Photoshop Elements File Formats at a Glance

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

You could work with Photoshop for years and never use all the formats available in Photoshop Elements. At most, you’ll use maybe three or four of these formats.

You don’t need to remember all the formats and what they do. Just pick the ones you use in your workflow, mark the following information for reference, and check it from time to time until you have a complete understanding of how files need to be prepared in order to save them in your desired formats.

Format Color Modes Supported Embed Profiles* Supported Bit Depth Supported** Layers Supported
Photoshop PSD, PDD Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale Yes 1, 8, 24, H Yes
BMP Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale No 1, 8, 24, H No
CompuServe GIF*** Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale No 1, 8 No
JPEG RGB, Grayscale Yes 8, 24 No
Photoshop PDF Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale Yes 1, 8, 24, H Yes
Pixar Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale No 1, 8, 24, H No
PNG Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale No 1, 8, 24, H No
TIFF Bitmap, RGB, Indexed, Grayscale Yes 8, 24, H Yes

*Embedding profiles is limited to embedding either sRGB IEC61966-2.1 or AdobeRGB (1998).

**The letter H in Column 4 represents higher-bit modes, such as 16- and 32-bit images, which you might acquire from scanners and digital cameras.

***CompuServe GIF doesn’t support saving layers, although it supports saving layers as frames. You use the frames when creating an animated GIF file to be used for web pages.