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How to Show PSD Icon Previews in Windows 10 File Explorer

Posted by Jim Tanous on July 26, 2019
file explorer psd preview icon

Windows 10 makes it easy to customize your File Explorer to your liking, giving users the ability to set any number of customizations and preferences to help improve their workflow. Case in point: you can switch the look of your files within the View tab, which makes it easy to select from options like List, Details, and Tiles. The Icon view is one of our personal favorites when working with photos and videos, because you can look at a preview of the file before you open it, rather than just having to rely on the file name alone to find your selection.

There’s just one problem: not every file format that contains image data is compatible. While File explorer will allow you to check out a preview of your JPEG or PNG files, anyone who works in Photoshop often will be unable to preview the PSD files, the file extension every Photoshop project saves in. Instead, all you can see is a large, unhelpful icon designed by our friends at Adobe.

When browsing your files in Windows 10 File Explorer, you can switch to a handy “Icon” view, which displays a preview image for your files in addition to the file name. This can help you quickly identify a file visually instead of relying on remembering file names.

By default, Windows doesn’t have a utility to open these files, since PSD files are designed first and foremost for Photoshop. Therefore, there’s no way for Windows to open these files within Explorer in order to allow you to see what photo data is stored within. Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped third-party developers from coming up with their own solutions.

The reason for this issue is that Windows doesn’t support the codecs for these file types by default. Microsoft, likely due to licensing issues, has yet to officially provide a fix for this, but that hasn’t stopped third-party developers from coming up with their own solutions.

One such solution is SageThumbs, a free utility that adds codec support for hundreds of file types to File Explorer in Windows. To test it out, just download the latest version (2.0.0.23 as of the date of this article’s publication) and install it. We tested the latest version of SageThumbs with the current release of Windows 10 and it worked without a hiccup, but be sure to check for updates or compatibility issues if you’re running a newer version of Windows in the future.

As soon as you complete the SageThumbs installation, open a File Explorer window and switch to one of the icon views. You’ll notice that your previously missing file previews are now displaying in all their visually helpful glory. There’s no need to reboot or log out, the new icons should show up immediately.

Keep in mind that while SageThumbs adds preview icon support for hundreds of file types, it’s not exhaustive and you may still be seeing a few icons for more esoteric file formats. Again, be sure to also check for new versions of SageThumbs before performing major Windows upgrades, as there may be compatibility issues with newer versions of Windows.

SageThumbs is incredibly helpful for providing these File Explorer icon previews alone, but it also offers a number of other features, including the ability to convert images via the right-click menu, set an image as your wallpaper, attach images directly to email messages, and copy images to the clipboard without needing to open them first.

It’s an incredibly handy utility, so head over to the SageThumbs website and give it a look!

3 thoughts on “How to Show PSD Icon Previews in Windows 10 File Explorer”

Darren says:
Didnt work for me. I am running an older version of adobe suite so maybe there is some compatibility issue? I see that the guide is using CC with success.
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Ashish says:
i got the same problem , pls. help
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Carlos Granadeño says:
Works perfect. Just follow the instructions, install it and all the pds appear with a thumbnail.
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Brianna says:
Sagethumbs was a waste of a download. I changed everything necessary, increasedthe max megapixels, highlighted only pay and ai, I even cleared the cache. Nothing made the thumbnails appear. After 35 min of frustration and failed adjustmenta, I uninstalled the app. Waste of time but thankfully not a waste of money.
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