MPO File: The Ultimate Guide to MPO Files

There's nothing more frustrating than trying to open an MPO file (or any other file format for that matter), and it fails. You've tried everything, but the file won't open. If that's you, you'll be happy to know there are a few things you can do to get around this problem.

What is an MPO file?

An MPO file is a stereoscopic image consisting of two overlapping 2D images in JPG format. It's also known as a "stereoscopic pair" or "parallel stereo." The MPO file format was first developed by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) and has since been used by different companies and organizations.

Today, most 3D movies use MPO files because they're easy to create, and they provide better quality than other formats such as AVI and MOV. Here's a quick list of some of the major players in the industry who have adopted the MPO file format: Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Kodak, Samsung, LG, etc. There are many others too, so if you'd like to learn more about them, check out our article on 3D movie makers.

Are MPO files dangerous?

No, not at all! The MPO file format is very safe. Unlike the AVI and MOV formats, which store data in a single container, the MPO format stores each frame of a stereoscopic image separately. That means that if one component of your MPO file gets corrupted, you don't lose the entire file. What's more, the MPO format supports multiple layers of compression and can even compress the frames individually. So, while it may seem like MPO files are complex, they're actually quite simple.

How to open an MPO file

You'll need suitable software like PaintShop Pro to open an MPO file. Else, you'll be receiving messages like "Windows cannot open this file," or "How would you like to open this file?" After installing or launching PaintShop Pro software, you need to long-press or right-click your MPO file, and boom, it will open! Even better, you can open or display your MPO file directly in the browser by dragging and dropping the file onto the browser window.

Here are three additional tips to help you eliminate the hassle of opening an MPO file:

  1. Make sure the MPO file is saved correctly

    The first thing is to ensure you save the file with a .mpo extension. Most programs automatically recognize the .mpo extension, but you can add it manually if yours doesn't. Also, ensure you save the file using the highest possible bitrate. For example, if you're working with a 720p video, you should set the bitrate to 10 Mbps. And if you're working with 1080p, you should set it to 15 Mbps.

  2. Check the file size

    When creating an MPO file, you need to set the correct dimensions and resolution. For example, if your source footage is 1280 x 720 pixels, your final output must be 1280 x 720. If you're using a 4K camera, you need to ensure your final output is 4K.

  3. Use the right codecs

    You should always use lossless codecs when working with MPO files. Lossy codecs reduce the amount of data stored, resulting in lower-quality images. However, if you want to work with compressed files, you should use H.264 codecs. These codecs are supported by almost every program and are incredibly efficient.


There you have it, folks! Opening an MPO file isn't that challenging, after all. As long as you have the right software solution — PaintShop Pro — and follow a few basic steps, you can easily convert any digital media into an MPO file. The ball's now on your court; take advantage of our PaintShop Pro FREE trials and start opening your MPO files with a press of a few buttons!

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