What Is an AHS File?

How to use an AHS file in Photoshop

What to Know

  • An AHS file is an Adobe Halftone Screen file.
  • Open one with Photoshop.
  • HP's Active Health System Viewer uses AHS files, too.

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

What Is an AHS File?

A file with the AHS file extension is an Adobe Halftone Screen file, sometimes called a Photoshop Halftones Screen file, that's used to store the settings Adobe Photoshop needs to create a halftone image.

AHS files in a folder in Windows 11

If your file isn't used with Photoshop, it's probably an HP Active Health System file, which is a log file that stores diagnostic information that's then normally emailed to HP Support.

AHS is also short for technology terms that are unrelated to these formats, like advanced hyper streaming, advanced hardware support, application hosting service, and Apache HTTP server.

How Photoshop Uses AHS Files

Halftone images are typically used for printing artwork. They're comprised of large or small dots, with the intention being to reduce the amount of ink used to represent the picture.

Photoshop stores information about the dots within the file, like their frequency in lines per inch or lines per centimeter, the angle in degrees, and shape (e.g., diamond, cross, round, square).

How to Open an AHS File

Photoshop AHS files can be opened with Adobe Photoshop, but not by double-clicking the file like you would most file types.

  1. Start with the image already open in Photoshop, and then go to the menu called Image > Mode > Grayscale to remove the color from the picture. You might have to confirm with the Discard button.

  2. Return to that menu, but choose Image > Mode > Bitmap. Also confirm that you want to flatten the layers, if you see that prompt.

  3. Select Halftone Screen from the Method drop-down menu, and then select OK.

    Photoshop Bitmap screen with Halftone chosen
  4. Choose Load to browse for and select the AHS file you want to open. The Save option is for if you want to create one for use later.

    Photoshop Halftone Screen window
  5. Confirm with OK that you want to apply the file's settings to the image.

It's understood that Active Health System AHS files aren't supposed to be opened by you or anything on your computer, but instead sent to HP so they can read the log file and provide you with support.

However, you might be able to open one with a text editor like Notepad++, but it's unlikely all the information will be readable. There's also an online tool called Active Health System Viewer (AHSV) that might be helpful; this is done through its Upload AHS Log option. HP's AHSV user guide has more information on this tool.

If you find that an application on your PC tries to open the file but it's the wrong application or you'd rather have another installed program open it, see our guide on how to change which program automatically opens when you double-click AHS files in Windows.

How to Convert an AHS File

There isn't a file converter that can convert a Photoshop's or HP's file format to any other format. Since those programs exclusively create and uses the file, it shouldn't exist in any other format or you'd risk it not opening back up.

Still Can't Open It?

If your file isn't opening, check that you're not confusing it with another similarly named file type. Some, like AHK, ASH (Nintendo Wii System Menu), and AHU (Adobe Photoshop HSL), share some letters with this extension, but none of them open the exact same way.

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