What Is a CHA File?

How to open the different kinds of CHA files

What to Know

  • A CHA file is an Adobe Photoshop Channel Mixer file.
  • Open one with Photoshop.
  • There's little to no reason to convert one to a different format.

This article explains the various formats that use the CHA file extension, plus how to open each of them.

CHA is also an acronym for some technical terms that don't pertain to a file format, like class hierarchy analysis, concept hazard analysis, and call handling agent.

What Is a CHA File?

A file with the CHA file extension is most likely an Adobe Photoshop Channel Mixer file, a format that stores custom intensity levels of red, green, and blue source channels.

CHA files that open with Adobe Photoshop

However, it's not the only format that uses this extension.

Some CHA files are IRC Chat Configuration files, a format that stores information about an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel, like the server and port, and maybe even the password. Some special URLs may end in .CHA so that, when clicked, they will open a specific chat program on the computer.

Other files that use this same file extension are Character Layout files, a format which describes how a font's characters should be spaced and laid out. Still others might be encrypted files used with the Challenger file encryption software.

How to Open a CHA File

Here's how to open one if it's used with Adobe Photoshop as a Channel Mixer file: Image > Adjustments > Channel Mixer menu option. Once that dialog box opens, there's a small menu at the top that you need to select, and then choose Load Preset to open the file.

Photoshop Channel Mixer box with load preset menu

Internet Relay Chat software like mIRC, Visual IRC, XChat, Snak, and Colloquy are all able to open CHA files that are used with those types of programs.

Character Layout Files will open with DTL (Dutch Type Library) OTMaster Light.

If those don't work, try the free storage encryption software Challenger. When the program encrypts a file, it renames it to something like file.docx.cha to indicate that the DOCX file (or whatever type of file) is encrypted with Challenger. Use the Encrypt/Decrypt file or Folder or Drive button to load the file into that program to decrypt it.

You might try opening your CHA file in Notepad++ if none of the above suggestions prove to be helpful. It's possible your file is just a text file, in which case a text editor like this can display its contents. However, if you find that the text is completely unreadable, there's a good chance that you're not actually using a CHA file (there's more on that below).

There are plenty of different uses for CHA files, but we don't see any reason to convert any of them to a different file format. Each of these CHA files is used in their respective programs only, so even if a file converter exists for them, we don't think it will be of any practical use.

Still Can't Open It?

If your file doesn't open with any of the programs mentioned above, the problem may be as simple as having misread the file extension of your specific file. Be sure it's not actually a different file that just has a similar suffix, like a CHM (Compiled HTML Help), CHN, CHW, or CHX (AutoCAD Standards Check) file.

Each of those files opens in a unique way and do not use the applications mentioned above. If you try to open one of them with Photoshop, Snak, etc., you'll probably get an error or, if it opens at all, it will appear unreadable and unusable.

Instead, research the actual file extension that you have so that you can find the appropriate software that can open or maybe even convert it.

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