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How to make your Photoshop files 75% lighter

17 May 2007

Photoshop, Tutorials

How to make your Photoshop files 75% lighter
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Photoshop seems to me like a marvellous software, in my opinion isby far the best out there… is the most powerful, versatile, the greatest. But it still has a problem since previous versions, the weight of the files is huge, we could think that for the information it has the size is reazonable but…

Did you know that we can reduce the weight of the PSD up to 75%?

This is something to think about, if we can reduce so much the information in a PSD it would be because this format is not very optimized, right?. Most people think that’s why there are files with compression, TIFF or JPG… but they agree that keeping the original files in PSD format is much more comfortable than working with TIFF (i don’t think we need to compare it with JPG).

Well, how can we do this? Something as simple as hiding the layers before saving the file, if after that you compress it with Winrar or Winzip you will save a lot more.

Capas ocultasCapas ocultas

Here you have the information of the experiment:

  1. Normal PSD: 49,2 MB
  2. PSD saved with the hidden layers: 38,9 MB
  3. PSD saved with the hidden layers and zipped: 11,5 MB

The new version of Photoshop CS3 is out and we still have the same problem… we will have to wait a little more. Now, if you have to send a PSD via ftp or email… you have no choise than doing this.

This post was written by:

- who has written 95 posts on SOSFactory Blog.

My name’s Sergio Ordoñez I´m illustrator, graphic and web designer. A selection of my work is included at SOSFactory. If you want to support this blog, please be an active member: tweet the posts, participate in the discussions and the exercises :)

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  • taarq

    Oye pues es un buen dato, no lo sabí­a.
    Recuerdo una web que hice para una discográfica de la que me enviaron la maqueta en PSD´s de más de 90MB, la cosa es que me los tení­an que mandar via Messenger porque no tení­an suficiente espacio en el servidor, fue desesperante…

    Veo que el blog va viento en popa, sigue así­ ;D

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Esa es la principal utilidad, imagí­nate el tiempo que hubieras ahorrado :)

  • Yeminius

    buení­simo tip

    buení­smo blog


  • Barkeeper

    Very simple but useful trick!

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  • Logar

    I’m not sure what kind of work you’re trying to do with photoshop but the difference of 11 MB is nothing. In the world of print, which photoshop is used for the most, we deal with files in excess of 100 MB (and that’s Tiffs sometimes).

    Hiding layers saves space because it means that programs no longer have to draw whatever is on them, this is all well and good for transfering files and wanting to save space, but if you have PSDs placed into an InDesign document, you can’t just flip layers off to save space. Things like that get transfered into the layout programs and it means you have to turn them back on.

    Bottom line: if you want to save space when sending files use a tiff image instead. It’s less hassle than managing what could end up being 30 some layers, and it prevents problems later on with visibility in other programs.

  • Kaos Hybryd

    Wow. Great tip!

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hi Logar, if you have a file of 100mg, it would become 23mb… Its a big difference, specially if you have to transfer files to lot of clients by ftp

    Like I say in the article keeping the original files in PSD format in my opinion is much more comfortable than working with TIFF files.

    Anyway the KEY of the article is the bad compression of PSD files… then you can use the tip if its useful.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion, much appreciated.

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  • Janne

    It is not a bug – it is a feature. What you’re doing is deleting the composite image that allows other software to use the psd without having to flatten it first or having to create a composite image from individual layers, which would require a lot of time and compatibility with the Photoshop version the psd-file was saved from.

    You get the same effect when you flatten an image that only has one layer (i.e. you’re turning “layer 1″ into “Background layer”).

    This will never be “fixed”, as the composite is required for compatibility, but yours is a good solution for ftp, as you describe.

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hello Janne,

    If you are right, and we are “deleting” the composite image then the file would be lighter but we would lost the features (ie: allows other software to use the psd without having to flatten it first or having to create a composite image from individual layers)

    But it really happens? If it happens I guess you are right, if not why the hell we need a feature like this?

  • Janne

    I’m not sure if I understand your reply, but psd is a somewhat standard format these days, and the composite image is what we can thank for that – even the operating systems use the composite image to create an icon for the file and that’s what allows all these little apps to open them. But you can actually turn the feature off from Photoshop preferences – just set “Maximise psd & psb compatibility” to “off”. (I remembered the setting was somewhere! Just found it now…) This also makes opening and saving a lot quicker.

    It probably still makes sense to zip or rar the files, as that also makes the files less prone to break when sending over an ftp connection or by mail.

    I guess compression could be more effective but it would also make saving a lot slower.

  • http://asdfasdf gdsfgsdf

    this tip is really good
    here is another way of doing it

    Flatten all layers and save it as a BMP
    yes, you lose everything including text editing, etc, but image is saved as lossless pic.

    the psd can b saved seperately for only editing purposes

    for guyz working with 100meg+ filez ,
    dude its WORTH the Space it takez

    Photoshop Rulez

    Peace ya all

  • |S|iri|S|

    To the above, no. Just no. BMP is a HORRIBLE file format: it’s huge for a flattened image. If you want a smaller size with a lossless pic, save it as a PNG.

  • zilwit

    Good advice. Personally it apply the custody use in psd files:)

  • Bati

    Excelente tip! Sinceramente no conocia tu blog, pero ya me estoy inscribiendo a los feed.. Muy buen material.

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  • Nino

    So in general, no actual data is lost if you use this method or the one that Janne suggests?

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hello Nino, its just saving like a psd… you can keep editable your text and layer styles.

  • Roberto

    Oye, esto es de lujo, fijate que simpleza y no muchos lo sabian, wow!!!

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  • Ivo

    Una opcion que tambien podria ser es, reducir el canvas a la minima expresion, x ejem. de 800 x 980px a 1×1 px, y grabarlo, luego al abrirlo se vuelven a poner las dimensiones originales, un archivo de 5Mb me lo redujo a 4,22Mb.
    Excelente esta Web, felicidades

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Ivo, no entiendo muy bien que quieres decir, si reduces el archivo a 1x1px es normal que pese menos, pero te estas cargando la imagen. ¿Puedes explicarlo?

  • Ivo

    Hola Sergio, lo que se esta cambia es el Canvas Size, o las dimensiones del “lienzo”, mas no se esta cambiando las dimensiones de la “imagen” o sea que todas las imagenes de los layers o capas se mantendran en sus dimensiones originales, al volver a abrir el archivo psd, se tiene que volver a poner las dimensiones originales en el lienzo, lo unico es que se tiene que saber que dimensiones a tenido yo los grabo con este nombre x ejemplo “imagen800x1000.psd” , eso es, me cuentas

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hola Ivo, no entiendo muy bien… si cambias el “Canvas size” a 1x1px toda la imagen se reduce a 1px, con lo que te cargas la imagen.

    ¿No será que arrastras todas las capas de tu psd a un documento con 1x1px?

  • Ivo

    La imagen no se reduce, sino el Canvas, el resto queda igual,
    Imagen> Canvas Size > pones el valor de las dimensiones (1×1) y en la opcion ancla seleccionas el superior izquierdo > Aceptar.

    Aca puedes bajar un ejemplo, cuando le cambies el tamaño del canvas le anclas la opcion superior izquierda

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  • Omar

    excelente..una ovacion para ti hermano….muy bien

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  • elChapin

    Muy buen dato, no habia escuchado nada al respecto, enterado!!

  • Mini

    Really a good tweak.
    Good solution who Upload and Download the PSD on regular basis, specially prepress operators.

  • Paul

    There is another solution that is quicker and reduces even further without any loss and hassle of using the zip program. Hide layers save as tiff choose zip as compression and you will find the file is smaller than the above route. I tested this with a 171 meg psd file
    Psd… hide layers …zip……..79 meg
    Save as Tiff tick zip boxes …….61 meg
    saving time to upload and unzip

  • Sergio Ordonez

    Hello Paul, the thing is you are compresing the file, you lose a certain amount of compatibility with other programs, since not all programs, that accept tif-files in general, are able to work with these compressions.

    Also looks like the level of compresion depends on the sort of image. It doesnt save too size for photos.

    Did you try with LZW compresion?

    You can follow an interesting thread here:


  • Tomy

    Simple but useful tip. Thanks.

    Greetz from Latvia! :)

  • Nilson Saavedra Nica-Dsigner

    lol, tan simple y a la vez necesario, gracias por el dato..

  • Erick

    Muchas Gracias !

    Muy Bueno.

  • Ahsan

    very nice tip

  • http://TM FLOW17


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  • pathan tabrez

     lot of thanks

  • Shash

    Really awesome… I have been using Photoshop for a few years now, and after saving they just simply to huge to send via email. So Thanks for the helpful tip…