GRD File: What It Is & How to Open One

Screenshot of several GRD files in Windows 10 that open with Photoshop
GRD Files.

A file with the GRD file extension is most likely an Adobe Photoshop Gradient file. These files are used to store presets which define how multiple colors should blend together.

An Adobe Photoshop Gradient file is used to apply the same blending effect to multiple objects or backgrounds.

Some GRD files may instead be Surfer Grid files, a format used for storing map data in either a text or binary format. Others might be used as Encrypted Disk Image format files in PhysTechSoft's StrongDisk software.

GRD is also the currency code for the Drachma, the currency Greece used until it was replaced by the Euro in 2001. GRD files have nothing at all to do with GRD currency.

How to Open a GRD File

GRD files can be opened with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements. By default, the built-in gradients that come with Photoshop are stored in Photoshop's installation directory under the /Presets/Gradients/ folder.

You can open the GRD file manually if double-clicking it doesn't result in it opening in Photoshop. To do this, choose the Gradient Tool (keyboard shortcut "G") from the Tools bar. Then, at the top of Photoshop below the menus, select the color that's showing so that the Gradient Editor opens. Choose Load... to browse for the GRD file.

Use the Save... button from Gradient Editor to make your own GRD file.

Surfer Grid files that use the GRD file extension can be opened using Golden Software's Surfer, Grapher, Didger, and Voxler tools. If one of those programs won't open your GRD file, you might want to try GDAL or DIVA-GIS.

Though your GRD is most likely in one of the formats already mentioned, your GRD file may be an Encrypted Disk Image file. If so, the only way to open it would be with the StrongDisk Pro software from PhysTechSoft, via its Mount > Browse... button.

Other formats may also exist that use the "GRD" extension. If your GRD file doesn't open with the programs we've already mentioned, you might try using a free text editor to open the file as a text document. If you can manage to find any readable text in the file, like at the very top or very bottom, you might be able to use that information to research the program that was used to create your GRD file.

Considering the number of programs that might open a GRD file, it's possible you could find yourself with more than one of them installed at the same time. That's fine, but only one program can open a type of file when double-clicked on.

How to Convert a GRD File

GRD files used in Photoshop can be converted to PNG, SVG, GGR (GIMP Gradient file), and several other formats with cptutils-online.

The ArcGIS Pro (formerly ArcGIS Desktop) ArcToolbox can convert a grid file to a shapefile (SHP file). Follow these steps on Esri's website for instructions on how to do this. You can also use Grid Convert to save a Surfer Grid file to ASC, FLT, HDR, DAT, or CSV.

You normally need some sort of file converter, like one of those mentioned above, before you can convert a file to a different format. However, while we do recommend you use one of the dedicated converters, in the case of a Surfer Grid file, you should be able to just rename the GRD file to an ASC file and then open it directly in ArcMap.

Unfortunately, Encrypted Disk Image format files used with StrongDisk can't be saved in any other format.