How to Make an Action in Photoshop

How to Make an Action in Photoshop
Photoshop actions are a great way to automate many tasks that you frequently do in Photoshop or to save specific colour looks that you’d like to use again. The best thing about actions is that they allow to speed-up your workflow, so that you can spend more time creating and less time on repetitive tasks.

Here are some common ways of using actions:

  • Resizing a folder full of images

  • Changing images to black and white

  • Adding contrast to multiple images

  • Photo editing

  • Saving multiple versions of files

These are just a few ideas as there are so many ways that you can use Photoshop actions.

Recording an action

Step 1: Open up Photoshop and the file that you will be using to record your action on. The reason for opening your file before recording the action is that you don’t want future uses of the action to open up that specific file in that folder.

Step 2: Go to the Window menu (in the top horizontal menu) and choose Action

Step 3: At the bottom of the actions dialog box choose the small square icon to the left of the trash can Icon. This is for recording new actions. Once you have clicked this you will get another dialog box asking you to name your action. Give your action a name that describes what the action will do. If you want to put the action in an action set you have created (like a folder for your actions) you can do that here too. You can create a new set by clicking the icon to the left of the new action icon. Once you have named your action you are ready to press the record button and start recording. When you have finished save your image (do not rename it or every time you use the action in the future it will rename your image). When you are ready to stop the recording, click on the square stop icon next to the record button. Your action will now be in your actions panel. It’s always a good idea to test your action on an image to make sure that it is all working, as you want it to.

If you are making an action that you will frequently use on more than one picture then it is a good idea to use the batch processing function in Photoshop.

Batch processing multiple images

Step 1: Go to the File menu and choose automate then batch. This opens up the batch processing dialog box.

Step 2: Input the set name and the action name in the area titled play.

Step 3: Choose your source folder (the folder that contains all the images you want to batch process) by clicking on choose under the label source. Then choose the destination folder (where you want all the images to be saved).

Step 4: If you want to rename the files that you will be batch processing, tick the box for override action save as commands and then fill in the file naming fields. Click on OK to start the batch processing.

All of your images should now be saved into your destination folder.


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This content was written by Ewa Sapinska. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ewa Sapinska for details.