Play an action on a file

Playing an action executes the action’s recorded commands in the active document. (Some actions require that you make a selection before playing; some can be executed on an entire file.) You can exclude specific commands from an action or play only a single command. If the action includes a modal control, you can specify values or use tools in a dialog box when the action pauses.

Note:

In Button mode, clicking a button executes the entire action—although commands previously excluded are not executed.

  1. If necessary, select objects on which to play the action, or open a file.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To play an entire single action, select the action name, and click the Play button in the Actions panel, or choose Play from the panel menu.

    • If you assigned a key combination to the action, press that combination to play the action automatically.

    • To play only a part of an action, select the command from which you want to start playing, and click the Play button in the Actions panel, or choose Play from the panel menu.

    • To play a single command, select the command, and then Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the Play button in the Actions panel. You can also press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS), and double-click the command.

Note:

In Photoshop, to undo an action, take a snapshot in the History panel before you play an action, and then select the snapshot to undo the action.

Specify playback speed

You can adjust an action’s playback speed or pause it to help you debug an action.

  1. Choose Playback Options from the Actions panel menu.
  2. Specify a speed, and click OK:

    Accelerated

    Plays the action at normal speed (the default).

    Note:

    When you play an action at accelerated speed, the screen may not update as the action executes—files may be opened, modified, saved, and closed without ever appearing on‑screen, enabling the action to execute more quickly. If you want to see the files on‑screen as the action executes, specify the Step By Step speed instead.

    Step By Step

    Completes each command and redraws the image before going on to the next command in the action.

    Pause For __ Seconds

    Specifies the amount of time the application should pause between carrying out each command in the action.

Manage actions

Manage actions in the Actions panel to keep them organized and to make available only the actions you need for a project. You can rearrange, duplicate, delete, rename, and change options for actions in the Actions panel.

Rearrange actions in the Actions panel

  • In the Actions panel, drag the action to its new location before or after another action. When the highlighted line appears in the desired position, release the mouse button.

Duplicate actions, commands, or sets

  • Do one of the following:
    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the action or command to a new location in the Actions panel. When the highlighted line appears in the desired location, release the mouse button.

    • Select an action or command. Then choose Duplicate from the Actions panel menu.

    • Drag an action or command to the Create New Action button at the bottom of the Actions panel.

    You can duplicate sets with any of the same methods.

Delete actions, commands, or sets

  1. In the Actions panel, select the action, command, or set.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Click the Delete icon  on the Actions panel. Click OK to complete the deletion.

    • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Delete icon to delete the selection without displaying a confirmation dialog box.

    • Drag the selection to the Delete icon on the Actions panel to delete without displaying a confirmation dialog box.

    • Choose Delete from the Actions panel menu.

Delete all actions in the Actions panel

  • Choose Clear All Actions from the Actions panel menu.

    Even after clearing all actions, the Actions panel can be restored to its default set of actions.

Rename an action or change options

  1. Select the action, and choose Action Options from the Actions panel menu.
  2. Type a new name for the action, or change the options for its set, function key combination, or button color.
  3. Click OK.

Note:

You can double-click an action in the Actions panel and enter a new name directly in the Actions panel.

Manage action sets

You can create and organize sets of task-related actions that can be saved to disk and transferred to other computers.

Note:

Any actions that you create are automatically listed in the Actions panel, but to truly save an action and not risk losing it if you delete your Actions panel file, you have to save it as part of an action set.

Save a set of actions

  1. Select a set.

    Note:

    If you want to save a single action, first create an action set and move the action to the new set.

  2. Choose Save Actions from the Actions panel menu.
  3. Type a name for the set, choose a location, and click Save.

    You can save the file anywhere. You can save only the entire contents of a set in the Actions panel, not individual actions.

    Note:

    If you place the saved action‑set file in the Presets/Actions folder, the set will appear at the bottom of the Actions panel menu after you restart the application.

    Note:

    Press Ctrl+Alt (Windows) or Command+Option (Mac OS) when you choose the Save Actions command to save the actions in a text file. You can use this file to review or print the contents of an action. However, you can’t reload the text file back into Photoshop.

Load a set of actions

By default, the Actions panel displays predefined actions (shipped with the application) and any actions you create. You can also load additional actions into the Actions panel.

  • Do one of the following:
    • Choose Load Actions from the Actions panel menu. Locate and select the action set file, and then click Load.

    • Select an action set from the bottom of the Actions panel menu.

    Photoshop action set files have the extension .atn.

Restore actions to the default set

  1. Choose Reset Actions from the Actions panel menu.
  2. Click OK to replace the current actions in the Actions panel with the default set, or click Append to add the set of default actions to the current actions in the Actions panel.

Organize action sets

To help you organize your actions, you can create sets of actions and save the sets to disk. You can organize sets of actions for different types of work—such as print publishing and online publishing—and transfer sets to other computers.

  • To create a new set of actions, click the Create New Set button  in the Actions panel or choose New Set from the panel menu. Then enter the name of the set, and click OK.

Note:

If you plan to create a new action and group it in a new set, make sure you create the set first. Then, the new set will appear in the set pop-up menu when you create your new action.

  • To move an action to a different set, drag the action to that set. When the highlighted line appears in the desired position, release the mouse button.

  • To rename a set of actions, double-click the name of the set in the Actions panel or choose Set Options from the Actions panel menu. Then enter the new name of the set, and click OK.

  • To replace all actions in the Actions panel with a new set, choose Replace Actions from the Actions panel menu. Select an actions file, and click Load.

Note:

The Replace Actions command replaces all sets of actions in the current document. Before using the command, make sure that you have already saved a copy of your current set of actions using the Save Actions command.

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