What Is a KYS File?

How to Open or Edit Photoshop KYS Files

A file with the KYS file extension is an Adobe Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts file. Photoshop lets you save custom keyboard shortcuts for opening menus or running certain commands, and the KYS file is what's used to store those saved shortcuts.

For example, you can store custom keyboard shortcuts for opening images, creating new layers, saving projects, flattening all the layers, and lots more.

KYS files in Windows 10

To create a Keyboard Shortcuts file in Photoshop, navigate to Window > Workspace > Keyboard Shortcuts & Menus, and use the Keyboard Shortcuts tab to find the small download button used to save the shortcuts to a KYS file.

How to Open a KYS File

KYS files are created by and can be opened with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Since this is a proprietary format, you probably won't find other programs that open these types of KYS files.

If you double-click the KYS file to open it with Photoshop, nothing will show up on the screen. However, in the background, the new keyboard shortcut settings will be saved as the new default set of shortcuts that Photoshop should use.

Opening the KYS file this way is the fastest method to start using it with Photoshop. However, if you need to make changes to the set of keyboard shortcuts or change which set should be used at any given time, you have to go into Photoshop's settings.

You can make changes to which set of shortcuts Photoshop should have "active" by going into the same screen used to make the KYS file, which is Window > Workspace > Keyboard Shortcuts & Menus. In that window is a tab called Keyboard Shortcuts. This screen lets you not only pick which KYS file should be used but also lets you edit each and every shortcut from that set.

Photoshop keyboard shortcuts and menus screen

You can also import KYS files into Photoshop by putting them in a specific folder that Photoshop can read from. However, if you do put the KYS file in this folder, you have to then reopen Photoshop, go into the menu explained above, select the KYS file, and save the changes to start using those shortcuts.

This is the folder for KYS files in Windows; it's probably down a similar path in macOS:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop [version]\Presets\Keyboard Shortcuts\

KYS files are actually just plain text files. This means you can also open them with Notepad in Windows, TextEdit in macOS, or any other text editor. However, doing this just lets you see the shortcuts that are stored within the file but doesn't let you use them. To use the shortcuts in the KYS file, you have to follow the instructions above to import and activate them within Photoshop.

How to Convert a KYS File

A KYS file is only used with Adobe programs. Converting one to a different file format would mean that the programs can't read them correctly, and therefore not use any custom keyboard shortcuts. This is why there aren't any conversion tools that work with KYS file.

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