What Is a ZXP File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert ZXP Files

ZXP Files
ZXP Files.

A file with the ZXP file extension is an Adobe Zip Format Extension Package file that contains little bits of software that add functionality to an Adobe software product. 

ZXP files are really just compressed ZIP files. They replace the older Macromedia Extension Plugin file format that uses the .MXP file extension, and improve on the older format by supporting a digital signature to identify the publisher of the extension.

Tip: There are lots of free Photoshop filters and plugins that come in this format.

How to Open a ZXP File

Adobe Extension Manager version CS5.5 and higher supports ZXP files, while prior versions of Extension Manager can use the original MXP format. Creative Cloud 2015 and newer requires the Creative Cloud desktop program in order to use ZXP files.

Note: You don't need to decompress a ZXP file before using it with an Adobe program because the software automatically does that for you. With one of those programs installed, you can double-click the ZXP file to start installing it.

See Adobe's Extension Manager tutorial if you need help downloading and installing ZXP files in Extension Manager, or this Creative Cloud Help document for help installing ZXP files with Creative Cloud (including third-party extensions). Also check out Troubleshooting Adobe Add-ons if you're having trouble using ZXP files with these applications.

The third-party program called Adobe ZXPInstaller can install these files too. Another, Anastasiy's Extension Manager, can install, remove and update ZXP files.

Since ZXP files are in the ZIP archive format, you can also open them with a zip/unzip tool like 7-Zip. Doing this won't let you use the file with an Adobe program but it will let you see the different files and folders that make up the ZXP file.

Note: Even though their file extensions look similar, ZXP files have nothing to do with ZPS files, which are Zebra Portable Safe files used with a program called ZPS Explorer. Another similarly spelled file extension is ZIPX, which is used for Extended Zip files; they can be opened with PeaZip.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the ZXP file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open ZXP files, see my How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert a ZXP File

You don't really need to convert ZXP to ZIP because you can just rename the file extension from .ZXP to .ZIP. Doing this will let you open the file in any file unzip tool that supports the ZIP format.

If you need to do the opposite, and convert the older MXP format to ZXP, use the Tools > Convert MXP extension to ZXP menu option in Adobe Extension Manager CS6.

Additional Information on ZXP Files

If a ZXP file isn't opening on your computer, it's possible you don't have the right Adobe program necessary for using it. The extension should have some other files and folders associated with it. Open the one called CSXS and then the XML file inside that folder, called manifest.xml.

Within the XML file is a section surrounded by a HostList tag. See which Adobe programs are listed there; those are the only ones that can use that particular ZXP file.

Common places where you might find ZXP files in Windows include:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Bridge [version]\PublishPanel\factory\zxp\
C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Extension Manager CC\EM Store\Virtual Product\

On macOS, ZXP files are often found in these folders:

/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
/Library/Application Support/Adobe/extensions/
/Users/[username]/Application Support/Adobe/CEP/extensions/
/Users/Application Support/Adobe/extensions/

More Help With ZXP Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the ZXP file and I'll see what I can do to help.