What Is an ACV File?

Photoshop stores curve adjustments in an ACV file

What to Know

  • An ACV file is an Adobe Curves file that opens with Photoshop.
  • Open the Curves tool to import the file: Image > Adjustments > Curves.
  • Then, open the gear icon, select Load Preset to choose the ACV file.

This article explains what an ACV file is and how to open one on your computer.

What Is an ACV File?

A file with the ACV file extension is a Curves file that Adobe Photoshop uses to store custom RGB colors that have been adjusted with its built-in Curves tool.

Photoshop comes installed with ACV files, stored in the program's installation folder. You can also make your own custom ACV files or download them from the internet, and then use the Curves tool to import them into the program.

ACV Photoshop files in Windows 11

Photoshop also uses the similar AMP file for storing the same data found in ACV files, but you're able to draw the curve yourself instead of adjusting the line you're given in the Curves tool.

If you're sure the ACV file you have has nothing to do with Photoshop, it may instead be an OS/2 audio driver.

How to Open an ACV File

ACV files are created and opened with Photoshop through its Image > Adjustments > Curves menu option (or Ctrl+M in Windows). Choose the small settings/gear button near the top of the Curves window to select either Save Preset or Load Preset, to make or open an ACV file.

You can also use ACV files by saving them in Photoshop's installation directory. This is a good idea if you want to import several at once. They'll be listed along with the other presets in the Curves tool.

Here's an example of the default folder used for Photoshop's Curves files in Windows:

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop 2022\Presets\Curves

Another image editor like Photoshop that supports this format is Photopea. Instead of using the Curves tool to import the file, open it through File > Open. Using the file is similar to how it's done in Photoshop: Image > Adjustments > Curves.

If you have an ACV file that you're positive isn't used with Photoshop, try opening it with a free text editor. Doing it this way lets you see the file as a text document. If you look through the text, you might be able to find some keywords that help you determine what program was used to create the ACV file, which is normally all you need to find the program that's capable of opening it.

OS/2 stands for Operating System/2, so an ACV that's an OS/2 audio driver is used in that operating system. It's highly unlikely that your file is of this format. Frankly, if it is, you probably knew that already.

Again, there's a good chance that the file you have is associated with Photoshop. However, if that's not the case, or if some other program tries to open ACV files by default, and you want to change this, it's very easy to do this by changing Windows' file associations.

How to Convert an ACV File

Common file types like DOCX and PDF are often converted to other formats using a free file converter, but ACV files don't really serve a purpose outside the context of Photoshop, so there's no need to convert one to any other format.

If you find that your file is really just a text file, you can save it to other text-based formats, like TXT and HTML, with any text editor program. See this Best Free Text Editors list for our favorites.

Still Can't Open Your File?

The primary reason your file isn't opening at this point is most likely because you're not really dealing with an ACV file. Several other file types use a file extension that's very similar to .ACV, so if your file doesn't open with the Curves tool in Photoshop or Photopea, make sure you're not misreading the extension.

Some other Photoshop file types that are similar include ACB, ACF, ACO, and ACT files, but none of them open the same way ACV files do. Other similarly named, but non-Photoshop file extensions include AC3, AVC, SCV, ASV, and CVX.

If it's not really an ACV file that you're trying to open, then research the file's true extension to learn which programs can be used to open or convert it.

Was this page helpful?