What is a PCT File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert PCT & PICT Files

Picture of the PICT file icon

A file with the PCT file extension is a Macintosh Picture Image file, and was the default file format for the (now discontinued) QuickDraw Mac program. Though some applications still use the PCT format, PDF has all but replaced it.

The image data in a Macintosh Picture Image file may be in the original PICT 1 format or the PICT 2 format introduced in Color QuickDraw. The first can store eight colors while the second and newer format supports thousands of colors.

Depending on the application that created it, you may find Macintosh Picture Image files with either the .PCT or the .PICT file extension, but both file types are in the same format.

How To Open a PCT File

Though the QuickDraw program is now discontinued, PCT files of both formats can be opened with several popular photo and graphics tools, some of which you may already own or have installed.

For example, pretty much every Adobe tool can open PCT files, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, and After Effects.

In addition to these applications, programs like XnView, GIMP, Corel PaintShop Pro, Apple Preview, and probably most other popular graphics tools, also include support for the PICT 1 and PICT 2 formats.

Note: I recommend converting the PCT file you have to a format that's more popular and usable in modern image editors and viewers. That way you can share the image with others and be confident that they'll be able to open or edit it.

You can read more about converting PCT files in that section below.

If you find that a program on your PC is the default program that opens PCT or PICT files when you double-click on them but you'd rather it be a different program, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension tutorial for help.

You can change which program on your computer opens these files to any that supports PCT files.

How To Convert a PCT File

The easiest way to convert a PCT file to another image format is to use one of the PCT openers I mentioned above. Most of them support exporting or saving an open PCT or PICT file to another format.

XnView, for example, can do this from the File > Save As... or File > Export... menu to convert PCT to any number of other, more common, image formats.

Another option is to upload the PCT file to Online-Convert.com. Once uploaded to the website, it will convert the PCT file to JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF, and several other similar image file formats. Being an online tool, this method works equally well on any operating system, whether it be Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.