What Is an EXR File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert EXR Files

EXR Files
EXR Files.

A file with the EXR file extension is an OpenEXR Bitmap file. It's an open source HDR (high-dynamic-range imaging) image file format created by the Industrial Light & Magic visual effects company.

EXR files are used by various photo editing, visual effects, and animation programs because they can store high quality images, can be comprised of lossless or lossy compression, support multiple layers, and hold a high luminance range and color.

More information on this format can be seen at the official OpenEXR website.

How to Open an EXR File

EXR files can be opened with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe SpeedGrade, but they may require the fnord ProEXR plugin.

MacPhus ColorStrokes and advanced imaging programs like Serif's PhotoPlus should also be able to open EXR files, as can Autodesk's 3ds Max.

Note: If you can't get your EXR file to open in the programs I just mentioned, make sure you're reading the file extension correctly. Some files look like EXR files even though they really aren't related at all, like EXE, EX4, and EXD files. EXP files are similar, though they might be Symbols Exports, CATIA 4 Export, SonicWALL Preference, or Aurora Export Trace files (or just general export files used by a variety of software programs).

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the EXR file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open EXR files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert an EXR File

AConvert.com is an online file converter that supports the EXR format. It's able to upload your EXR file and then convert it to JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, and many other formats. AConvert.com can also resize the image before converting it.

You might also be able to convert an EXR file using one of the programs from above that can open the file, but a file converter like AConvert.com is much quicker and doesn't need to be installed to your computer before you use it.

More Information on EXR Files

The OpenEXR Bitmap file format was created in 1999 and released to the public for the first time in 2003. The last version of this format was 2.2.0, which was released in 2014.

Since version 1.3.0 (released June, 2006), the OpenEXR format supports multithreading reading/writing, which improves performance for CPUs with multiple cores.

This file format supports several compression schemes, including PIZ, ZIP, ZIPS, PXR24, B44, and B44A.

See the Technical Introduction to OpenEXR document (a PDF file) from OpenEXR's website for more information on not only EXR compression but also a closer look at the format's features, file structure, and lots of other super specific details.

More Help With EXR Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the EXR file and I'll see what I can do to help.

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