File Types

A Tutorial from Terry

Many programs are just picky about the file types they’ll open and the files they’ll write.

That’s where PaintShop Pro comes in useful.  When PaintShop was version 1 and available as Freeware by JASC, it was the most useful piece of kit around to change the file types so that you could read and write to pretty much anything and everything.

These days with file sizes, DTP, ppi, and pixels for the input to web, print and photo booths, you’ll need some way of specifying exactly the characteristics of the file. And so that’s where PaintShop Pro still comes in useful.  What we’re going to look at is some of the characteristics which you may be able to use more effectively.

If you’re a keen photo processor, you’ll want to get the most out of your images.  Cameras, Video screens and photo printers each interpret the range of colours differently and the colour space (the way in which the pixels are interpreted) of each of these products might not be as wide.

Color Space

The widest colour space in PaintShop Pro is AdobeRGB and the other most useful colour space is ProPhoto.  This is set in File > Color Management > Color Working Space.

file type colour working space

Image Information

When it comes to publishing your work in web, print or screen display, or to save the file to use and process it later, the optimum requirements are different.  To find out about the current state of the image Image > Image Information

file type image information

File Types and Characteristics

General file information.
  • The more pixels you have, the bigger the file and the more pixels you have the bigger the image.
  • The bigger the ppi (pixels per inch) the better the print quality (but 250 to 300 ppi is enough); 72ppi is good for web work; 96ppi is good for Microsoft POWERPOINT.  COREL PAINTER works well at 150 to 200ppi.  Some plugins don’t produce a satisfactory result if the ppi value is too large.  The best rule to apply here is ‘try it first’.
  • JPGs are OK for the output from a process since the image is processed for economic storage, but re-processing them will degrade them as described here ...
  • TIFFs (Tagged Image File Format)  are a good way of storing an image but are HUGE files as everything about the image is recorded.
  • DNG (Digital Negative) is a better way to store files - PaintShop Pro can read DNG files but can’t write them.
  • BMP and WMF files store the data about each pixel; are huge files; aren’t economic.
  • RAW files contain all the information but are very large to store.  Many folk recommend that they are processed through to DNG.  PaintShop Pro can’t do that; it can read them but can’t write them.

Changing the image characteristics

It’s always best to keep the original safe; work on a copy; save it under a new name in a different location using SAVE AS rather than SAVE. 

Re-Size an Image

file types image resize

At the bottom of the Re-size palette is a check mark for Advanced Settings - this is the dialogue ...

file types advanced re-size settings

When you want to make an image smaller ...

  • Resample using:  Bicubic
  • Sharpness - Smoother

When you want to make the image larger (a very challenging procedure) ...

  • Resample using:  Bicubic
  • Sharpness - Sharper


The ‘Save’ options Since the file types are so different, you can specify the characteristics precisely.  It’s always best to check what the requirements are for the ‘next’ program (if you’re only doing a file conversion) or processing step because some software is so pernickety.

At the bottom of the SAVE or SAVE AS dialogue box you can choose the file type and for some of the file types you can specify exactly the characteristics you want the file to have using the <options> button.

file types save option
Save Dialogue

file types save options
Save Options

If you bother to count the different 'save' file types then you'll come up with 39 (give or take) different formats.

JPG Files

In JPGs, the compression factor will set the file size, but the ‘sampling’ will leave image data out to achieve this.

EXIF data is the information which your camera added such as date, exposure, location etc together with data such as tagging which you may have added later.

ICC (International Color Consortium) data is the colour space data for printing, publishing and display.  If you make the compression factor too large, the image will pixelate (look as though it’s made of squares).

 file types jpg options
Save Options

JPG files are the most popular and widely used files in digital photography.  This type of file does tend to deteriorate when continually opened and saved.


The structure of the PspImage file has changed over the course of the development of PaintShop Pro.  For backwards compatibility, you can save in versions right back to version 5; we are currently on version 16

A PspImage with multiple layers can be several hundred Mb.  You do have the opportunity to compress the file, but there are no guarantees about information loss (once lost, never recovered).  Again the ICC (International Color Consortium) data for colour space data for printing, publishing and display can be saved within the structure of the file.

file types pspimage

Pspimage files are particularly useful when you want to maintain all of the layers in your project intact. 

TIFF Files

TIFFs are the best alternative to DNG files.  In fact the DNG is Adobe’s own version of the TIFF. 

You do have the opportunity to compress the file, but there are no guarantees about information loss (once lost, never recovered).  LZW is reputed to be the best compression method.  Again the ICC (International Color Consortium) data for colour space data for printing, publishing and display can be saved within the structure of the file.

file types tiff options
TIFF Save Options

TIFF files are popular among graphic artists, the publishing industry and professional and amateur photographers.

WMF Files

WMFs are Microsoft’s version of the bitmap file, aka BMP, but with the opportunity to use vectors.  The vector data can be retained for further edits or the final image alone is saved.

Note:  There are security issues with WMF files.  It's possible to hide viral material in the Metadata.  Beware opening these files from unknown sources!

file types wmf options

PSD Files

PSD files are the design of Adobe.  They are supposed to be somewhat universally readable and writeable by software which uses layers.  Another variant is the PSB which is the LARGE PSD file.

Again PaintShopPro will read and write PSD files, but not all destination software will do both. 

For example, OnOne Perfect Suite will write PSD and PSB but not read these files written by other software.  So you can write in OnOne Perfect Suite, read and edit in PaintShopPro and Adobe Elements and then re-write to read in OnOne Perfect Suite.  You can’t initially write a PSD file in PaintShopPro and then read the same file OnOne Perfect Suite.

Last Word

If you intend using PaintShop Pro as the file converter from which it originated, plan ahead; check the specifications of the destination; check the specifications of the origination; process copies of the original; never process the original file; retain as much image detail as you can.

Happy processing ...!

File Types
Page Links

Color Space

Image Information

File Types and Characteristics

Re-Size an Image


JPG Files


TIFF Files

WMF Files

PSD Files

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