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Speed Up Your Image Editing With Photoshop Actions

Speed Up Your Image Editing With Photoshop Actions

Hopefully, you guys listened to me and decided to get Photoshop if you don’t already have it. Today, I’m going to show you how using Actions in Photoshop can make your life much easier and streamline the image editing you do for your blog. To start off, I’ll show you an action I created in Photoshop to resize images to a standard size and resolution. About three or four months ago, I decided that I wanted all of the photos on ABDPBT to be 750 pixels wide at a resolution of 300 pixels. The reasoning for this is not essential to what we’re doing today, but suffice to say that I feel like photos of a large scale and high resolution have a good visual impact and make the site look prettier upon first glance. Older pictures of mine are smaller, and it will probably be years before I’ve updated all of the pictures, but that’s another story.

So anyway, there are two basic types of photos I use here: 1) ones that I take myself (or that Mr. Right-Click takes); or 2) ones that I download from sites like Flickr or DeviantArt. Both types need to be saved as jpg files and resized to fit the standard. So I created a quick action in Photoshop that would do this for me automatically every time I found a new photo I liked. Let’s see how it works.

In the screenshots I’ve placed below, I’m using Photoshop CS3 for Mac, but I’m pretty sure this works the same way in all versions of Photoshop. First, you need to open up an image. Let’s use this one of Mini when he was about 2 months old, just to up the cuteness factor. I’ll open up the image and activate the Actions palette. Now, I already have an action for this, but I’m going to pretend like I don’t.

Choose the "actions" menu from the "window" menu on the Finder.

After the “actions” menu appears, click on the little button that looks like a post-it note. As you hover above it with the mouse, a little bubble should come up that says “create new action.” If you’ve done this correctly, a window will appear like the one below. This window allows you to name the action.


After you’ve named your action (hint: now is not the time to go crazy with the naming–just name it something that reflects its function so that you don’t forget), press the record button at the bottom of the Actions palette. Once you click Record, any command or function on your currently open document will be recorded.

I want this action that we’re recording to resize all of my images to a standard size of 750 pixels wide and to a resolution of 300 pixels. So I’ll open up the image size window (Image–>Adjustments–>Image Size) and enter in these values.


This is all I need for this action to do, so I’m going to click the stop button at the bottom of the Actions palette. If I wanted to add steps to the action, I’d either continue on without pressing stop, or press Record again (this is useful if you skip a step) to add more steps to the action. With larger actions, you can reorder steps by moving them up and down the list, or edit the steps individually by double-clicking on them (this will bring up the relevant dialog for each step.


Once you press stop, the picture will be all resized and ready to go.

One Comment

  1. Jul 2, 2009

    Cool. I’ve been wondering how to do that. I have Photoshop Elements, but I don’t really know how to use it.

    I’m emailing myself all of these posts (because I’m all 20th century like that) and I’m going to tackle them when I have more time. This week, I don’t have time to know what day it is. Apparently it’s, like, close to Friday, when my house is supposed to be all clean for company. Oops.

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