What Is an STA File?

Photoshop uses STA files to store color details, but two unrelated formats share this same file extension

What to Know

  • Some STA files are Match Color Image Statistics files that are used by Photoshop.
  • To use one in Photoshop, go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color > Load Statistics.
  • Other STA files could be MAME Saved State files or Abaqus plain text files.

This article explains what an STA file is (there are a few kinds), how to open one on your computer, and, if possible, how to convert one to a different format.

What Is an STA File?

A file with the STA file extension could be an Adobe Photoshop Match Color Image Statistics file. Photoshop uses it to save image options like luminance, color intensity, and fade so that the same values can be applied to a different image or layer.

sta files used by photoshop in windows 11

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) also uses the STA extension for their MAME Saved State file format. The emulator uses the file to store a captured state of an arcade game that's being imitated through computer software.

When a MAME STA file is created, the emulator stops all the gameplay at that exact moment (basically like pausing the game) and can use the file again to resume the game at that exact same place. So with MAME, the STA file enables an easy way to stop and then resume progress whenever you like.

Some STA files may instead be plain text status files used by the Abaqus computer-aided engineering software.

How to Open an STA File

If your file is associated with Adobe Photoshop, it can be opened (surprise!) with Photoshop.

While most files can be opened in their default program via double-clicking (or double-tapping), that won't work with Photoshop STA files. You'll have to open one of those manually.

Be sure the image you want the file applied to is already open in Photoshop, and then go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color > Load Statistics to browse for and select the STA file that should be applied to the photo.

Adobe Photoshop Match Color options

You can build your own Image Statistics file through that same menu—just select Save Statistics instead.

MAME Saved State files are used by MAME and ExtraMAME in Windows, and can be opened using MAME OS X in the Mac operating system.

ABAQUS status files are just text files, so any text editor can open them. The Abaqus software suite from Dassault Systemes is what creates these files, so it can be used to open them as well.

How to Convert an STA File

Of all the different ways STA files are used, the only format that can be converted to a different file type is the text-based ABAQUS status file. A text editor can save the file to some other text-only format like TXT, HTML, RTF, PDF, etc.

Please understand, however, that this kind of conversion will result in the file not working properly with Abaqus. Since the program uses STA files, specifically, it likely won't recognize the file if it's saved under a different file extension.

Still Can't Open the File?

A likely reason you can't open the file at this point, after trying the programs above, is because you're misreading the file extension. It can be easy to confuse other file formats for an STA file if the file extensions are similar.

For example, maybe your file actually ends with the STP or SRT file extension, but since those letters so closely resemble STA, you're confusing them for this file type even though they're completely different. Opening one of those files with an STA opener, or vice versa, won't do you any good in most circumstances.

Another very similar suffix is SAT, which is used for ACIS SAT 3D models. An SAT file can open with an Adobe program—Acrobat DC—but not with Photoshop. If you've got an SAT file, it will not work with the STA openers above.

If you haven't caught on yet, the idea here is simple: re-read the file extension and do an online search for that suffix to see what program is capable of opening or converting it to the format you need it to be in.

  • What are the other Photoshop file extensions?

    Other files formats associated with Photoshop include PSD (Photoshop Document), ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange), ACO (Adobe Color), PSB (Photoshop Big), and ATF (Adobe Photoshop Transfer Function).

  • How do I create a saved state file in MAME?

    While playing a game, press Shift+F7, then press a number between 1-9. To load the saved state, press F7 and the number associated with the saved state (for example, F7+1).

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