Does Photoshop create backup files?

Adobe Photoshop is a popular image editing software that is widely used by photographers, designers, and other creative professionals. It allows users to edit and manipulate digital images through various tools and features.

One important but often overlooked aspect of using Photoshop is properly backing up and saving your work. Photoshop has some built-in features to help automatically save and recover files in case of crashes or lost work. However, it does not have a full-featured automatic backup system. In this article, we’ll look at how Photoshop handles backup and recovery of files, as well as best practices for making sure your work is protected.

What are PSD Files?

PSD stands for Photoshop Document, and it is the native file format for Adobe Photoshop files. PSD files allow you to store images with support for most Photoshop features like layers, effects, masks, transparency, and text. The PSD format allows for lossless editing and manipulation of an image’s elements without losing image quality (

When you create or edit an image in Photoshop, it saves your work into a PSD file. This retains layers, adjustments, masks, transparency, and other Photoshop-specific information. You can continuously edit the PSD file non-destructively, meaning the original image data is preserved (

The PSD format is commonly used in graphics workflows to create complex graphics for print and digital media. It provides an editable format for passing files between designers, printers, and clients before final export to formats like JPG or PNG for web and print use.

Autosave and Recovery

Photoshop includes several features to help you recover unsaved work in case of a crash or accidental closing of a document. The first is the Auto-Save feature, which periodically saves a version of your open documents in the background without you having to do anything. By default, Photoshop will autosave your work every 10 minutes, saving the file in the same location as the original PSD with “- autosave” appended to the filename.

You can adjust the autosave frequency and other preferences by going to Edit > Preferences > File Handling (Brithny – EaseUS Author). If Photoshop unexpectedly quits, the next time you open it any files that were previously open will display a dialog asking if you want to recover your unsaved work from the auto-save files. This makes it easy to pick up right where you left off.

Photoshop also includes a Document Recovery feature to help restore work after a crash, even if you hadn’t manually saved. When enabled, Photoshop keeps track of your open documents and writes recovery data for them in the background. If Photoshop closes unexpectedly, it will automatically reopen your documents and try to restore your work using this recovery data when you relaunch it (Brithny – EaseUS Author).

Between the autosave and document recovery features, Photoshop provides robust automatic backup functionality to help you avoid losing work accidentally. Just make sure to enable autosaving and document recovery in your Preferences.


One useful Photoshop feature for creating backups is snapshots. Snapshots allow you to save the state of your Photoshop document at any point during your editing process. This creates a record of the document that you can revert back to if needed.

To use snapshots, go to the “History” panel in Photoshop and click the “Create new snapshot” icon at the bottom. Give your snapshot a name to help identify it. This will save a snapshot of all the layers, adjustments, masks etc. as they currently appear in your document.

The benefit of snapshots over manually saving different versions is that you can toggle between snapshots without overwriting or creating new files. This gives you more flexibility to experiment, knowing you can always get back to an earlier state if needed. You can store multiple snapshots within the same PSD file.

Overall, snapshots are a handy built-in backup system in Photoshop. They allow you to easily save and revert to previous states of your artwork, helping preserve important document history (Source 1). Just remember to delete old snapshots periodically so your file doesn’t get too cluttered.


Versioning systems allow designers to save multiple iterations or versions of a PSD file (Perforce, 2022). This provides a built-in backup system where you can restore to an earlier version if needed. Popular version control systems like Git allow seamless branching and merging so multiple designers can work on the same files simultaneously.

With proper version control practices, backups of all PSD iterations are automatically saved. You can easily roll back to a previous version or compare versions to see the changes (The Digital Story, 2014). Some cloud storage services like Transporter even allow versioning of image formats like JPG and PNG in addition to PSD files. Overall, implementing version control provides essential protection against file corruption or accidental overwrite of your work.

Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is Adobe’s subscription based cloud storage service. When working with Adobe apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, files are automatically stored in the Creative Cloud by default. The Creative Cloud stores previous versions of your files which you can access through the Version History panel within the Adobe apps.

Every time you save your PSD or AI file in Photoshop or Illustrator, a new version is uploaded and stored in the Creative Cloud. You can navigate back to previous auto-saves and versions of your files through the Version History panel. This acts like a built-in backup and recovery system, allowing you to revert to an older version if something goes wrong or you want to undo recent changes. The number of versions stored depends on your Creative Cloud subscription plan.

According to Adobe’s website, the Version History panel allows you to “browse a file’s history – plus any versions you mark – and revert to an earlier version if you need to.” It provides an easy way to access older iterations of your PSD and AI files without needing to create manual backups (Source).

Third-party backup software

Photoshop does not have built-in backup software, but there are a number of popular third-party tools that can be used to back up PSD files. Some popular options include:

GoldSolution Software – Offers backup software like Photo Backup Pro that is compatible with PSD files. It can schedule automatic backups and restore previous versions.

Acronis True Image – A full backup suite that can back up PSD files and entire disks/drives. It offers cloud storage, mobile access, and ransomware protection.

Carbonite – An online backup service that works by continuously backing up files and folders to the cloud. Supports PSD files and version history.

These are just a few of the top backup tools that work with Photoshop’s PSD files. The key is finding a tool that supports versioning and can restore previous copies or iterations of your work. This protects against data loss and gives you access to older files if needed.

Best Practices

Here are some tips for effectively backing up PSD files:

  • Use Creative Cloud – Adobe Creative Cloud automatically saves all your PSD files to the cloud, providing a built-in backup solution. You can access files from any device and restore previous versions if needed.
  • Store files locally – In addition to cloud backup, also save PSD files to an external hard drive or SSD. This provides an extra layer of protection in case you lose internet access.
  • Use versioning – Turn on the Photoshop Versioning feature to save iterations of a PSD file. This allows you to revert to an earlier draft if necessary.
  • Back up often – Don’t just rely on autosave. Manually save your PSD files at regular intervals to preserve work-in-progress versions.
  • Organize files – Use a clear folder structure and naming convention to keep track of PSD backups. This makes restoration easier.
  • Consider 3rd party software – Some backup software like Carbonite can automatically back up PSD files offsite for extra redundancy.

Following these Photoshop backup best practices will help protect against data loss and give you peace of mind.

Restoring from backups

If you have lost or corrupted your PSD files in Photoshop, restoring from a backup is the best way to recover your work. Photoshop includes some built-in backup features that can help:

To restore using the Auto Recovery feature:

1. Open Photoshop and click File > Open Recent > Recovered Files. This will show any files Photoshop has auto-saved as part of the Auto Recovery feature.

2. Browse to the file you want to restore and open it.

3. Use Save As to save the restored file with a new name.

To restore from a snapshot:

1. Click the History panel menu and choose Snapshots.

2. Select the snapshot you want to restore.

3. Click Restore to restore your document to the selected snapshot state.

You can also restore previous versions of PSD files saved to Creative Cloud by right-clicking on the file and choosing Revert. This will let you go back to older versions stored in the Cloud.

If the built-in Photoshop backup options are not available or don’t contain the files you need, you may need to resort to third-party backup software that you used to backup your PSD files previously. You can browse your backups there and restore the files you need.

The key is to make sure you are regularly backing up your PSD files either using Photoshop’s built-in tools or third-party software. This will ensure you have restore points available if you ever lose or corrupt work.


In summary, Photoshop does create backup files to help protect and restore your work. The main ways it does this are through autosaves, snapshots, and versioning. Autosaves happen automatically in the background to save your open documents. Snapshots allow you to manually save the current state of the document as a snapshot that can be restored later. And versioning saves iterations of the document so you can go back to previous versions.

While Photoshop provides some built-in backup capabilities, it’s still a good idea to implement additional backups through Creative Cloud storage or third-party software. Following best practices like saving frequently, closing files properly, and maintaining regular backups can help ensure you don’t lose your hard work. To directly answer the main question – yes, Photoshop does create backup files through autosaves, snapshots, and versioning. But for comprehensive protection, use its built-in tools as part of a larger backup strategy.