Josh.biz Technical Note 6 – updated October 2010
View thumbnail images for Photoshop PSD files in Windows
One great feature of Photoshop 7 was the fact that thumbnails of the PSD files were displayed when browsing Windows folders. This feature is essential is you have hundreds of PSD files in a single folder, as I often do.
Unfortunately, Adobe removed this ability due to issues with the DLL file conflicting with Windows. So what are our options?
Well, we can either use the Adobe Browser that’s included with Photoshop, additionally you could use a third party tool like IrfanView to browse the thumbnails. Personally, I just want to continue utilizing Windows and Photoshop the way that have for the last few years. If that sounds like you, then read on.
NB – Please be sure read the User Feedback further down for the latest comments.
adobe photoshop, thumbnail, icon, psd, windows, explorer
Please note that this registry update pre-dates Windows 8. No guarantee of success if offered, nor am I able to offer support. You apply this change at your own risk. It is advisable to make a system restore point before beginning so you can undo any changes if a problem is encountered.
The solution is very simple and takes less than a minute to implement. You don’t need to even reboot Windows. The change is immediate.
- Download the file, photoshop_thumbnails.zip (62kb)
- Copy psicon.dll to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Shell – if this folder doesn’t exist create it
- Run Adobe.reg
- You now can view PSD files in Thumbnails view within Windows Explorer.
This process has been successfully implemented for most versions of Windows (prior to Windows 8) and Adobe Photoshop. However, I have received occasional unsuccessful feedback. Unfortunately, should this solution not be successful for you, we are unable to provide further support. Your feedback (whether successful or not) would be appreciated. Just add a comment using the form at the bottom of this page.
- October 2010 – I tried the above solution on a new Windows 7 PC (Home Premium) running CS5. It seemed to work for some but not all thumbnails. I turned to the Ardfry PSD Codec advertised further below. This worked perfectly. So, if the above solution doesn’t work for you, dip into your pockets ($19.95) and buy the solution below. – Joshua Dyball, Josh.biz (author of this website)
- October 2010 – ‘Solution doesn’t first work for us (french version of Windows XP professionnal And Photoshop CS4 without Bridge We needed to edit path in Adobe.reg. ‘Common Files’ doesn’t exist in french versions of XP. It is perhaps more simple to tell users that they should ‘create exactly the path provided ‘C:\\Program Files\\Common Files\\Adobe\\Shell\\’ if it doesn’t exist. This seems to work always.’ – Gunther Jerschabek / LDL-France
- 30 March 2009 – Thanks to Lynne who popinted out that ‘you might note for other users that the top layer in the file must be a viewable layer. If it is an adjustment layer the PSD icon still shows up. I can get around this by always insuring a viewable layer is on top by combining the layers in a group and creating a single composite layer on top (Shift/Ctrl/Alt + E)’
- 20 March 2009 – Lars from Sweden reported that he was able to make the technique work, but had to change the path to fit match his Swedish version of Windows (C:\\Program\\Delade filer\\Adobe\\Shell) in the Adobe.reg file. He also had to create the Shell-folder.
- It has been reported that this technique does not function for Photoshop CS3 with Windows Vista 64.
- Feedback reports that this technique can (but not always) be successful with Windows Vista running Adobe Photoshop CS3 and CS4. Thanks to Leanne, who reported that it worked with Vista and CS3 but only after rebooting. So try rebooting…
If all else fails, we would highly recommend purchasing the inexpensive Ardfry PSD Codec which seems to offer a competent solution for everyone.
The Ardfry PSD codec (see below) is a plug-in for Windows that allows you to view thumbnails, previews, and metadata of PSD files throughout Windows. You can view PSD files in Windows Explorer, Windows Photo Gallery, and Windows 7 Media Center.
Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, we do not warrant its completeness or accuracy; nor do we not commit to ensuring that the website remains available or that the material on this website is kept up-to-date.
Your feedback is highly valued
We welcome your comments on this technical note, even if it’s just to say thanks. We particularly welcome comments which add further experience and information on the subject. If any of the links on this page fail consistently, please tell us.