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An Introduction to Photoshop Actions

What are Photoshop Actions?

A Photoshop action is simply a series of tasks and settings that are recorded and saved by Photoshop for later use and re-application.  Actions can be used on a single file or in an automated batch.  Also, when recording actions, the user can stop recording at any time to maybe adjust a few settings that they do not want to be added into the action.  The action is saved in an .ATN file and can be easily loaded into your install of Photoshop.

Viewing the Actions Palette

If not already visible, the actions panel can be accessed by going under Window and clicking on the word Actions.  Alternatively, you can press ALT+F9 to make the actions window appear.  The window should look something like this when selected:

Photshop CS4 Actions Panel

Photshop CS4 Actions Panel

How to Install a Photoshop Action

With the actions window selected, click on the menu for the window.  There you will find the Load Actions option.  Selecting it will cause a load dialog window to pop up.  Select your actions, and you are ready to use them!  In case you are unfamiliar with how to access the Load Actions option, the image below clarifies how and where to find it.

Actions Menu Location

Actions Menu Location

How to Create Your Own Actions

Below is a video I found that does an excellent job of not only demonstrating the process of creating an action, but further strengthening the significance and increase of productivity of using Photoshop actions.

That’s really all there is to it. Next, we’ll be putting together a list of resources of where you can find a multitude of actions to increase creativity and productivity.

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