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A quick guide to the new Pixelmator Pro extension

Pixelmator Pro now has an amazing extension for the Photos app. And unlike most other extensions, the Pixelmator Pro extension is actually the full Pixelmator Pro app integrated fully and completely inside Photos. Transforming your Photos app into a full-featured, professional, layer-based image editor. This quick guide is all about the new extension.

What’s in the Pixelmator Pro extension?

Everything from Pixelmator Pro! All the tools, features, and everything else in the full Pixelmator Pro app is now available in Photos. What’s more, you can even preserve your nondestructive edits — layers, adjustments, effects — right in your Photos library without having to create a separate Pixelmator Pro file manually.

Enabling the extension

The first thing you’ll need to do is enable the extension. To do that, open the Photos app and double-click a photo to open it.

Then, click Edit in the top right corner, click the three dots, choose Manage, and turn on Pixelmator Pro. Once you do this, the Pixelmator Pro will always be available to you within Photos so you’ll only need to do this once.

Launching the extension

To launch the extension, first double-click any photo to select it. Then, click Edit in the top right corner, click the three dots, and choose Pixelmator Pro. This will bring up the familiar Pixelmator Pro interface.

Editing images

After launching the extension, there aren’t really any special things you need to do differently from the standalone Pixelmator Pro app — simply edit images the same way you’re used to.


Because the menu bar and Pixelmator Pro toolbar aren’t available in Photos, to reach some tools and features, you’ll need to use keyboard shortcuts. For example, press c to use the Crop tool or k to find the Slice and Export for Web tools. For a full list of keyboard shortcuts, see the Keyboard Shortcuts page.

Saving edits

Once you’ve finished editing, simply click Save Changes in the Photos toolbar. You’ll be asked whether you’d like to preserve layers and other nondestructive changes to your Photos library together with the edited image. If you choose to do this, the next time you open the same image in the Pixelmator Pro extension, all its layers and other edits will be available to you.

By default, these changes are saved to an associated Pixelmator Pro file in iCloud. If you prefer, you can choose to save these associated files to your Pictures folder instead. You’ll find those preferences in Pixelmator Pro Preferences.

If you choose to save the flattened version of the image, layers and other nondestructive data will be discarded and only the final edited image will be saved to your library.

Other Edits

If you use the Photos app or any other extension to edit and save changes to an image that has an associated Pixelmator Pro file, the layered file will no longer be opened in the extension. However, it will be preserved in iCloud or the Pictures folder until you choose to delete it.

Importing an existing Pixelmator Pro image

If you’d like to import an existing Pixelmator Pro document into your Photos library, the easiest way to do so is by duplicating any image and replacing it using the Pixelmator Pro extension. To do that, select any photo, choose Image > Duplicate 1 Photo.

Then open it in the Pixelmator Pro extension and press the Commando keyboard shortcut to bring up the Replace dialog. Navigate to the Pixelmator Pro document you’d like to import and click Replace.

You can find more information about the extension in our Help manual. And if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to share them below!