have non-human-readable stuff. Both contain gif89a. Removing or editing the Netscape string breaks the file so it cannot be opened anymore in IrfanView.

  • 3
    All files or just a few? Can you re-save the gifs in InfranView and will they then open via Photoshop?
    – Scott
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:57
  • Irfanview opens almost anything in my experience. So I support re-saving them with it. If you have many, there is batch processing available in Irfanview as well.
    – KMSTR
    Aug 9, 2012 at 6:36
  • The options to save/save as... are grayed out, as well as most options under edit. Oh, this seems to be the case for every gif in IrfanView. And also the working files start with gif89a... Aug 9, 2012 at 8:54
  • I found out something more (see update). Aug 9, 2012 at 9:09
  • GIF89a is just the latest GIF standard. As you have noted, this is not the issue and I have edited the question to make this clearer.
    – e100
    Aug 10, 2012 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


Check if the color mode is "Indexed color". Converting to another mode can make it edittable.enter image description here


This format was removed from Photoshop around version 5.5. To restore it you will need to locate an older copy of Photoshop 5-8 and copy it from the "Goodies" folder into your Photoshop plug-in/file formats folder.

Here is an older plug-in. I don't know your version of Photoshop. So I cannot guarantee it will work.

  • 1
    Photoshop should still support the GIF89a format. It simply doesn't save to that specific format. The gif89a format was rolled into Photoshop at version 5.5 because that was the first web-based version. It has not been removed ever. Removing it would mean Photoshop doesn't support transparency in gif files.
    – Scott
    Aug 9, 2012 at 21:24
  • If it doesn't save as GIF89a, what flavour of GIF does it save as?
    – e100
    Aug 10, 2012 at 11:10

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