Adobe Photoshop: What to do when double-clicking on files in the Finder doesn’t open them in Photoshop

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 17th, 2005 • 1:04 am

My colleague had this problem for a very long time… She has tons of Photoshop files, but when she double-clicked on them in the Finder, they would not open in Photoshop CS. The only way that she could open them was to go to Photoshop CS first and then use the “Open…” command in the “File” menu and navigate to the location and open the file through the dialog box.

Needless to say, it was a pain in the neck.

We tried all kinds of things, like trashing Photoshop preference files, trashing some of Mac OS X’s preference files relating to launching stuff, etc. We tried reinstalling Photoshop CS from the CD. Nothing worked. I told her the only other option I could think of was to do a clean install of the entire system and then reinstall Photoshop CS. Not an enticing prospect, to be sure.

So we left things the way they were, and my colleague had to use the “Open” dialog box all the time. It was painful, but the alternative was even more painful.

Then today, several months after this problem was first experienced, I was reading a MacInTouch report on Tiger and I found two notes on this very problem:

Andrew Hedges, reports that Photoshop CS won’t open images by selecting the image file and double clicking or selecting the image and doing a Command-O command.

This is not a Tiger related problem. Anytime after an Archive and Install under previous System X Photoshop CS showed this problem. You need to do a reinstall of Photoshop CS. If you have added Plug-ins or other features to Photoshop CS they remain intact.

This same problem also pertains to Photoshop Elements.

This happens anytime you do an archive and install. There is 1 file that does not get copied over to your new Library. Open your Previous System/Library/ScriptingAdditions/ folder and copy the file “Adobe Unit Types” to the same place on your new system. If you don’t already have a “ScriptingAdditions” folder, then just copy the whole folder.

I immediately forwarded this to my colleague and, sure enough, she found a “ScriptingAdditions” folder containing the “Adobe Unit Types” file in a “Previous System” folder on her hard drive, she copied it back to the main “Library” folder and… the problem was fixed!

What I don’t understand is why this problem was not fixed when we reinstalled Photoshop CS on her machine. One of the reports indicates that the problem is fixed by reinstalling Photoshop CS. This was definitely not our experience, because we tried it.

Maybe we only reinstalled Photoshop CS and you have to actually reinstall the entire Adobe CS suite?

Anyway, this is definitely a problem that I had never encountered myself because I haven’t used the “Archive and Install” option in a long time. But my colleague obviously had used that option, and that’s what caused the problem to surface.

The other question is, why on earth is a “ScriptingAdditions” file required for Photoshop CS to open files properly? As I’ve said several times in the past couple of years, Adobe is dangerously close to becoming just another Microsoft, with crappy software that installs all kinds of bits and pieces in several locations on your hard drive that are all required for the applications to work properly…

In truth, I was already aware of this particular aspect of things, since I had to find a way to run Adobe CS applications from an partition other than the startup volume without having to reinstall the whole thing each time I reinstalled the system on the startup volume. And, of course, the “ScriptingAdditions” bit was part of the strategy that I had identified back then… But I failed to connect the two things (my colleague’s problem and this other issue), because it is far from obvious that the “ScriptingAdditions” bit has anything to do with opening files with Photoshop CS.

Anyway, now I know — and now you know :).

3 Responses to “Adobe Photoshop: What to do when double-clicking on files in the Finder doesn’t open them in Photoshop”

  1. Olivier says:

    I always considered myself lucky when, after an archive and install (so basically after every Mac OS X upgrade), I was able to find all the stuff I needed to move in order for Adobe applications (among others) to run on the new system. Now I see how close to failure I’ve been on those occasions.

  2. Simanek says:

    Great site, first of all. Thanks for this solution. I have been very irritated by the problem of my psd files opening in Preview for months. I found a download of that Adobe Unit Types file here:

    since I wasn’t yet working here when my machine was updated.

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Unless the file was deliberately deleted, if it’s missing, it should be somewhere on the hard drive, most likely in a “Previous System” folder.

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