[Investigate] Unable to open my work

i started a work, a present for someone, but when i tried to open the same file that i have saved from yesterday, it wont open. A text box showed up with "Warning : Pencil cannot read this file. If you wanted to import images, use the command import."
Im new to this software, is there any way to fix it?

@bitterpatt Good day, hmm it is difficult to know what is happening exactly so please let us know the following:

  1. Which Operative System you use (i.e Windows 7, Mac OSX, Ubuntu, etc…)
  2. Which version of Pencil2D you are using (go to the menu HELP > ABOUT)
  3. Which file extension does your Pencil save file has (There can either be .PCL OR .PCLX, for more info on this read our FAQ entry here: https://pencil2d.github.io/doc/faq/#understanding-pencil2d-save-files)
  4. How many frames did you draw?
  5. And how many layers did you create? where they bitmap layers or vector layers?

Depending on the type of save file, you should either have a data folder next to it, or not. In both cases, if the file was corrupted due to a memory leak bug we’re recently investigating there is nothing we can do I’m afraid (this bug only happens when the animation is really huge, going past 100+ frames).

However I had another report a few weeks ago with something similar, the person made 2 drawings, saved the file and when they tried to open it Pencil would crash. Apparently this is not the case, but I can’t be for sure if it’s not related as the message that you receive is odd, so would you mind uploading the file (and it’s data folder if there is one) to the uploading service http://mega.nz and linking it here so I can investigate it?

If I can’t open it, and depending on the version of Pencil2D you’re using, that would mean that this is a terrible bug that needs to be addressed ASAP.

Sorry that you’re having issues when you’re new to Pencil, the software is still in the works. And by all means, if you’re doing a gift and can’t bother to have this happening again here’s a tumblr post we did on animation software alternatives meanwhile we fix this one:

I’ll be pending your response so we can try to help :slight_smile:

Hello, thanks for replying!
Here is the info:

  1. I used Windows 10
  2. Pencil2d version 0.5.4
  3. My file is in PCL
  4. I draw about 200+ frames
  5. I have only two layers, both of them in bitmap.

i have a data folder next to it, my Pencil2d doesnt crash, it cant open it instead, i will email the file to the link that you gave me.
Thank you so much!

@bitterpatt Thank you for the info. Sigh, the fact that the animation was indeed bigger makes me worry to death. Usually in the data folder I mentioned there should be the RAW drawings for your animation, however if you can’t see them or open them in any bitmap editor, it would mean your file has been corrupted and well…sorry.

However if by some miracle you can still see your drawings in the folder and open them in some other bitmap editor like MS Paint or Pixlr, it means that it can still be saved.

I’ve had to deal with this issue a lot and it breaks my heart that I can’t help you people to recover those files when the memory leak bug happens, particularly because you all have poured so much heart into those files. I’ve been trying to let everyone know they should try to work in cuts, or at least small chunks of animation in individual files with less than 100 or so frames, to avoid this potentially meanwhile there’s some way to fix it. But truth be told it’s too hard to warn everyone, particularly when no one reads the FAQ because it’s basically hidden from view.

Right now, as I said before if your gift is urgent i’d like you to use another software for the retake. I know it will be a lot of work to redo everything but -it would be worse to lose all that work after another attempt.

I liked Pencil2d and im already too comfortable to change to another software, the gift is not urgent i can think of something else, im trying using Krita and others right now. Did you received the file that i have sent? Maybe its my laptop because it have a lot of games.

@bitterpatt It’s ok. Also I’m confused about the email part, the site I suggested is a file upload site, it wasn’t an email address and it’s certainly not my site, but rather it was so you could upload anonymously a zip file comprised of both the data folder and the pcl file, sorry I wasn’t clear enough.

If you feel more comfortable sending an email then please message pencil2danimation@gmail.com and I’ll make sure to stay vigilant for the file.

Regarding the games, as long as youre not playing the games and using pencil at the same time it shouldn’t crash or corrupt the files. It usually comes down to having enough RAM memory, however the software becomes unstable after 200+ frames. The 100 frame count is just a precaution because other person said she had about 110 frames and the same happened to her, but she might have had a toaster for computer for all we know.

Krita is good, it’s relatively stable, and even if it crashes you can recover the files, thankfully.


I really think the problem with 200 frames has something to do with how Pencil2D handles our computer memory, memory leaks…
I am doing a short “animation” and till now I have 200 frames and 10 layers. The only “problem” that my computer is handling, is the 30 seconds of time that Pencil2D needs to save it properly.

@kaiko Yes, to this date I have at least 5 different types of memory management related bugs. In your case I recommend that you:

  1. save the pencil file in a different folder. If you’re using PCL files, save both the PCL and the data folder in a different place, just before your animation gets corrupted if it crashes.
  2. Saving is not guaranteeing that Pencil will retain your animation another case that Ive documented is when people can save their files and when they try to open it later Pencil either crashes or the file gets wiped clean. So i suggest you export an image sequence in case you have to continue working in krita or something.
  3. try to save in both files, pcl and pclx. Ive notices PCLX has a major issue, which is related to the problem in this thread. When I finish gathering all the cases and some files I was sent earlier, i’ll make a serious bug report in the github tracker, this problem comes from a version that is almost 6 years old! A lot of people in tumblr claim to have lost their animations but never went through with the report, but this has happened to countless people and we can’t have this anymore in Pencil!!!

Thank you for the advice.

I am now saving image sequences… just in case!


Thanks a lot for being of a great help in this virtual community!
All for a dream!

When I open one of my works it crashes. Even if I import something it crashes. What do I do?

Hi there

Would you mind to tell us which version of Pencil2D are you using? And your Operator System?

I am using the Mac version. But idk what operator system.

Oh wait I’m using the new version cause I got it 2 days ago. And the system operator is Mac

Hi @fnaffoxy21

I am also using the new version of Pencil2D (Set2016 from GitHub) and I haven’t got any issues related to the Import feature

I am afraid this has something to do with the Mac version of Pencil2D. I am using Windows and it is OK here. But I do not have a Mac for testing. It would be better for you to wait for someone using a Mac system for helping you. That is al I can help

Ohhh, wait!

I can now see what you are saying! I played with different situations here on my Windows and Pencil2D crashed all the time.
For you to stay calm, your animation is not lost/corrupted. As far as I can tell the issue seems to be related to the last MasterCode build.

1- Pencil2D will crash if I Open (from File > Open) a previous animation
2- Pencil2D will NOT crash if I OpenRecent (from File > OpenRecent) animation. And everything is working fine from here

I tried step 1 and 2 opening the same animation

Try using another old version of Pencil2D till our developers fix this issue


@fnaffoxy21 Hi. This seems to be a particular problem with the filetypes. If you saved to a .PCLX filetype it’s even more likely to happen. The lead developer is looking for a way to fix that, but we don’t know how much it will take.

If you can please try one of the older versions of the Nightly builds to see if it will open the file.


If it works please save it to the “legacy” file .PCL and continue to work from there with the newest version. Also please read our updated FAQ to understand pencil save files and to prevent similar issues when you have lots of frames:



I have this problem too. I really need this fixed for school it’s a major project!!! I don’t want to fail this class!!! :frowning:

Now I have to start over because i lost all this work and do all this for homework! Thanks alot.

What the HELL. I spent TWO DAYS on an animation i was doing and thanks to this shitty little bug i lost all of that progress. At least notify those who decide to download this program to this bug and how to prevent it. And frankly i’m not going back in to do all that painstaking work again. Really impressed with how this was handled.