What Is an AHS File?

How to open, edit and convert AHS files

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

If an AHS 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, 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 Halftone Screens files can be opened with Photoshop, but not just by double-clicking the file. Instead, you must go through a series of steps:

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

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

    Photoshop Halftone Screen window
  4. 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 are to be 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 AHSV that might be helpful; read more about that in HP's PDF over it.

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 How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert an AHS File

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

It's unlikely that an Active Health System file can be converted into any other format since HP uses these files for a very specific purpose.

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 common letters with this extension but none of them open in the exact same way.

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