Maximize Compatibility for TIFF Files


Today’s Question: Since there is no “Maximize Compatibility” for TIFF files [in Adobe Photoshop], does that mean TIFF automatically creates the flattened composite layer? If TIFF files can maintain all Photoshop edits, automatically “maximize compatibility” (if, in fact, they do), and support compression to boot, is there any advantage to saving as PSD over TIFF?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can think of TIFF files saved from Adobe Photoshop as effectively always having “Maximize Compatibility” turned on, whereas this is an option you can turn on or off for PSD files. So, you might say that the only reason you might prefer to save as a PSD file is if you want to be able to turn off Maximize Compatibility.

More Detail: In Photoshop you have the option to turn “Maximize Compatibility” on or off for Photoshop PSD files you save. It is necessary to turn on Maximize Compatibility in order to be able to import photos into Lightroom Classic, or to open those PSD files with software that support PSD files but not layers and other special features in Photoshop.

You might think of TIFF files saved from Photoshop as effectively always having Maximize Compatibility turned on. In other words, even if other software supports TIFF images but does not support the various layers and other special features in Photoshop, you would still be able to open a flattened version of that TIFF image using that other software.

In addition, TIFF files provides you with greater flexibility in terms of compression compared to PSD files. Therefore, now that Photoshop supports a layer-based workflow for TIFF images in a way that used to require saving as a PSD, my general preference is to use the TIFF file format rather than the PSD file format when saving images from Photoshop (including images sent to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic).