PSD and variable data printing

Adobe’s PSD is a very important file format in the contemporary imaging industry. Every professional in this industry has some experience with Photoshop and myriad images are created or processed with Photoshop daily. That is why we believe that the native Photoshop format support is one of the most essential features of Graphics Mill.

This format is very complicated and no software except Photoshop supports it completely. And Graphics Mill is no exception. Photoshop was initially released in 1990 and for 20+ years a lot of PSD versions appeared and a lot of features were added.

Nevertheless, Graphics Mill supports enough PSD features to make it a powerful tool for handling PSD files in your ASP.NET and C# applications.

Preview image

The most readily apparent feature is the ability to load a PSD file preview. Graphics Mill allows you to load the image as you see it in Photoshop, generate a thumbnail, and manipulate it in the same way you can do with other file formats.


When you design an image in Photoshop, you usually use multiple layers to place different image elements on the image. Graphics Mill allows you to load each layer as a bitmap, and read some layer-specific data (e.g. coordinates, layer name, visibility, opacity, etc).

Text Layers

Not all layers contain plain pixels. Sometimes layers are text. Although you can still work with them as with a regular raster image, it is more useful to work with it as with a text file. And Graphics Mill allows this!

You can extract the text string, get font settings (like font name, bold/italic, etc), text color, and even paragraph settings (like justification, right/left indent, etc).

Example of usage: variable data templates

As you can see from these features, Graphics Mill can be used to manipulate PSD files as templates for variable data printing. For example, let’s imagine that you are building a web-to-print website where your customers can order business cards.

Example of usage

How should you use Graphics Mill in this case?

  1. You should prepare a PSD file – and mark up variable layers, e.g. by prepending a special character to its names, etc.
  2. Gather values for the text fields from a database or by asking a user to fill them in.
  3. Iterate through all the layers and replace their values (but leave the same font settings).
  4. Merge all the layers together.

That’s it!

Using Graphics Mill and PSD files you can build a powerful variable data printing solution.

Ready-to-use Business Card Editor

If you need not just to parse PSD files, but also modify it online, take a look at our Customers' Canvas solution. It is a ready-to-use ASP.NET solution based on Graphics Mill which allows editing business cards and similar graphics online.