How Do I Run an Action in Photoshop?

How Do I Run an Action in Photoshop?

Running an action in Photoshop can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to editing your photos. Actions are a series of recorded steps that can be applied to multiple images with just a few clicks. In this tutorial, we will learn how to run an action in Photoshop and explore some useful tips along the way.

Step 1: Before we start running actions, it's important to have some actions installed in Photoshop. Actions can be created manually or downloaded from various sources online. If you don't have any actions yet, you can search for free or paid actions on websites like Adobe Exchange or DeviantArt.

Step 2: Once you have the actions ready, open Photoshop and go to the "Actions" panel. You can find this panel by navigating to "Window" > "Actions" in the top menu. The Actions panel will appear on your screen, usually docked on the right side.

Step 3: In the Actions panel, you'll see a list of pre-installed actions provided by Photoshop. You can create new action sets or load additional actions by clicking on the small icon at the top-right corner of the panel (represented by four horizontal lines). Choose "Load Actions" from the drop-down menu and locate the .atn file containing your desired actions.

TIP: It's recommended to organize your actions into sets for easier management. To create a new action set, click on the small folder icon at the bottom of the Actions panel. Give it a name and drag your desired actions into that set.

Step 4: Now that you have loaded your desired action set, it's time to apply an action to an image. Open an image in Photoshop that you want to edit using an action.

Step 5: Select the action you want to run from the Actions panel. You can expand the action set by clicking on the small triangle next to its name. Once you have found your desired action, simply click on it to select it.

Step 6: With the action selected, click on the "Play" button at the bottom of the Actions panel. Alternatively, you can double-click on the action name to run it. Photoshop will start applying all the recorded steps of that particular action to your image.

TIP: If you want to preview how an action will affect your image before applying it, click on the "Toggle dialog on/off" icon at the bottom of the Actions panel (represented by a tiny dialog box icon). This will enable a pop-up window with various options that might be available in that specific action.

Step 7: Once Photoshop finishes running the action, you can review and fine-tune your image if necessary. Some actions may apply filters or adjustments that might not suit your specific image perfectly. In such cases, feel free to tweak individual settings like opacity or blending modes using adjustment layers or layer masks.

Step 8: If you are happy with the outcome, save your edited image by going to "File" > "Save As" and choose your preferred file format and location.

  • Summary:

Running actions in Photoshop is a powerful way to automate repetitive tasks and speed up your editing workflow. Start by loading desired actions into Photoshop's Actions panel.

Select an image and choose an action from the list in the Actions panel. Click on "Play" to apply all recorded steps of that action to your image. Don't forget to fine-tune if necessary before saving your edited masterpiece.

Tips for Using Actions Efficiently:

1. Customize Actions:

Actions are not set in stone.

You can customize and modify them according to your specific needs. Feel free to tweak individual steps, remove unnecessary ones, or add new steps to existing actions.

2. Batch Processing:

Actions can be used to edit multiple images simultaneously through the Batch command.

Simply go to "File" > "Automate" > "Batch" and choose your desired action and source files. This is a great time-saving technique for processing large volumes of photos.

3. Keyboard Shortcuts:

To speed up your workflow even further, assign keyboard shortcuts to frequently used actions.

Go to "Edit" > "Keyboard Shortcuts" and navigate to the "Shortcuts for" drop-down menu, then select "Panel Menus". Scroll down until you find the desired action and assign a keyboard shortcut of your choice.

4. Combine Multiple Actions:

You can create more complex effects by combining multiple actions together. Play around with different action combinations to achieve unique and creative results.


Running actions in Photoshop is a fantastic way to streamline your editing process and enhance your images with just a few clicks. With the help of the Actions panel, you can easily load, organize, and apply various actions to accelerate your workflow significantly. Experiment with different actions and customization options to unlock endless possibilities for editing your photos effortlessly!