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How to save Photoshop files larger than 2GB.

If you do a lot of Photoshop image manipulation on large, high-resolution images, you may eventually run into the 2GB limit for saving Photoshop files. This is especially true if you like to work with a lot of layers.

Someday while saving a huge Photoshop file you may find yourself presented with the following dialog box: “Could not save as [Your Filename] because the document exceeds the 2.00G limit for saving Photoshop files.”

photoshop2gb-cantsave

On that day you’ll be glad you know about the Large Document Format (PSB) that Adobe added to Photoshop CS and CS2.


Adobe’s new Large Document Format (PSB) adds support for Photoshop documents larger than 2GB. The documents you save this way can’t be opened in earlier versions of Photoshop — they can only be opened in Photoshop CS or Photoshop CS2.

Before you can use the Large Document Format option, you’ll have to open Photoshop’s file handling preferences and turn the feature on.

Mac: Photoshop > Preferences > File Handling
Windows: Edit > Preferences > File Handling

photoshop2gb-pref

Once the option is activated in preferences, the Large Document Format becomes an option in your standard Photoshop save dialog box.

photoshop2gb-save

Large Document Format also adds support for savings images greater than 30,000 pixels in width or height — something the original Photoshop format did not permit. The new PSB format now supports images up to 300,000 pixels in width or height.

Tip: Is 300,000 pixels enough? An image that height, printed at 300 dpi image, would be taller than the Seattle Space Needle! We won’t be outgrowing that limitation for at least a couple more years. [Note: There is a math correction under comments]

Source: This tip inspired by huge, layered, image files in Doug Landreth’s fine art collection. Last week one of Doug’s pieces was awarded the Photoshop Guru “Best in Show” award at the Las Vegas Photoshop World conference. (We should also mention, the advertising, corporate, and catalog photography side of Doug’s life can be found at Landreth Studios in Seattle.)