Fix: “Could not write the file. An unknown error has occurred.” on Adobe PhotoShop

How to Fix "Adobe Save for Web Error" on Adobe PhotoShop

Sometimes, when a user tries to export the file with Save for Web feature, it fails. The issue is reported on Mac, Windows, and Linux for all the image formats (JPEG, PNG, etc.) as well GIFs.

Adobe Save for Web Error

The Adobe Save for Web feature may fail to work due to many different factors but the following are the main causes reported by users to trigger the issue:

  • Error in Full Disk Access Permissions to Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop requires Full Disk Access on a Mac to complete its save for web operation to the target drive. If the Photoshop application is missing the full disk permissions on Mac, it may show the save for web error.
  • Corrupt Adobe Photoshop Preferences: Adobe Photoshop saves many of its settings to the preferences file and if that file is corrupt or any of its settings are conflicting with ‘save for web’, then Photoshop might show the current error.
  • Outdated Adobe Photoshop or OS: The Photoshop application and the OS of your system (like Windows or macOS) are regularly updated to keep up with the latest advancements in technology. If the Photoshop application or the OS of your system is outdated, it may conflict with the other, resulting in the Adobe Save for Web error.
  • Conflicting Cloud Applications: Many users prefer to back up their systems (especially, desktop and documents) to the cloud. If you are trying to save to a directory that is syncing to a cloud application (like Dropbox), then the permissions requirements of the cloud application may restrict Photoshop’s access to the folder and you may encounter the issue at hand.

Before diving into more detailed and technical solutions, you may check the following list if any of these works for you:

  1. Make sure your system meets recommended system settings for Adobe Photoshop, not just minimum requirements.
  2. If you are saving the file with a name that has some special characters (like @, -, _, \, \, etc.), then check if saving the file with a name without any special characters solves the issue. Also, if you are using animation and it has a video source, then make sure that the path to the source does not have any special character in it. Check if saving the file to a new location solves the issue.
  3. Make sure you have only one Adobe Photoshop version installed. If there is an older version of Photoshop present, uninstall it.
    Keep in mind sometimes an Adobe Photoshop update adds another application to your system (especially on a Mac) and does not replace the older one, so, make sure you are using the most recent version of the application.
    Also, if you have a shortcut define to open Adobe Photoshop, then make sure that shortcut points to the right Adobe Photoshop installation.
  4. If nothing has worked for you, then you may click on the Preview button on the Save for Web dialogue box and when the image is previewed in the browser, check if saving the image from within the browser meets your needs.
    Preview the Image in the Browser

For macOS Users

Give the Adobe Photoshop and Default Browser the Full Access to the Disk

If Adobe Photoshop or the default system browser does not have full access to the disk where you want to save the file or the access privileges of Photoshop/browser are removed, then Photoshop might fail to export for web. In this case, you can fix Adobe Save for web error by giving the Photoshop and browser full access to the disk in Mac’s preferences.

  1. Launch your Mac’s Preferences and open Security & Privacy.
    Open Security and Privacy in Mac’s System Preferences
  2. Then head to the Privacy tab and in the left pane, head to the Full Disk Access.
  3. Now click on the padlock icon near the left bottom corner and enter your credentials (if asked to).
  4. Now launch the Applications folder and drag/drop the Adobe Photoshop to the Full Access Disk applications list. You may also use the plus sign near the bottom of the list to add Photoshop.
    Give Photoshop Full Disk Access in the Privacy & Security Preferences of Mac
  5. Then restart your Mac and upon restart, launch Adobe Photoshop to check if the Save for Web feature is working fine.
  6. If not, then check if dragging and dropping the complete folder of the Adobe Photoshop (not just the application) from the Applications folder on the Applications’ list of the Full Disk Access clears the save for web error.
  7. If the issue persists, then check if giving the Full Disk Access to com.apple.appkit.xpc.openAndSavePanelService by dragging and dropping it from the following path solves the Photoshop problem:
    /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Versions/C/XPCServices/com.apple.appkit.xpc.openAndSavePanelService.xpc/Contents/MacOS/com.apple.appkit.xpc.openAndSavePanelService
  8. If that did not work, then check if giving the Full Disk Access to the default system browser (e.g., Chrome) solves the issue.

Reset Mac’s PRAM to the Defaults

PRAM (Parameter RAM) along with NVRAM is used to store all the system configurations but sometimes these RAMs get into an error state. Here, resetting the PRAM to the defaults may solve the Adobe error. Before proceeding, do not forget to back up your Mac machine.

  1. Firstly, power off your Mac system.
  2. Now hold the following keys and power on your Mac system:
    option (alt) + command + P + R
    Reset PRAM of the Mac
  3. Keep holding the above-mentioned 4 keys till you hear the start-up sound for the second time and then release the keys. In the case of Apple T2 chips, you should release the above-mentioned keys when the Apple logo is shown for the second time. In both cases, you may have to hold the above keys for around 30 seconds.
  4. Once your Mac is powered on, launch Adobe Photoshop and check if its Save for Web error is cleared.

Enable Mac’s Low-Resolution Option for the Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop might not export for the web on the Mac if the resolution is not optimal for Photoshop. Here, enabling Mac’s Low-Resolution Option for Adobe Photoshop may solve the problem.

  1. Firstly, quit Adobe Photoshop and navigate to the Applications folder of the Mac.
  2. Now select Adobe Photoshop and, in the menu shown, open Get Info.
    Set to Open Adobe Photoshop in Low Resolution
  3. Then checkmark the option of Open in Low Resolution and launch Adobe Photoshop to check if it is operating fine.

For Windows Users

Delete the Temp Files of the System

Temp files directories are used to store the temp data of the application/system and if any of the temporary Adobe Photoshop files are corrupt, the Photoshop application may throw the error at hand. In such a case, deleting the temp files and emptying the Recycle Bin may solve the problem.

  1. Firstly, quit the Adobe Photoshop application and right-click on Windows.
    Open the Run Command Box from the Quick Access Menu
  2. Now select Run and navigate to the following path:
    temp
    Open the Temp Folder
  3. Then delete all the files in the directory shown, leave the ones you cannot, and navigate to the following path in the Run box:
    %temp%
    Open the AppData temp Folder
  4. Now delete all the files in the directory shown and press the Windows + D keys to open the system’s desktop.
  5. Now right-click on the Recycle Bin and select Empty Recycle Bin.
    Empty Recycle Bin of Your System
  6. Then confirm to empty the Recycle Bin and afterward, launch the Adobe Photoshop to check if the save for web feature is working fine.
  7. If that did not work, then check if creating more space on the system drive clears out the issue. If the image size is large enough (around 20,000 inches), then you may need to have a space of around 100GB on the drive with a RAM usage of around 10GB.

For all Users (Windows and macOS)

Update the Adobe Photoshop to the Latest Build

If the Adobe Photoshop on your system is not updated to the latest build, it may conflict with the OS/modules, resulting in the Save for Web Error. Here, updating the Adobe Photoshop of your system to the latest build may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand its Help menu.
  2. Now select Updates and if a Photoshop update is available, follow the prompts to update the app. If you are using the Creative Cloud app, then you may use it to update Photoshop.
    Check for the Adobe Photoshop Updates
  3. Once the Photoshop application is updated, check if you can use the Save for Web feature without issue.

Update the OS of Your System to the Latest Build

An outdated OS may conflict with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, leading to the Save for Web error. In such a case, updating the OS of your system to the latest stable build may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss the process for a Mac system.

  1. Launch Mac’s Preferences and open Software Update.
    Open Software Update in the Mac’s Preferences
  2. Now check for the OS updates and if an update is available, click on Update Now, or in case of a newer macOS version, you may click on Upgrade Now.
    Click Update Now in Software Update
  3. Then wait till the newest update is applied to your Mac and afterward, check if Adobe Photoshop is working fine.

Increase the Memory Usage in the Adobe Photoshop Preferences

If Adobe Photoshop does not have enough memory allocated to it in its Preferences, it may fail to complete the save for web command. In this context, increasing the memory usage in the Adobe Photoshop Preferences may solve the problem. Before proceeding, close all the applications on your system, including the applications from the system tray.

  1. Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand its Edit menu.
  2. Now hover over the Preferences and select Performance.
    Open Performance Preferences of the Adobe Photoshop
  3. Then in the Memory Usage section, click on the Plus sign to increase the memory usage until 90% of the memory is allocated.
    Increase Memory Usage of the Adobe Photoshop
  4. Now apply the changes and relaunch Adobe Photoshop to check if Adobe Save for Web is working fine.
  5. If that did not work and you are trying to export an animation, check if enabling Timeline in the Window menu sorts out the issue.
    Enable Timeline in the Window Menu of Photoshop
  6. If the issue persists, check if converting the smart object to the layers in Photoshop clears the save for web error.
    Convert Smart Objects to Layers in Adobe Photoshop

Enable Optimized Export as Technology Previews of the Adobe Photoshop

Different Adobe Photoshop features are propagated through the Technology Preview by Adobe to check the compatibility of new features and one such feature is Optimized Export, which is intended to replace the Save for Web technology. If you have disabled Optimized Export as a feature, then it may break the operation of the Adobe Save for Web. Here, enabling the Optimized Export as a feature may solve the problem.

  1. Launch Adobe Photoshop and expand its Edit menu.
  2. Now hover over the Preferences menu and select Technology Previews.
    Open Technology Previews Preferences of the Adobe Photoshop
  3. Then Enable Optimized Export as and relaunch Adobe Photoshop to check if the Save for Web feature is working fine.
    Enable Optimized Export as in the Technology Previews Preferences of Photoshop
  4. If the issue is still there, check if decreasing the size of the image while exporting clears out the error.
  5. If that is not an option, then check if decreasing the image bit from 32 bit to 16 bit or 8 bit in Image>> Mode solves the problem.
    Set Image Mode to 16 Bit or 8 Bit
  6. If that did not work, then open the problematic file in Adobe Photoshop and expand the File menu.
  7. Now hover over Export and select Save for Web (Legacy).
    Open Save for Web of Adobe Photoshop
  8. Then hold the Alt key that will convert Cancel and Done buttons to the Reset and Remember buttons.
  9. Now click on the Reset, Remember buttons, and then check if the Save for Web is working fine.
    Click on the Reset and Remember Button in Save for Web Dialogue Box
  10. If the issue is still there, then check if using the File>>Export>>Export As fulfills your requirements as this feature is intended to replace the Save for Web technology. The shortcut key for Export as on Windows is Alt + Shift + Ctrl + W and for Mac, it is Shift + Option + Command + W. Keep in mind this option has fewer features and may not come in handy in case of a file with animations.
    Use the Export As to Save the File for Web

Reset Adobe Photoshop Preferences to the Defaults

Adobe Photoshop might show the Save for Web error if its Preferences are corrupt. In such a scenario, resetting Adobe Photoshop to the defaults may clear out the Save for web error.

Before proceeding, make sure to back up any custom brushes, presets, and actions as they will be wiped out on resetting the Preferences.

Reset Preferences on the Quit

  1. Launch Adobe Photoshop and open its Edit menu.
  2. Now expand Preferences and in the sub-menu, select General.
    Open General Preferences of Adobe Photoshop
  3. Then click on Reset Preferences on Quit and when asked to, confirm to reset the Preferences when quitting.
    Reset Adobe Photoshop Preferences on Quit
  4. Now relaunch the Photoshop application and check if the Save for Web error is cleared.

Reset Preferences Through the Keyboard Shortcut

  1. Quit the Adobe Photoshop application and hold the following buttons as per OS:
    Mac: Command + Options + Shift
    
    Windows: Alt + Ctrl + Shift
  2. Now launch the Adobe Photoshop, either from shortcut or from the applications list, and click Yes when asked to Reset the Adobe Photoshop Preferences.
    Confirm to Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File
  3. Then check if the Adobe Save for Web is working fine.
  4. If that did not work, then check if deleting the Preferences files from the following paths as per the OS solves the issue:
    For Mac: Users/[user name]/Library/Preferences/Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings
    
    For Windows: %AppData%/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop [version]/Adobe Photoshop [version] Settings

Disable the Backup and Sync Operation of Cloud Application

If you are trying to save to a folder that is added to the cloud backup & sync (like Dropbox) or backing up your Desktop and Documents through the cloud app, then the permissions requirements of the cloud app may hinder the Adobe Save for Web feature. In such a scenario, disabling the cloud app or exempting the folder in the cloud app’s preferences may solve the problem.

  1. Expand the system’s tray and click on your cloud application (e.g., Dropbox).
  2. Now click on your Profile icon and select Preferences.
    Open Dropbox Preferences
  3. Then head to the Backups tab and click Manage Backup or you may select Selective Sync in the Sync tab.
    Open Selective Sync of the Dropbox Folder
  4. Now uncheck the folders which you do not want to sync online, especially, Desktop and Documents folders.
  5. Then apply your changes and launch Adobe Photoshop.
  6. Now try to save the problematic file to the folder and check if Adobe Photoshop is working fine. Keep in mind that you may be asked to give permissions to write to the folder, if so, then enable write permissions for Adobe Photoshop.

Reinstall the Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop may display the error if the installation of the application is corrupt. Here, reinstalling the application may solve the problem. For elucidation, we will guide you through the process of reinstalling Adobe Photoshop on a Windows machine.

Before proceeding, make sure to back up the custom presets, brushes, actions, etc. If you are using the Adobe Creative Cloud app, then uninstall and reinstall Photoshop through it.

  1. Click Windows, type Adobe Photoshop, and right-click on it.
  2. Then select Uninstall and follow the prompts on the screen to uninstall Adobe Photoshop.
    Uninstall Adobe Photoshop
    Uninstall Adobe Photoshop
  3. After Photoshop is uninstalled, reboot your PC and upon reboot, right-click on Windows and open Run.
  4. Now navigate to the following folder:
    /Program Files/Adobe
    Open Adobe Folder in the Program Files Directory
  5. Then delete the Adobe Photoshop folder and repeat the same for the following folders:
    /Program Files (x86)
    
    %appdata%/Adobe/
  6. Now reinstall Adobe Photoshop and hopefully, it is clear of the Save for Web error.
  7. If reinstalling the most recent version of Photoshop did not work, then check if reinstalling an older version of Photoshop solves the web save issue.

If the issue persists, then check if creating a new Mac or Windows user account clears out the web save error. If the issue is still there, then check if increasing the system’s RAM or reinstalling the OS of your system solves the Adobe error. If the issue did not resolve even after that, then you may use another Adobe tool that can open PSD files like Adobe Illustrator or use another application.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: “Could not write the file. An unknown error has occurred.” on Adobe PhotoShop

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