Who knew that we had so many ways to open a file in Photoshop? Well, I guess in the days of something called “workflow,” we better get used to doing the same task by using a variety of methods. To be clear though, and as you’ll learn throughout this post, we’re not actually performing the same task. Similar, I’d say, but not the same.
In this post, we’re going to walk down the road of clarification. I’m going to discuss a topic that seems so simple, but if you’re a new user of Bridge, Lightroom, Camera Raw or Photoshop, you may be surprised and, dare I say, relieved at what we’re going to cover. We’re going to get to know a few different types of files, a few processes and which process is the most appropriate for which file type.
Let’s get something out of the way. The goal of what we’re going to talk about today is how to ultimately open a file in Photoshop. No matter how many hoops we have to jump through, we would like to end up performing final edits on, say, a photograph in Photoshop. Once those edits are finished, we’ll output our file. While I’m not going to discuss outputting or exporting in this post, please be aware that Photoshop is at the end of the road.
Opening Files Directly From Photoshop
If you don’t edit files much and stick to editing JPG files, this may be your best option. After all, if you’re only using Photoshop, say, once a month or something like that, there’s no sense in learning all sorts of software that really won’t benefit you much. With that in mind, take a look at the screenshot below.
NOTE: If you’d like a larger view of any example image in this post, simply right click on it and choose “Open Image In New Tab.”
In order to open a file directly from Photoshop, you can simply navigate to the top menu and click the “File” selection. Once the file menu is open, you can click “Open” to browse through your folders and files.
Once you’ve got the file you’re interested in opening, you can go ahead and click “Open” at the bottom right of the dialog box.
Now, I’ve been using this method of opening files for years. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I certainly can’t imagine a professional photographer or graphic designer using it. It’s far too cumbersome and it really doesn’t offer any of the perks that assistive programs like Bridge and Lightroom do.
Opening Files From Adobe Bridge into Photoshop
I recently wrote a post that covered the beginnings of using Adobe Bridge. If you’re interested, you can view that post here. In it, I talk about how you can go about browsing through files and what Bridge is good for. But since this is a different post, I’m going to strictly discuss how we can take advantage of Bridge’s interface to view files and then how we can open those files into Photoshop.
If you’re an avid user of Photoshop and you’d like to begin using Bridge to add some efficiency to your workflow, read on. In order to browse files from Bridge, you’ve got a few different options. The first one, is to open Bridge from Photoshop.
If you navigate to the top menu inside of Photoshop and click “File,” you’ll see a selection called “Browse in Bridge…” If you click that selection, you’ll launch Bridge, which will give you Bridge’s start screen.
In my case, I’d like to edit a up-close flower shot or two. Once I’ve browsed to the images I’m interested in opening, all I need to do is double-click on one of them and it’ll open right inside Photoshop.
Above is the selection of the file with the double-click and below is the newly opened image in Photoshop.
If I wanted to open multiple images from Bridge into Photoshop, all I would do is select whichever ones I was interested in by using the Ctrl or Shift keys and then double-clicking on one of those highlighted files.
If, for some reason, I didn’t want to double-click on an image, I could navigate up to the top menu and click on “File” and roll over the “Open With” selection. From there, I could choose Photoshop.
We have the previous option or the option of right-clicking on one of the selected images and doing the same exact thing.
Whichever way you do it, the file(s) will open in Photoshop.
Moving Between Photoshop & Bridge
Let’s say you’re doing a lot of work in Photoshop and you’re bouncing back and forth between it and Bridge. All sorts of files are being opened and closed. If this is the case, you can, to get from Photoshop to Bridge, use the “Browse in Bridge…” link I told you about earlier. To quickly get from Bridge, back to Photoshop, without selecting and opening any files, simply click on the small “Boomerang” icon up in the top menu in Bridge.
Now that’s pretty neat.
Opening Raw Files in Photoshop From Bridge
In the examples I discussed above, I selected and opened JPG files. This was a simple operation and resulted in files being browsed in Bridge and directly opened in Photoshop. The thing is, if you’re working with raw files in Bridge and want to open them in Photoshop, you’re going to have to make a pit-stop in Camera Raw. It’s not a big deal – just one you should be aware of.
Once you select the images in raw format you’d like to work with inside of Bridge, go ahead and double-click them, right-click on one of them or use the File menu up top to move them over. Once you do that, your images will land in Camera Raw. You may edit them there or just click “Open Image” to move them from Camera Raw into Photoshop.
Opening Files From Adobe Lightroom into Photoshop
Adobe Lightroom has got a lot to it. While I’m not going to discuss the inner workings of the application in this post, if you’re interested in how Lightroom works and what you can accomplish with it, I encourage you to check out my “Lightroom” category on this website. I’ve got an ever-growing collection of posts that cover this program.
If you’d like to open a file that you’ve already imported into Lightroom, into Photoshop, the process is fairly simply. In the next screenshot, I’ve already got a collection of photos imported, so in order to choose one to edit in Photoshop, I simply click on the image I’m interested in.
If you’ll recall from the above sections in this post, there are two different methods for opening various file types from Bridge in Photoshop. Lightroom is different. In this case, the method is more straightforward for all file types. So, if you’d like to open and edit an image from Lightroom in Photoshop, select the image and then navigate up to the top menu and click on “Photo” and then roll over “Edit In” and after that, click “Photoshop.”
If you’re working with JPG files and you follow the instructions above, you’ll be presented with a dialog box with a few choices. The selection you’d like to make here is the “Edit a Copy With Lightroom Adjustments.” Once you’ve clicked that selection and clicked on “Edit” down below, your image will open in Photoshop with all your Lightroom edits intact.
If you’re working with raw files in Lightroom and follow the instructions above, you won’t be presented with that dialog box. Your file will simply open directly inside of Photoshop with your edits intact as well.
Again, I’ve written posts that discuss the benefits of utilizing Lightroom in your workflow, so if you’re interested in those, please take a look at them.
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