Open NEF Files in Photoshop With Ease

8 minutes read

Facing trouble opening NEF files in Photoshop? Don’t worry. Going through this article will help you get over the issue with ease, using a few simple methods. This way, you can continue perfecting your pictures just the way you need.

Written By
Updated On

When we take a look at our gallery with some of our best memories stored, we realize that it definitely manages to put a good spin on our entire day. And why shouldn't it, after all, they are pictures of good times – inspiring moments, moments with friends, and family, creativity at its motivational crescendo. Each of these moments has its own special place in our hearts and memories.

But, every now and then we feel the need to add just a little touch of perfection to these photos. That is where the need to find the quickest and easiest way to utilize Photoshop and its features comes in handy.

So, what do you do when you have a NEF file that you need to Photoshop? The answer is simple – curious? Read further to know and have some of your favorite memories perfected easily.

Can you open NEF files in CS5? Because I can't.

There has to be an update or a raw plugin for this….am I missing something? Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
Using Mac OS with Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5 12.0.4 x64

Source: Reddit

NEF File

To begin, note that NEF is not Greek or Latin it's a simple abbreviated for Nikon Electronic Format. I think you have already made the connection and have figured out that it is only used on Nikon Cameras. Now the main question arises i.e., can you open a NEF file in Photoshop? The answer is 'Yes' you can.

Now that you know you can open NEF files in Photoshop the immediately following question that arises is how do I go about it?

Well, there are different ways to open NEF files and each of them is simple. All you need to do is read the entire article, pick the one that suits your Photoshop need, and follow the simple steps.

Opening NEF file Online:

1. Let's begin with knowing that if you are not interested in downloading your NEF file but instead you want to open it online then all you need to do is go to

2. When you go to you can on the main page either drag and drop images or click on Open files. Once you open the file or drag and drop the image.

Click on the convert button at the bottom right side of the screen.

You might be wondering why do I need to convert my photo and convert it into what? Relax the reason your file is getting converted is because the NEF file can be a few months or years old and it can be precise to the model of your Nikon camera.

Compatibility is important between the file version and the app when you want to make changes to the images. In this app, your NEF file is first getting converted into a JPG file. And you will find that your file has been converted when you click on the Convert button. Also, know that none of the photos have been uploaded because this is not a server-based converter. Now you can go ahead and make the changes you want to, whether it is the size or the quality.

3. Once, you have made the necessary changes to your photos you can either upload it on Google Drive, share it directly on Facebook, or save it. But remember, that this is a paid app. That can help you convert your photos from NEF to JPEG or JPG files and then use the Photoshop features.

Using Adobe Photoshop:

Method 1: Update Photoshop

If you are using an older version of Photoshop then the software will not be containing the plugin and does not include information for your specific camera model. You'll have to manually do it.

  • Click on Help and select About Photoshop for newer camera models.
  • Click Help and select Updates and choose the Photoshop Camera Raw Plugin from the list and click on Update and download the latest version.
  • Restart Photoshop now and try opening the NEF file again.

In case you have a NEF file from a brand-new camera then you have to proceed with the next method to open the NEF file on Photoshop.

Method 2: Convert NEF to DNG

1.  Whenever your NEF is with a NEF file extension know that it has become a RAW image file to be more specific it is a Nikon RAW image file. You might be wondering why you need to have a file extension. You need it because a file extension will always help a system such as Windows to ascertain which that program on your computer that particular file is connected with.

2. Now that your NEF file is a RAW file it only gets easier to open it in Photoshop. You will have to check the compatibility with the version of your NEF file and your version of Adobe Photoshop. At times your RAW file information can be precise to the model of your Nikon camera model.

In such a case, you might have trouble opening your file in Adobe Photoshop. Don't worry! Every problem has a solution, in this case, all you need to do is convert your file type into a different one.

It is always wise to convert it into a file type that can be compatible with every version of Photoshop. It is commonly suggested that you should have it converted into a DNG file type.

3. To know how to go about converting your file type into a DNG file type all you need to do is download the Adobe DNG converter. Once, you have downloaded it, double-click on the installation package and install it on your computer. Remember, the Adobe DNG converter is compatible with both Windows and Mac. Navigate on your installation pack and you will find the Adobe DNG converter, double-click on it to launch it.

4. Once, you have downloaded, installed, and launched the Adobe DNG converter on your computer

  • Click on Select Folder and select the one you wanted to make changes in. Just below that in the same window, you will find a Select location to Save Converted images.
  • Under that, you will find Select Name for Converted images you can choose a different name to save it in. Once you are done with choosing your preferences click on Convert.
  • Click on OK when it is done. And when you look at your folder you will find that it says your file RAW file which was your original file and a DNG file which is your new converted one. 
  • You will now be able to open your DNG file in Adobe Photoshop and make the changes you want.

There are times when you are going through your photos and you realize that some of your photos are missing or deleted, in such a case you can always find out how to restore NEF files from Nikon easily. This article will give you a step-by-step guide so that you can enjoy the best of your memories.


RAW files provide loads of details, and opening a NEF file in Photoshop is easy and direct. We believe this article helped you perfect your images using Photoshop as they deserve. If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…