PCX File: The Ultimate Guide to PCX Files

Both PC and Mac users depend on different file formats to store, edit, and transfer their data, documents, or audio data. While some file formats are straightforward, others may require special editing software to open, edit, or convert them into other formats.

The PCX file format has been around for a considerable amount of time now. Even so, most computers still struggle to open this kind of file. Here, we explain what PCX files are, where they are used, and how to open them.

What is a PCX file?

First developed in 1985, the PCX file type is among one of the earliest formats whose popularity is quickly fading away. Some software programs still use PCX because of its faxing and scanning applications features.

PCX, an acronym for Picture Exchange, is a raster image file type that gives you images with solid color pixels. This file format supports 24-bit color images, 1-bit black and white, and 8-bit grayscale. It can also support indexed color images in some cases.

Most PCX files assume the .PCX extension with multi-page PCXs acquiring the .DCX extension format. Most users prefer this file format because it uses Run-Length Encoding (RLE), which allows it to maintain the quality and data of documents, even when compressed.

Since its publishing in 1985, the PCX file format has been used by the publishing company, ZSoft, to run its PC Paintbrush program. More users widely accepted the file format as their standard format for the MS-DOS operating system as time went by.

The PCX file format also formed a part of the first Bitmap image formats created for Windows but soon fell out of favor, thanks to the release of other more advanced formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Some of the benefits that come with using PCX files include:

  • They are a viable option for editing images, given that they can handle millions of color options.
  • They are compatible with most editing tools.
  • With their lossless compression, they do not lose the quality of the images or data when transferred, shared, or compressed.

Are PCX files dangerous?

No, PCX files are not entirely dangerous. Being an old format that has since been overtaken by more reliable and convenient file formats, PCX files are no longer commonly used; but that is not because they are dangerous. If anything, they are among the best formats when it comes to keeping image and data quality.

How to open a PCX file

While it's true you can open PCX files using different editing programs, Corel PaintShop Pro is still your best PCX file editor. With its ease of use, both for novices and experts, PaintShop Pro has all the right features needed to open PCX files and any other file formats, for that matter. It is cost-effective, flexible, and convenient for both business and education.


Developed in 1985, the PCX file format is one of the oldest we have today. Even though it is not commonly used, some users and programmers still prefer its services because of its printer and faxing application features.

PCX's main benefits include the ability to retain the quality of images and data even when the files are shared or compressed, compatibility with different editing tools, and have millions of color options. You need reliable and efficient third-party editing software such as the Corel PaintShop Pro to open a PCX file.

With its ease of use, both for beginners and experts, PaintShop Pro has managed to cement its place as the best editing software. Its features are unique, and you have several licensing plans to suit your needs.

Check out our website today to learn more about our services and how you can benefit.

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