Here’s how to open RW2 files in Windows

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • An RW2 file is a proprietary raw image file format created by Panasonic digital cameras.
  • If you came across one of these files, you can open with one of the programs featured on this list.
  • Photo editing is a rewarding process, and to become a master at it, check out our awesome Photoshop Corner.
  • For more programs to open obscure file types, we recommend our section dedicated to File Openers.
open rw2 file in windows
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An RW2 file is a raw image file format, specifically a camera RAW file created by a Panasonic digital camera like the LX3 or LX5. If you’re wondering how to open an RW2 file, then continue reading.

This type of file has a RAW raster image just as it was captured by the camera’s sensor, and you can edit it to adjust color, exposure, and other properties, by using an image or photo editor.

The RW2 file, like other raw image formats, stores uncompressed image data from the sensor, and the file is both print and view ready.

Photographers are at an advantage as they get to decide how to use and/or develop the images via a special program, but the access to the raw data also gives them the flexibility of deciding how to use the images and how to process them, or completely alter the image altogether.

How to open RW2 files in Windows 10

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. FileViewer Plus 2
  3. RawTherapee
  4. FastStone Image Viewer
  5. IrfanView
  6. XNView
  7. What to do when you cannot open RW2 files in Windows 10

In order to open RW2 files, you will need a program that can help you open it, whether it is free software or a paid-for program. Below are some of the few available for you to use when opening RW2 kind of files in Windows 10.

1. Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop CC 2020 - best Fuji RAW viewer and converter software

Adobe Photoshop…the undisputed king of photo editors, known and used by so may that its name has become a verb. There’s no need for an introduction to Adobe Photoshop because we all know what it’s capable of and how many features it offers.

Whilst it does have a bit of a learning curve, you will find a plethora of training materials online, thanks to its widespread use in the photo industry. From professional photographers to hobbyists, Photoshop caters to all and the satisfaction you’ll have when you master it is enormous.

Once more, when you’re working with RAW files, like the RW2 format, you can use the power of Adobe Lightroom to change highlights, shadows, focus and much more.

One can even make an entire career out of Photoshop, so you should jump on board and get Photoshop and start learning its powerful tools:

  • State of the art content-aware fill
  • GPU-based effects (blur, bokeh, highlights etc)
  • Cross-platform support
  • 3D support
  • Intelligent selection and masks

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2. FileViewer Plus 3

file viewer plus 2 - recommended software

Raw files are well supported with this program and you can open photos from 600 different camera models. The Panasonic RAW image RW2 is on the list of over 300 different file types supported by File Viewer Plus. One of the features of this software allows you to view EXIF data for digital photos and camera raw files.

File Viewer Plus 2 is a universal file viewer for Windows that can open and display over 300 different file types. The new version brings extra features and focus on support for viewing and converting over 50 new file formats, including over 25 additional image, audio, and video formats. The new batch conversion feature works at great speed and you can save settings to use it again for different jobs.

The application has a simple, smart layout and is as easy as drag-and-drop files. We happily recommend this program to open RW2 files and almost all file types without any hassle.

A fully-functional free trial is available for download so you can give it a try straight away or you can buy it at an affordable price.

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3. RawTherapee

This is a cross-platform program for processing RAW images or photos, and comes with tools that deliver high quality and efficient development of the images.

The program is a free and open-source software written in C++ and uses a patched version of dcraw to read the RAW files. This tool gives you advanced control over the demosaicing and developing process, with a subset of image editing features focused on improving your workflow by handling volumes of images.

It uses a non-destructive editing concept for post-production of photos, and the edits or adjustments are reflected in the preview image instantly, though not applied on the opened image in the actual sense, as this happens during the export process.

This software supports most raw formats and non-RAW image formats like PNG, TIFF and JPEG, plus raw DNG images. You can tweak photos, use the color histogram, make adjustments and revert changes at any time, plus use its many photo opening and processing features.

How to open encrypted files in Windows 10

4. FastStone Image Viewer

This tool is fast, stable and user friendly, and comes with an advanced editor and converter. It is an intuitive software that has a full-screen mode, a thumbnail browser, and other options available through hidden toolbars which display when your mouse touches your computer screen. It supports major graphic formats such as BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, WMF, TGA, NEF, and DNG among many others. It also has a high-quality magnifier, image annotation, scanner support, drop shadow effects, and much more.

5. IrfanView

Irfanview windows 7 photo viewer

This free software for opening RW2 files in Windows 10 doesn’t just let you view and open images, but also manage multiple media and edit them. Its editor is feature-packed, with a fast converter for batch images, and easy photo or image organization and tagging.

It is an excellent image viewer, through which you can watch your images via slideshow or browse through quickly, plus you can expand it via plugins.

Despite being dated, it is easy to master, and the interface is practical, and its tiny size means it is blazingly fast to use for viewing your RW2 files.

 Fix: Photos App not opening in Windows 10

6. XNView


This free tool acts as both image organizer and file manager, which you can use to view, convert, organize or edit your RW2 raster images, and manage the files too.

Features include batch renaming, screen capturing tools and it’s licensed for private, educational and not-for-profit uses, otherwise, there’s one licensed for commercial use.

Not only is it customizable, but it is also multi-lingual, supports over 500 image file formats (including audio and video), and can write 50 image file formats.

It is fast, easy to use, and free! You can apply filters and effects, adjust brightness or contrast and use its vast array of editing features to both modify your RW2 files and open them for viewing.

You can also use paid programs to open RW2 files in Windows 10 including, FastRawViewer, and Canvas X by ACD Systems Canvas, among others.

If you’d like to convert an RW2 file before opening it in Windows 10, you can use programs such as Adobe DNG converter, which works with many RAW image file formats besides DNG. You can convert your RW2 file to DNG and open it via this program as well.

What to do when you cannot open RW2 files in Windows 10

One of the reasons you may not be able to open RW2 files in Windows 10 is that the file extension is misread and is opening in the wrong program.

While extensions may look the same, they don’t necessarily open with the same programs, neither can they be used or converted using similar programs or software. Ensure you download and install the appropriate program or app, to open RW2 files in Windows 10.

Are there other ways not mentioned here that you use to open RW2 files in Windows 10? Share with us what tools or methods you use by leaving a comment in the section below.

FAQ: How to open and edit RW2 files

  • How do I edit rw2 files?

You will need specialised software to edit RW2 photos. We highly recommend Adobe Photoshop as the best photo editing platform available, but these other programs will get the job done.

  • Can Photoshop open rw2 files?

Yes, Photoshop can open and edit RW2 files with ease, as do other programs. Additionally, with Photoshop, you have the Camera RAW platform where you can make additional changes to your photos.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in April 2018 and was revamped and updated in November 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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