What Is a ZXP File?

Here's how to use ZXP files with your Adobe programs

What to Know

This article explains what ZXP files are used for and how to open one on your computer.

What Is a ZXP File?

A file with the ZXP file extension is an Adobe extension package that contains little bits of software that adds functionality to an Adobe software product.

ZXP files are really just compressed ZIP files. They replace the older Macromedia extension plugin format (.MXP files) and improve on it by supporting a digital signature to identify the publisher of the extension.

ZXP Files

There are lots of free Photoshop filters and plugins that come in this format.

How to Open a ZXP File

Adobe Extension Manager version CS5.5 and higher supports ZXP files, while prior versions can use the original MXP format. Creative Cloud 2015 and newer requires the Creative Cloud desktop program in order to use ZXP files.

See Adobe's Creative Cloud tutorial if you need help downloading and installing ZXP files with Creative Cloud (including third-party extensions). Also, check out Adobe's troubleshooting guide if you're having trouble using ZXP files with these applications.

Third-party programs like Adobe ZXPInstaller and ZXP Installer can install these files, too. Another, Anastasiy's Extension Manager, can install, remove, and update ZXP files.

Since these package files are in the ZIP archive format, you can also open them with a zip/unzip tool like 7-Zip. Doing this won't let you use it with an Adobe program, but it will let you see the different files and folders that make up the file.

How to Convert a ZXP File

You don't really need to convert ZXP to ZIP because you can just rename the file extension from .ZXP to .ZIP. Doing this will let you open the file in any file unzip tool that supports the ZIP format.

If you need to do the opposite and convert the older MXP format to ZXP, use the Tools > Convert MXP extension to ZXP menu option in Adobe Extension Manager CS6.

Additional Information on ZXP Files

If the file doesn't open on your computer, it's possible you don't have the right Adobe program necessary for using it. If the extension has other files and folders associated with it, open CSXS and then manifest.xml inside that folder.

Within the XML file is a section surrounded by a "HostList" tag. See which Adobe programs are listed there; those are the only ones that can use that particular ZXP file.

Common places where you might find ZXP files in Windows include:

  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Bridge [version]\PublishPanel\factory\zxp\
  • C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Extension Manager CC\EM Store\Virtual Product\

On macOS, ZXP files are often found in these folders:

  • /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
  • /Library/Application Support/Adobe/extensions/
  • /Users/[username]/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
  • /Users/Application Support/Adobe/extensions/

Still Can't Open It?

Even though their file extensions look similar, ZXP files have nothing to do with ZPS files, which are Zebra Portable Safe files used with a program called ZPS Explorer.

Another similarly spelled file extension is ZIPX, used for Extended Zip files; they can be opened with PeaZip.

If you re-read the file extension for your file and find that it doesn't end with "ZXP," research the file extension that's there to learn more about the format and what program can open the file.

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