What is a PEF File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert PEF Files

Screenshot of the PEF file icon used with Adobe Photoshop

A file with the PEF file extension is a Pentax Raw Image file that stands for Pentax Electronic File. It's an uncompressed and unedited photo taken with a Pentax digital camera. The image as yet to be processed in any way - it represents all the raw data taken in by the camera.

Other PEF files may instead be Portable Embosser Format files; they're sometimes called PEF Braille Book files. Those types of PEF files use the XML format to represent physical braille books.

Note: Pentax Raw Image files are sometimes in the PTX format. Both PEF and PTX files are similar to other image file formats that digital cameras use to store unmodified data, like Nikon's NEF, Canon's CR2 and CRW, Sony's ARW and SRF, and Olympus' ORF.

How To Open a PEF File

PEF files that are image files from a Pentax camera can be opened with the software that comes with the digital camera, as well as with Able RAWer, UFRaw, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and probably some other popular photo and graphics tools.

Note: If you can't open the PEF file in Windows using Windows Live Photo Gallery, you might need to install the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack.

Braille Utils should be able to open PEF Braille Book files. These types of PEF files can be opened on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) too, using the PEF Viewer app.

See this list of software at pef-format.org for some other programs that use PEF files.

However, understand that some of those programs may only create braille files but not actually be able to open them.

Note: If your file isn't opening using the suggestions from above, it's possible you're misreading the file extension. Even though their file extensions look similar, PEF files have nothing to do with PDF, PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail Certificate), or PEG (Peggle Replay) files.

So, if you're dealing with one of those files instead, you'll most likely have to use different software to open it.

How To Convert a PEF File

Some free image converter tools can convert PEF files to a different image format. Zamzar is one example - it's an online PEF converter, which means that you have to first upload the PEF file to Zamzar and then choose an output format to convert it to, and then download that converted file back to your computer before you can use it.

Zamzar can convert PEF to JPG, PNG, BMP, PDF, TIFF, TGA, and other similar formats.

Adobe DNG Converter for Windows can convert the PEF file to DNG. Adobe has the same program available for macOS here.

Braille Utils, which I linked to above, might be able to convert that type of PEF file to another format, as might the other programs in that list I mentioned above from pef-format.org.

More Help With PEF Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the PEF file and I'll see what I can do to help.