Guide: How to Use Action Scripts in Photoshop

3 April, 2017

It can be very time consuming when editing photos - or working with a large amount of files, that all require the same process - to finish them off in post production. Luckily, there is a time-saving technique to make your workflow more efficient.

You can create “actions” and use these to quickly make the same edits to multiple files - as many times as you need.

Locate and prepare your actions panel

If your action panel is not already open. You can access it by the top bar: Window > Actions

Once you have opened it, you will see a selection of pre-loaded Actions in the “Default Actions” folder. You can close this folder, and create a new folder where you can store your own Actions.

To make a new folder, click on the folder icon at the bottom right of the action panel. Rename the folder to your preferred name.

Record an Action

To record an action. 

  • Click the “New Action” Icon at the bottom right of the panel.
  • A pop-up window will open. From here, you can name your action, set the folder location, a “function key” and a colour ID.
  • Once you have done all this, hit Record. This will now prompt Photoshop to record your process, from this point.
  • Once you have finished all the steps in your Action, hit the stop icon in the bottom left of the Action panel. Your action will now be saved in your desired folder.

TIP: try to keep your actions as clear and simple as possible. This will prevent odd behaviour happening to your work.

Playing the action

Whenever you want to use your action, simply select the action in the window, and click the play button, on the bottom right of the action panel. Your action will then cycle through the steps on your chosen work.

TIP: You can also run your action on several files at a time.

Go to the menu bar: File > Automate > Batch…

When you select this, a pop-up window will appear. Here you can select your action, the folder which contains the files you wish to apply your action to, and the place you’d like to save them.

It is a good idea to save them into an “edit” folder, so you do not overwrite the originals.

Hit OK when you are ready. Photoshop will then run your action on every file in the folder, and save to the destination

TIP: Do not untick the Override command box in the destination folder. Unless you have a specific “save as” command in your “action”, unticking this will mean that Photoshop will not save the file, unless it is part of the action.


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