Picture this. You're at the end of a super long retouching session on your favourite photo ever. Your laptop reminds you that there’s only a few percent of battery left and you cringe (you cannot go plug in). So, you smash ⌘+S to save a PSD file and, since you have a lot of layers effects and data, it takes very long to save. Your laptop dies. Your either left with nothing at all or a corrupted, unusable file. How frustrating? Not only in this situation is Photoshop taking very long to save not cool but always. Saving a file of a few gigs is always long and annoying. Fortunately, Photoshop has a way of significantly reducing that wait time, and it implies going through the Preferences.

To go there, head up to the Photoshop tab right beside the Apple logo and go down to Preferences. You can choose to go to File Handling. The golden setting is located in the File Handling section. It is the last checkbox. Check “Disable Compression of PSD and PSB Files” and press OK at the the top right. And that’s! Photoshop tells us that the file may be ⅓ bigger but may save a lot faster. FYI: Photoshop did not actually degrade the quality of your file before. What happened was a lossless compression where the original data (your image and layers) can be rebuilt from the file without any lost of quality. They just removed unnecessary bits of info, at a cost of CPU time.

I did the test. I used two big-ish files to see how it would turn out. The file A is 3.7GB, according to Photoshop. The compression saving took 285 seconds and gave a 1.83GB file of my Mac. On the other hand, without the compression, I was looking at a 7.8GB file that took 74 seconds to export out (426.23% bigger and 385.14% less exporting time). The file B, a substantially smaller set of data (the software tells me it’s 0.55GB) claimed 39 seconds to save 0.38GB of data with compression and only 5 seconds to give me 0.998GB without compression (so, the file is 262.63% heavier and took 780% less time). What we can see here is that, the smaller the file size is, the more “efficient” the uncompression is (in term of percentage, where the time saving are greater and the files not as much bigger). For me, storage isn’t really an issue and I really like the time savings I see. Also, Adobe is lying at us by stating that the file will be only ⅓ more of the compressed size (in my results, at least).

Have you heard of that time-saver before? Do you have another Photoshop Preferences setting that is turned off by default but is actually very useful? Let us know in the comments below!