What Is an ASL File?

How to open, edit, and convert ASL files

Screenshot of several ASL files in Windows 10
Tim Fisher

A file with the ASL file extension is an Adobe Photoshop Style file. ASL files are useful when applying the same appearance to multiple objects or layers, such as a certain color overlay, gradient, shadow, or another effect.

Since a single ASL file can contain one or more Adobe Photoshop Style files, they're useful not only for backing up your own styles but also for sharing styles with others so they can import them into Photoshop for their own projects.

There are even websites that host free ASL files that you can download. Just do a quick internet search for "download free asl files" and you'll find lots of these, like FreePSDFiles.net.

How to Open an ASL File

ASL files can be opened with Adobe Photoshop. You can do this by dragging the ASL file into the Photoshop program or by using the Edit > Presets > Preset Manager... menu. Once there, choose the Styles preset type and then select the Load... button to import the ASL file.

To use an imported ASL file in Photoshop, just select the layer that it should apply to, and then choose a style from the Style Palette. If you don't see the Style Palette, you can toggle its visibility via the Window > Styles menu.

If you've downloaded your ASL files, they may have come in an archive format like a ZIP, RAR, or 7Z file. These file types cannot be imported directly into Photoshop. Instead, you'll first need to extract the ASL files from the archive using a file decompressor program (we like 7-Zip a lot).

If you've done everything outlined above, but a Photoshop layer still cannot be applied, check that the layer isn't locked. The locking function can be toggled on and off in the Layers Palette next to the Opacity and Fill options.

If, when you double-click on an ASL file on your computer, a program tries to open the ASL file automatically but it's the wrong application, or if you would rather have another installed program open these files, learn how to change the default program for a specific file extension.

How to Make Your Own ASL File

If you're interested in converting your own styles into an ASL file that you can share with others, you can do this through Photoshop's Layer Style screen. Here's how...

Right-click a layer and choose Blending Options... Make the style adjustments you want, choose the New Style... button, and then name your style. At this point, your style is accessible from the Style Palette but isn't saved to an ASL file that you can share.

To build an ASL file from your custom style, open the Edit > Presets > Preset Manager... menu. From there, select Styles from the Preset Type: menu, scroll to the very bottom of the list of styles to find your custom style and then choose the Save Set... button to save the style as an ASL file.

We don't believe there's a way to convert a Photoshop ASL file to any other file format and expect it to do anything. Other advanced graphics programs have similar style saving mechanisms but we don't believe they're interchangeable.

Still Can't Open the File?

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

AST files are one example where different programs are required for viewing and editing them, ones that don't necessarily work with ASL files.