What Is an ASE File?

How to open, edit, and convert ASE files

A file with the ASE file extension is an Adobe Swatch Exchange file used for saving a collection of colors accessed through the Swatches palette of some Adobe products like Photoshop. The format makes it easy to share colors between programs.

ASE files.

Autodesk software can export files with this extension to the Autodesk ASCII Scene Export format. They're used as plain text files that store information about 2D and 3D scenes. They're similar to Autodesk's ASC format but can include more information on things like shapes and points.

Other ASE files may be Velvet Studio Sample audio files used for storing instrument sounds, or Aseprite Sprite graphic files.

ASE is also short for some unrelated technology terms, like Application Service Element, Application Services Environment, and Automated Software Engineering.

How to Open an ASE File

ASE files can be opened with Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and InCopy software, as well as the discontinued Fireworks program.

This is done through the Swatches palette, which you can open via the Window > Swatches menu. Select the small menu button to the top right of the palette and then click Load Swatches (it's called Open Swatch Library in Illustrator and Add Swatches in Fireworks).

If you can't find the file, be sure that the "Files of type:" option is set to Swatch Exchange (*.ASE), else you may be filtering the results for other files by mistake, like ACO or ACT files.

You can also open ASE files online with ASE Color Decoder.

Autodesk ASCII Scene Export (ASE) files and Autodesk ASCII Export (ASC) files can be opened with AutoCAD and 3ds Max. Since they're text files, any text editor can be used to read the file.

Velvet Studio is used to open files that are Velvet Studio Sample files.

If you have an Aseprite Sprite file, a program by the same name can be used to open it.

How to Convert an ASE File

As you can see above, there are a few different uses for ASE files. However, we don't think there are any file converters or programs other than those listed above that can use these types of files.

If you're looking for a way to convert an Adobe Swatch Exchange file to a text format to see the colors it contains, this post from Adobe Community may be helpful.

You might be able to use the Autodesk software mentioned above to save an Autodesk ASCII Scene Export file to a different format, but we haven't tried this ourselves to have any more detail. Look for a File > Save As menu or some sort of Export option—you might be able to convert the ASE file that way.

More Information on ASE Files

To create ASE files in an Adobe program, just find the same menu in the Swatches palette that's used to open the file, but choose the save option instead. In Photoshop, it's called Save Swatches for Exchanges (the Save Swatches option will save it to ACO).

By default, the pre-installed ASE files are stored in the Adobe program's \Presets\Swatches\ folder.

You can author Adobe Swatch Exchange files at Adobe Color, which you can then download as an ASE file.

Still Can't Open the File?

Some file extensions share some of the same letters as others, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the formats are related or that they can be opened with the same programs.

Two examples are AST and ASL files. Different programs and/or directions are required for viewing and editing those, ones that don't necessarily work with ASE files.