While the DDS (Direct Draw Surface) format is not such a widely used image format, you may sometimes bump into the DDS file. The DDS format is a type of image, or bitmap, file that has been created specifically for use with DirectDraw Surface (DDS). Microsoft developed this format to be used for 3D games and other applications that require high-quality 2D graphics.
It’s a raster image (contains compressed and decompressed pixels) that ‘s saved in the DDS format which is the usual graphics seen on a computer screen. These image files are mostly used for storing digital pictures, often related to the 3D games as mentioned above. This was launched by Microsoft alongside the DirectX 7.0.
So, if you come across a DDS file and you are unable to view it on your Windows 10 PC, this tutorial will guide you through the process and even show you how to convert it to PNG format. Let’s see how:
How to Open DDS Files in Windows 10
There are several image editors available online that can help you open the DDS files on your Windows 10 PC. Some of which are free image editors and can still do a great job. Here’s a quick list of some of the free image editors that help you open DDS files in Windows 10:
NVIDIA Windows Texture Viewer
If you are looking for a free image editor that helps you to open the DDS files for free, then NVIDIA Windows Texture Viewer is one of the best tools to choose from. Follow the below instructions to open DDS files on your Windows 10 PC:
Step 1: Visit the below official download page to download the Windows Texture Viewer tool:
Step 2: Once you have downloaded the .rar setup file, open the zip folder and extract it to your desktop.
Step 3: Go to your desktop and double-click on the WTV folder to open its contents.
Step 3: Now, double-click on the WTF.exe file to open the tool.
Next, navigate to the File tab on the upper left side of the app and select Open…(O).
Step 4: From the Open file window, select the file in DDS format.
Your DDS file is now open in the image viewer and you can view the image clearly.
DDS Viewer is yet another free image viewer that helps you to open and view DDS files easily. Here’s how to download and install the program to open DDS files:
Step 1: Click on the below link to visit the download page of the DDS Viewer:
Step 2: Next, click to open the set up file.
Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation of the program.
Step 3: Now, go to your desktop and double-click on the app icon to launch the DDS Viewer app.
Step 4: It will open the File Explorer window from where you can select the DDS file from the location where it is saved.
For instance, the DDS file on my PC is saved on Desktop, hence I navigate to desktop and select the file.
Click on Open.
The selected DDS file is now open in the DDS Viewer tool and you should be able to see it now.
How to Edit DDS Files in Windows 10
However, if you wish to both open and edit the DDS files, you will need a separate program or an add-on that’s specially designed for programs like Adobe Photoshop. Here are a few such apps that can help you open and even edit the DDS files on your Windows 10 PC for free:
GIMP is a free and open source image editor that helps you open, view and even edit most of the major formats, including DDS files. While you can take advantage of the many customization options offered by the program, you can also choose to install the 3rd party plugins from the range. Moreover, it’s available as a plugin for the Adobe Photoshop as well. Here’s how to install it and use it to edit DDS files in Windows 10:
Step 1: Visit the below link to download the GIMP tool:
Step 2: Next, you can either choose to download the file through BitTorrent or directly.
Now, click to open the setup file.
Step 3: You will now see a prompt – Select Setup Install Mode.
Click on Install for all users to continue with the installation.
Step 4: In the Select Setup Language prompt, select the language from the drop-down and press OK.
Step 5: Press Install in the next window and wait till the program is installed.
Step 6: Once installed, launch the GIMP app.
Step 7: Go to the File tab on the top left side of the GIMP app and select Open.
Step 8: In the File Explorer window, go to the location where you saved the DDS file, select it and click on the Open button below.
This will open the DS file in the GIMP app and you can now proceed to edit the file using the different customizations options available in the tool.
Adobe Photoshop does not need a separate introduction, especially when it’s about editing files. As a bonus, it also helps you open, view and even DDS files smoothly and effectively. However, to access the Adobe Photoshop tool, you would need to have to install the NVIDIA Texture Tools as an add-on. Here’s how to install and add the NVIDIA Texture Tools as a plug-in for the Photoshop and edit your DDS files flawlessly:
*Note – To be able to download the NVIDIA Texture Tools, you must register with the NVIDIA Developer Program. It’s free and quick to install.
Step 1: Click on the below link to download the NVIDIA Texture Tools for Adobe Photoshop:
Download NVIDIA Texture Tools plugin
Step 2: Once downloaded, double-click on the set up file to run the program.
Step 3: Next, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
It is now added to Photoshop as a plug-in.
Step 4: Now, launch the Adobe Photoshop app, navigate to the File tab and click on Open.
Step 5: Look for your DDS file in the File Explorer window, select it and press Open.
It will now appear in the Adobe Photoshop app. You can now continue editing the DDS file using the NVIDIA Texture Tools plug-in.
How to Convert DDS Files to PNG Format in Windows 10
There is a possibility that instead of opening the DDS file, you may want to convert it into a more familiar format like the PNG format as an easier alternative. In fact, you may also want to convert the image into some other formats as you feel comfortable. Follow the below instructions to convert DDS files to PNG format or any other format on your Windows 10 PC:
Step 1: Click on the below link to visit the AConvert website to convert the DDS file to PNG format:
Step 2: Now, scroll down a bit and under the DDS to PNG – Convert image online section, click on Choose Files to select the file from your PC.
Select the Target Format (for instance, PNG in this case), Image Quality (if you prefer) and the size of the image in the Resize image filed.
Press Convert Now!
It will be converted in a couple of seconds. Now, go to the Conversion Results field and click on the download icon next to the file, under the Action column.
*Note – You can also convert it to any other format by selecting the required format in the Target format field.