How to Open CR2 Files in Photoshop

By Susan Reynolds

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Adobe Photoshop with Plug-in

  • CR2 files

  • SD card

RAW photos capture more detail.
i photographer's photographer image by Lee O'Dell from

CR2 files, also called RAW files, are digital camera images. Digital photos that are in JPEG format lose some of the color and tiny detail captured on the CR2 format. This is why professional photographers like to work with RAW images only. If you are working with RAW digital camera images and want to edit them in Adobe Photoshop, you have to first open them. Photoshop does not like to work with RAW photos, so you have to work around it.

Remove the SD card from your digital camera and place it into your PC's SD card slot.

Go to "Start > My Computer" and double-click on the icon of your SD card to open the folder.

Drag and drop any images in the folder into any folder on your "C" drive.

Go to the Adobe Photoshop download page and download the "Camera RAW Update" file (see Resources). This plug-in helps Adobe view CR2 images.

Go to "Start > My Computer > C Drive > Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\CS3\File Formats."

Find the file "Camera Raw.8bi" inside the folder. Drag and drop the file onto your desktop in case you want to revert back to it.

Drag and drop the newly downloaded "Camera Raw.8bi" file into the same folder. Open Adobe Photoshop.

Go to "File > Open" and click on the folder where you copied the CR2 files onto your PC. Click on any file inside to open it inside Photoshop for editing.


Change your camera setting from JPEG to RAW to capture more detail.