What Is a PCT File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert PCT & PICT Files

A file with the PCT file extension is a Macintosh Picture Image file and was the default file format for the (now discontinued) QuickDraw Mac program. Some applications still use the PCT format, but PDF has all but replaced it.

The image data in a Macintosh Picture Image file may be in the original PICT 1 format or the PICT 2 format introduced in Color QuickDraw. The first can store eight colors while the second and newer format supports thousands of colors.

Depending on the application that created it, you may find Macintosh Picture Image files with either the .PCT or the .PICT file extension, but both file types are in the same format.

Screenshot of several PCT files in Windows 10 that open with Photoshop

PCT is the initialism for a variety of tech terms but none of them are related to this file format. Some examples include projected capacitive touchscreen, program coding tools, private communication technology, and parallel cellular tool.

How to Open a PCT File

While the QuickDraw program is discontinued, PCT files of both formats can be opened with several popular photo and graphics tools, some of which you may already own or have installed.

For example, pretty much every Adobe tool can open PCT files, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects.

If you're using Photoshop, you might need to use the File > Import > Video Frames to Layers menu item.

In addition to these applications, programs like XnView, GIMP, Corel PaintShop Pro, Apple Preview, and probably most other popular graphics tools, also include support for the PICT 1 and PICT 2 formats.

However, we recommend converting the file to a format that's more popular and usable in modern image editors and viewers. That way you can share it with others and be confident that they'll be able to open or edit it. You can read more about converting PCT files in that section below.

If you find that a program on your PC is the default program that opens PCT or PICT files when you double-click on them, but you'd rather it be a different program, You can change the default program for a specific file extension in Windows.

How to Convert a PCT File

The easiest way to convert a PCT file to another image format is to use XnView. You can do this from the File > Save As or File > Export menu to convert to any number of other, more common, image formats.

You might also have luck using one of the PCT openers mentioned above. Photoshop, for example, saves the format to PNG, JPG, and several others.

PCT to PNG conversion with Photoshop

Another option is to upload the PCT file to Online-Convert.com. That website gives you the option to save to formats like BMP and GIF. Being an online tool, this method works equally well on any operating system, whether it be Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.

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