Using Fireworks with Photoshop

Fireworks imports native Photoshop (PSD) files and retains many Photoshop features. You can also export Fireworks graphics to Photoshop for detailed image editing.

Place Photoshop images in Fireworks

You place Photoshop images into Fireworks using the File > Import and File > Open commands, or by dragging files to the canvas. The Import command provides access to unique options for the background layer and layer folders. By contrast, the Open command and file dragging method provide access to options for guides and states.

Converted and unsupported Photoshop features in Fireworks

When you open or import a Photoshop file, Fireworks converts the image to PNG format using import preferences that you specify. (See Photoshop Import and open preferences.)

  • Individual layer masks convert to Fireworks object masks. Group masks are unsupported.

  • Clipping masks convert to object masks, but their appearance changes slightly. To maintain appearance but lose editability, select the Clipping Masks preference.

  • Blending modes for layers convert to blending modes for Fireworks objects, if corresponding modes exist.

  • Layer effects are retained by default. If you prefer to convert these effects to corresponding Live Filters, select the Layer Effects preference. Note, however, that similar effects and filters might differ slightly in appearance.

  • The first alpha channel in the Channels palette converts to transparent areas in the Fireworks image. Fireworks does not support additional Photoshop alpha channels.

  • All Photoshop color depths and modes convert to 8-bit RGB.

Drag, open, or import Photoshop images into Fireworks

Each image you drag, open, or import becomes a new bitmap object.


In Windows, Photoshop filenames must include a PSD extension for Fireworks to recognize the file type.

  1. Do either of the following:

    • Drag a Photoshop image or file into an open Fireworks document.

    • Select File > Open or File > Import, and navigate to a Photoshop (PSD) file.

  2. Click Open.

  3. In the dialog box that appears, set image options, and then click OK.

  4. If you used the File > Import command, a cursor shaped like an inverted L appears. On the canvas, click where you want to position the upper-left corner of the image.

Import options for Photoshop files

When you import or open a Photoshop file in Fireworks, a dialog box lets you specify how to import the image. The options you choose determine the appearance and editability of imported files.

  1. Specify image dimensions in pixels or percent, and specify pixel resolution. To maintain the current ratio of width to height, select Constrain Proportions.

  2. If the Photoshop file contains layer comps, select which version of the image to import. Select Show Preview to display a preview of the selected comp. The Comments text box displays comments from the Photoshop file.

  3. From the bottom pop-up menu, choose how the Photoshop image opens in Fireworks:

    Maintain Layer Editability over Appearance

    Preserves as much layer structure and text editability as possible without sacrificing the appearance of the image. If the file includes features that Fireworks doesn't support, Fireworks preserves the appearance of the document by merging and rasterizing layers. Here are some examples:

    • CMYK layers, adjustment layers, and layers that use a Knockout option are merged with underlying layers.

    • Layers that use unsupported layer effects may be merged, depending on the blending mode of the layer and the presence of transparent pixels.

    Maintain Photoshop Layer Appearance

    Flattens all objects on each Photoshop layer, and converts each Photoshop layer into a bitmap object. This option removes the ability to edit the Photoshop layers in Fireworks. Layer groups are maintained, however.

    Use Custom Preferences

    Imports the file using custom file conversion settings you specify in the Preferences dialog box. (See Photoshop Import and open preferences.)

    Flatten Photoshop Layers to Single Image

    Imports the Photoshop file as a flattened image without layers. The converted file retains no individual objects. Opacity is retained, but is not editable.

  4. If you used the File > Import command, you can select the following options:

    Include Background Layer

    Imports objects from the image’s background layer.

    Import Into New Folder

    Imports the image into a new layer folder labelled Photoshop Import.

  5. If you used the File > Open command or dragged the Photoshop file into Fireworks, you can select the following options:

    Include Guides

    Retains the Photoshop guides in their original positions.

    Convert Layers to States

    Places each Photoshop layer group into its own individual state.

About importing text from Photoshop


To quickly import specific text in a Photoshop file, copy it directly into Fireworks. Copied text retains all text attributes.

When you import Photoshop files that contain text, Fireworks checks for the necessary fonts on your system. If the fonts aren’t installed, Fireworks prompts you to either replace them or maintain their appearance.

If the text in your Photoshop file has effects applied to it that Fireworks supports, the effects are applied in Fireworks. However, because Fireworks and Photoshop apply effects differently, the effects may appear different in each application.

When Photoshop 6 or 7 files that contain text are opened or imported in Fireworks with the Maintain Appearance option selected, a cached image of the text is displayed so its appearance remains the same as it was in Photoshop. Once you edit the text, the cached image is replaced with actual text. The text appearance might differ from the original text. The original font data is stored in the PNG file, however, so you can use the original fonts on systems that them installed.


Fireworks cannot export text in Photoshop 6 or 7 format. If you edit a document containing Photoshop 6 or 7 text and then export the document back to Photoshop, the file is exported in Photoshop 5.5 format. However, if you don't make any change to the text, the file is exported in Photoshop 6 format.

Import/Export Photoshop gradients

The quality of the gradient after import and export depends on the gradient type. There could also be a slight variation in the color and opacity of the gradients.


Import Quality


Near perfect.


Near perfect.


Near perfect.


Approximate match (mapped to rectangular)


Approximate match (mapped to conical)



Export Quality


Near perfect.


Near perfect.


Near perfect.


Approximate match (mapped to diamond)


Approximate match (mapped to angle)


Approximate match (mapped to radial)


Approximate match (mapped to radial)


Imperfect match (mapped to shapeburst)

Contour, satin, waves

Imperfect match (mapped to linear)

Maintain appearance of Adjustment layer after import

When you import a PSD file containing an adjustment layer, the appearance of the individual layers is maintained after import.

  1. In the Preferences dialog, select Photoshop Import/Open.

  2. Select Maintain Appearance Of Adjusted Layers.

Maintain appearance of adjusted layers

When you import a PSD file containing an adjustment layer, the appearance of the individual layers is maintained after import. Ensure that you select Custom Setting From Preferences in the dialog box.

Use Photoshop filters and plug-ins

You can use many Photoshop and other third-party filters and plug-ins, either in the Live Filters window or the Filters menu.


Plug-ins and filters for Photoshop 5.5 and earlier versions are supported. Photoshop 6 or later plug-ins and filters are not compatible with Fireworks.

Enable Photoshop plug-ins using the Preferences dialog box

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Fireworks > Preferences (Mac OS).

  2. Click the Plug-Ins category.

  3. Select Photoshop Plug-Ins.

    The Select a Folder (Windows) or Choose a Folder (Mac OS) dialog box opens.


    If the dialog box doesn't open, click Browse.

  4. Navigate to the folder where the Photoshop or other filters and plug-ins are installed, and click Select (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS).

  5. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.

  6. Restart Fireworks.

Enable Photoshop plug-ins using the Live Filters window

  1. Select any vector object, bitmap object, or text block on the canvas and click the plus (+) icon next to the Filters label in the Property inspector.

  2. Select Options > Locate Plug-ins from the pop-up menu.

  3. Navigate to the folder where the Photoshop or other filters and plug-ins are installed, and click Select (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS). If a message appears asking if you want to restart Fireworks, click OK.

  4. Restart Fireworks to load the filters and plug-ins.


    Alternatively, you can install plug-ins directly into the Fireworks Plug-ins folder.

Place Fireworks graphics in Photoshop

Fireworks provides extensive support for exporting files in Photoshop (PSD) format. A Fireworks image exported into Photoshop maintains the same editability when reopened in Fireworks as other Photoshop graphics. Photoshop users can work with their graphic in Fireworks and then continue editing in Photoshop.


You can use the PSD Save extension to quickly export the pages and states in your Fireworks document as separate PSD files. This extension is available at

Export a file in Photoshop format

  1. Select File > Save As.

  2. Name your file, and choose Photoshop PSD from the Save As menu.

  3. To specify preset export settings for objects, effects, and text, click Options. Then, choose a preset below from the Settings menu.

    Maintain Editability Over Appearance

    Converts objects to layers, keeps effects editable, and converts the text to editable Photoshop text layers. Select this option if you plan to edit the image extensively in Photoshop and do not need to preserve the exact appearance of the Fireworks image.

    Maintain Fireworks Appearance

    Converts each object into an individual Photoshop layer, and effects and text become non-editable. Select this option if you want to maintain control over the Fireworks objects in Photoshop but also want to maintain the original appearance of the Fireworks image.

    Smaller Photoshop File

    Flattens each layer into a fully rendered image. Select this option if you are exporting a file containing a large number of Fireworks objects.


    Allows you to choose specific settings for objects, effects, and text.

  4. Click Save to export the Photoshop file.


    Photoshop 5.5 and earlier cannot open files with more than 100 layers. You must delete or merge objects if the Fireworks document you are exporting contains more than 100 objects.

Customize Photoshop export settings

  1. In the Save As dialog box, select Photoshop PSD for the file type, and click Options.

  2. From the Settings pop-up menu, choose Custom.

  3. From the Objects pop-up menu, choose one of the following:

    Convert to Photoshop Layers

    Converts individual Fireworks objects to Photoshop layers and Fireworks masks to Photoshop layer masks.

    Flatten Each Fireworks Layer

    Flattens all objects on each individual Fireworks layer, and each Fireworks layer becomes a layer in Photoshop. When you choose this option, you lose the ability to edit the Fireworks objects in Photoshop. You also lose features, such as blending modes, that are associated with the Fireworks objects.

  4. From the Effects pop-up menu, choose one of the following:

    Maintain Editability

    Converts Fireworks Live Filters to their equivalent in Photoshop. If the effects do not exist in Photoshop, they are discarded.

    Render Effects

    Flattens effects into their objects. When you choose this option, you preserve the appearance of the effects, but you can't edit them in Photoshop.

  5. From the Text pop-up menu, choose one of the following:

    Maintain Editability

    Converts text to an editable Photoshop layer. Text formatting that is not supported by Photoshop is lost.

    Render Text

    Turns text into an image object. When you choose this option, you preserve the appearance of the text, but you can't edit it.

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