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Understanding different formats for Templates

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Understanding different formats for Templates

Digital scrapbooking layout templates are wonderful products that can save you time and give you inspiration. This tutorial will help you understand different formats for templates.

To learn how to use a template, see the tutorial Digital Scrapbooking Templates and How to Use Them. If you have ever purchased a template you may have seen that you can download more than one file type. You will often see a .jpg file, .psd file, a .tif file, a folder with multiple .png files and .page files. You may even get a version with shadows and one without.

If you are like me, you have a hard drive that is rapidly filling up with digital scrapbooking kit goodies and space is at a premium. One way to save space is to keep only one file type for each template.

How do you choose the file to keep? Let me give you a brief description of each file type and my recommendation.

Adobe Photoshop Format

Any template ending with .psd is a layered file made specifically for Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop CS (PS) or Photoshop Elements (PSE) (and you don’t have any plans to get it), you don’t need this file. Delete it! When there is both a shadowed and unshadowed version, I keep only the template with shadows. This can be your personal preference, but I don’t see a reason to keep both. For me, it is easier to delete or change any shadows styles I don’t want.

Storybook Creator Format

This file type (.page) is for users of Storybook Creator by Creative Memories. It makes using a template in this program far easier than using PNG files. If you use Storybook Creator, this file is your first choice. If this file format is not available, save the PNG files instead. If you never plan to use Storybook Creator, don’t download these files or delete them.

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)

TIFF (or TIF) files are program and platform independent.  They can be used in PS, PSE, Paint Shop Pro (PSP), and in most graphic design programs.  TIFF files are usually smaller than .psd files–sometimes significantly smaller. I usually keep .tif files instead of .psd files for this reason.  Always check to see if the .tif files are smaller. If they have not been saved correctly (compressed), they will actually be larger than the .psd files. If you keep the .tif file, you do not need the .psd file. Delete it!

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) Format

PNGs are individual files of each layer of the template. These can be used in any graphics program including PS, PSE, PSP, My Memories Suite and Storybook Creator. Each file needs to be opened in your graphic program and put into a single layout. If none of the the above file formats are available or don’t work in your graphics program, this is the folder for you to keep.

JPEG Format

We probably all know that JPEG is a type of image file and the most common one used for our photos. Many times, the template will include a .jpg version as well. The JPEG file cannot be used as the template; it is just for preview purposes. This is usually a small file, but I delete it except for the main preview file so that I will always have the template name and designer. If you use the PNG files, you should keep the JPEG so you know how the pieces go together. Another reason to keep the individual JPEG files is if you need them for the preview in Windows. Windows does not show previews of .psd files, but does show .tif. If you are using a Mac, all of the file types can be viewed in Finder or iPhoto and there is no need to keep the JPEG version.

File Format Summary

File Format extension    Graphics Program Compatibility Notes
Photoshop .psd
  • Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements
  • Previewed by Picasa, Apple Finder and iPhoto
  • Large file size
  • Cannot be previewed by Windows
TIFF .tif
  • Photoshop, Photoshop Elements
  • Paint Shop Pro and
  • most graphic design programs
  • Files can be compressed without losing functionality
PNG .png
  • All graphic design programs including My Memories Suite
  • Individual files must be added to your layout to build page layers
PAGE .page
  • Creative Memories Storybook Creator
  •  Easier to use than PNG files
JPEG .jpg
  • All graphic design programs
  • Used as a template preview only
  • Small file size
  • Does not have layers


Template File Example

Here is an example of a template pack that I downloaded from Aprilisa Design’s She’s Even More Beautiful.

Template Preview

These are the files in the pack. Because I use Photoshop Elements, I compared the size of the .tif file to the .psd file. The TIFF template is nearly 6MB smaller than the Photoshop version!

Template Download Files

Template Download Files

I kept the four TIFF templates, the JPEG preview and deleted everything else.  (NOTE: I keep my TOU files in a separate folder–be sure to read and follow the designer’s Terms of Use.)

Template Files Saved

Template Files Saved

My overall file size went from 47.1MB and 131 items to 8MB and five items. If I only had ten template collections in my stash, I would save 80MB! My collection of templates is much larger than that, so my total drive storage savings is huge!

If you have questions about this tutorial or would like to request a tutorial, please visit and post to the Tutorial Help & Request Forum.

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