Saving Layered Tifs

I’ve had this question a few times this week, so I thought I’d post the answer right here!

Why do your actions/scripts save as Tifs instead of PSDs?
In most cases, if you use the right settings, a layered TIF will be smaller than a layered PSD. Layered TIFs use lossless compression, which means the image is not degraded at all like it is when you save a JPG. When you save a layered TIF, you can choose from several different settings. If you use the setting for the smallest file, it does take a little longer to save. In my experience, saving a layered TIF saves up to 40% over the layered PSD file.

What are the optimal settings for a layered TIF?
1. Be sure to check the LAYERS button in the first SAVE AS dialogue box.
2. On the second dialogue box, choose LZW Image Compression.
3. Choose PC or MAC (depending on your computer) in the Byte Order section.
4. Choose ZIP compression for the smallest file. It does take longer to save.

Are there any disadvantages with layered TIFs?
The disadvantage of layered TIF is that it the layers can only be opened in Photoshop/Elements. If you try to open a layered TIF in another program, such as Paint Shop Pro, it will open as a flattened file.

Let me know if you have any questions about this or anything else! Happy Scrapping!


  1. Wendy – thanks for doing this. Real helps. Off to play again with my new actions.

  2. Thank you for this tip! I wish more template designers knew about saving TIFS this way. I have saved countless space on my hard drive because of this one tip. Have you ever had trouble with your TIF file becoming corrupted? It seems that they are more easily corrupted and unable to open. Any ideas what could be causing this? Thanks for your help.

  3. Anna I have never had a TIF get corrupt, but I do have everything backed up to external hard drive and an online service just in case!

  4. Thanks for this info, Wendy. I thought the reason for saving files as TIF was so that other non-Adobe applications COULD open the files keeping the layers intact – which is many designers provide both PSD and Tif templates in one bundle. Seems like there is no reason to provide both, correct?

    As to choosing PC or Mac – does this have to do with the actual saving of the file or how the final layered file will be opened? For example, if I’m on a Mac and want to save a TIF for use by someone else but I don’t know what kind of computer they have, what option should I choose?

    Thanks again for being such a great resource!

  5. PSP can open PSDs and not TIFs, so designers who offer TIFs usually still provide both. Mac or PC is the byte order. I had to look this up! Bytes are made up of zeros and ones. A long time ago, Macs saved the bites in order from right to left while PCs from left to right. When the TIF file is saved, it tells the program which way the data is saved, and computers these days read that information, recognize it and will open the TIF regardless of how it is saved. The only reason to worry about it is for backwards compatibility to very old computers. So, there you go! We both learned something new!