Why Can't Photoshop Open a Picture?

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 includes file translators capable of opening documents in a wide range of formats, from the familiar -- TIFF and JPEG -- to the specialized -- Scitex CT and Targa. If you launch the application and ask it to open a document but the result is an error message instead of a file display window, you can look to your file itself, your software and even your hardware for the causes of and solutions to your problem.

Corrupt File

  • If you try to open a document in Photoshop and get an error message instead, especially one related to "unexpected end of file" or other file problems, your document may be corrupt. Photoshop can't open a file if parts of its data are garbled or missing. Especially when you download files from online sources or receive them via email attachment, your files may look as if they've downloaded successfully when in reality you haven't received all the information that makes up the document. The result is a file that Photoshop rejects. To solve this problem, download the file again or contact the source if you received the document with an email message. If the replacement file also is corrupt, let the source know that the problem is on her end.

File Translator Not Available

  • Photoshop relies on a large set of supporting files to enable it to process various types of graphics. If the file you're trying to open requires a translator that Photoshop can't find, either because you removed it from your software installation or didn't install it in the first place, the program won't be able to process the document. To resolve the issue, install the missing translators or uninstall Photoshop and reinstall it with a full set of translators.

Corrupted Preferences

  • Photoshop saves its preferences in a set of files that contains information about your choices regarding file handling, onscreen display, tool performance, scratch disk space and other parameters. Corrupted preference files can cause wildly varying unexpected behavior that you can waste hours trying to troubleshoot. If Photoshop suddenly starts crashing or fails to perform expected functions in normal ways, your preferences may have become corrupt. Save yourself time and headaches by stashing copies of Photoshop preference files in a folder you can find quickly. Make these copies after you shut down Photoshop when you customize the application following an installation or upgrade. Refresh your file copies if you make significant changes to your preferences.

Software, Hardware Problems

  • Impending hard drive or video card failure, defective RAM, computer power supply problems, inconsistent electrical power, improperly installed operating system software and a wide range of other equipment malfunctions can interfere with Photoshop's ability to perform its functions correctly. If replacing your preferences files and restarting your computer doesn't clear up Photoshop's behavior problems, it may be time to call a computer technician and arrange for a closer look at your system's performance. You may find it's easier and less time consuming to bring in an outside expert to look at your computer with a fresh perspective rather than wasting hours trying to find a problem that's tough to diagnose without troubleshooting equipment and expertise. But if you're accustomed to taking on your own advanced troubleshooting, you can test your system for hardware problems and run an operating system diagnostic routine to look for problems you can solve, especially if you're experiencing instability in other applications or can open the problem file in another program.

References

  • Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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