Using External Editors With the Photos App

An app in the Mac App Store allows you to edit photos from the Photos app using any editor on your Mac. By installing this app and enabling its extension, you can jump from Photos to an editor of your choice and back again without creating any temporary files or wasting time.

Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using External Editors With the Photos App.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's learn how to edit your photos with external editors from the Photos App.

So I get asked this a lot. How can you edit a photo from the Photos App in an external application, like say PhotoShop, and then have the changes be saved back into Photos.

There is no way to do it with Photos except that when you go to edit a photo you've got the ability to add extensions. So it was only natural that somebody created an extension that allows you to do exactly this. You can get it in the Mac App Store. I bought it for 99 cents. It's called External Editors for Photos. It works really well.

Once you purchase it and install it you can actually run it and all it does when you run it is give you the options to pick Default Editor and set it to automatically open the default editor. We'll leave that automatic off because I want to show you the whole interface.

But if I go into Photos now, and here I am editing this photo, and I want to edit in External Editor, I can do that by using the Extensions button here.

So the next step, after you've installed the app, is to make sure in System Preferences under Extensions and Photos that you have it enabled. You can get to the same thing by going to the Extensions here and selecting More. It takes you right there. Once you've got it enabled now you can select it in the Extensions menu anytime you are editing a photo.

So when it select here for this I see the photo that I'm going to be editing. I see a list of all of the image editors that are installed on my Mac. I could also go to Favorites and add an application there so I can have a shorter list. Of course, if I had checked off that box saying to automatically open it, then it would skip the whole screen and go there.

I'm going to select Acorn and it will open up the app Acorn which is a good imaging editor I use for various things that you can get in the Mac App Store.

Now I can edit it here. So there is a lot to do in Acorn. I'm going to do something really simple here. Let's stylize it and add some sort of crystalize effect. Like that. Now that I've done that all I need to do is Save and Close. If I go back to Photos now you can see I'm still in the External Editors Extension and I see here the results.

I can hit Cancel to forget about it or Save Changes. When I Save Changes it takes me back to the editing screen of Photos and you can see it saved it here. I hit Done and you can see that's what the photo looks like now. As a matter of fact I can even see in here that's what it looks like.

Just like any editing you do in Photos it's non-destructive. So I can go back in Edit here and in addition to continuing to edit it I can also Revert to Original to get back to the original just like before. So it works perfect in every way in that it allows you to edit things in External Editor without having to save the file out and reimport it in. It works in a non destructive way just like all the regular built in editing tools inside of the Photos app.

Here’s a link to the External Editors For Photos app in the Mac App Store.

Comments: 4 Responses to “Using External Editors With the Photos App”

    Henry Myers
    3 years ago

    I wish there were an extention to enable at least video smoothing without creating a new file with the date and location altered.

    Jack Roehm
    3 years ago

    Selecting an external photo editor was built into iPhoto. Editing in Photos has been driving me buggy. What a great tip! Thanks a million. (For years, I have been using Photoshop Elements for editing). THANKS again.

    3 years ago

    Using Pixelmator (other than Acorn) doesn’t seem to work. It won’t save It to Photos.
    Thanks In advance.

    3 years ago

    Robert: You may want to contact them about that. Pixelmator already has their own extensions, but they are only for special features. I’d like to see them offer their own full external editing extension.

Comments Closed.