How to Reduce the File Size of Your Photoshop PSD Files

An easy trick for making your Photoshop file size smaller is to hide all of its layers. This trick was shared to me by designer and Design Instruct author, Mikolaj Podlasek. He was emailing me a Photoshop file, and gave me a heads-up that all of the layers were hidden because he wanted to reduce the PSD’s file size.

How to Hide All the Layers of a PSD File

There are several methods for hiding all the layers of a PSD file. One way is to select all the layers in your Layers panel and then in Photoshop’s main bar choose Layer > Hide All Layers.

All layers in a Photoshop file selected

Photoshop Hide All Layers command

You’ll know that all your layers are hidden when the canvas is blank and when there are no "eye" icons on the left of the layer names.

A Photoshop file where all layers are hidden.

After hiding your layers, re-save your PSD by choosing File > Save (Ctrl + S). Then look at the new file size — your Photoshop file should now be smaller.

Photoshop Save command

Does it Really Work?

To see if hiding all the layers really lowers PSD file sizes, I tested this tip using three PSDs from our feebies archive:

  1. Free PSD: Toucan UI Kit
  2. Free Stationery Mock-Up Template (PSD)
  3. Free PSD Template: Presentation Folder Mockup

In all cases, the Photoshop file size became smaller when all layers were hidden. The file size savings were between 14% to 33%.

  Original file size File size with layers hidden % file reduction
Toucan UI Kit 6.16 MB 5.18 MB 15.9%
Stationery Mock-Up Template 69.7 MB 46.8 MB 32.8%
Presentation Folder Mockup 48.0 MB 41.1 MB 14.4%

Reducing the Photoshop File Size Even More

To get even smaller file sizes, you can zip up your PSD.

I used 7-Zip, and free and open source file archiver, to create zip archives of the PSD files.

Reduce PSD file size via 7-Zip

Here’s a summary of the file sizes after zipping up the PSDs:

  Original file size File size with layers hidden + zipped Total File reduction
Toucan UI Kit 6.16 MB 1.35 MB 78.1%
Stationery Mock-Up Template 69.7 MB 18.8 MB 73.0%
Presentation Folder Mockup 48.0 MB 10.6 MB 77.9%

Using the two tricks above, PSD file sizes were reduced by as much as 78%.

Read Next

  • Doyle

    You can also add a white layer above all your layers which works a bit similarly to hiding all layers.

  • Interesting. I’ll try this out. Thanks for sharing Doyle.

  • Su Hall

    If you use adjustment layers, such as for fill, it is supposed to save size according to Lesa Snyder @ PhotoLesa.com. I just tried it with only one fill layer, filled two ways, and there was not any difference. I think it is more a cumulative thing.

    I have turned some small ‘Groups’ in to Smart Objects, too, and saved quite a bit of space!

    The use of .TIF file formats is supposedly a file space saver, but, this is one I have not tested.

    Thank you for this kind of tutorial/info! These are things you don’t typically learn when learning PS.

    Su

  • Jean Batiste

    This method actually increased the file size by roughly 2MB lol.. i would go with the white layer on top of the other layers which decreases the file size by almost half

  • Anawn Omis

    None of this worked for me. I tried hiding all layers. I tried adding a white layer at the top-most layer. Nothing has worked for me. I have a 500×500 file at 72dpi. The file seems very lo res so I don’t understand how it could be 52.8MB?! Help!!!

  • Lapo

    My guess is: the gain comes from the creation of the preview image embedded in the PSD file: if empty or white, the preview is easily compressed by the internal Photoshop saving process.

    You may consider the File Saving Options, in Preferences > File Handing.
    Look for the Image Preview, set on Always. Also look for the Windows thumbnail option.

    If you still have big size, try to hunt for hidden pixels, out of the canvas. First, deselect all. Then for each layer, use Edit > Free Transform (Command-T) to test a resize of the entire content of the tested layer. Don’t touch anything, just look at the resize box: if it is larger than your screen, then you have some pixels out of focus, still managed and saved in the PSD file. Press ESC to cancel resizing, and go hunting the — maybe — unnecessary pixels.