A few weeks ago I mentioned Photoshop actions when talking about the new Adobe Exchange service, but now I thought many people may not know what they are, how they're installed, how to use them or what kind of results you can obtain with them.

Photoshop actions are code bits you run from within the program itself, containing a series of tasks you can apply as many times as you want on different images. They're usually presented as one file (ATN extension) or batch of files and include menu commands, tool actions, filters and effects you can apply on any photo automatically by simply pressing the "Play" button.

Photoshop actions

Installing actions is easy: save the ATN file anywhere on your computer (tough I personally prefer to keep all of them in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CS\Presets\Photoshop Actions) and then launch Photoshop. Open the image you want to work with and on the History window, click on the Actions tab. You'll see a list of actions that come preinstalled with Photoshop. Now click on the little arrow button on the top right corner and select "Load action". Look for the ATN file you just saved, load it and then press "Play": the magic will begin. Sit back and enjoy while Photoshop automatically works with your images in front of your eyes. Once the action is done, simply save the photo and you're done.

Photoshop actions

Now that you know how to install and use actions, go ahead and practice a bit! Here's a superb collection of Photoshop actions you can use to create all kind of effects with your photos.


  • Nikoleta |

    bla bla

  • alice |

    hi,im hopeing you could help me out with how to install actions in photoshop elements 7.0. any help would be great,thanks.


  • Tomas |

    Hey Alice,

    unfortunately I've never tried Photoshop Elements. However a quick search on Google may help you.


  • kiki |

    for some reason my play button will not work. i cant push it. is there something you have to do in order to make the play button work?

  • Tomas |

    Hi kiki,

    after loading any action in the Actions tab inside the History window (as explained in the post) you'll see that they appear as folders. You need to open them by clicking the little blue arrow on the left of the folder, so that they open up. Then click on the actual action file (it's usually the one with the same name as the folder) and the Play button will hopefully be enabled.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers, Elena

  • Lindsey@A Kindred Spirits Thoughts |
    Lindsey@A Kindred Spirits Thoughts

    Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I finally figured it all out thanks to you. :-)

  • fft filter.. - RetouchPRO |
    fft filter.. - RetouchPRO

    [...] Originally Posted by AWAIS400 thank you very much. Kindly can you tell me that how i install or where copy paste fft action Read this, the paragraph under the flower picture http://onsoftware.en.softonic.com/how-to-inst...oshop-actions/ [...]

  • Maitreya |

    Muah! Thanks for introducing me to the brilliant world of Actions!

  • Some Favorite Photos Re-Imagined with Photoshop | Tag That Photography |
    Some Favorite Photos Re-Imagined with Photoshop | Tag That Photography

    [...] use it! (if you don’t know how to install and/or use actions…you really need to…read this to learn how…its very [...]

  • Walubo.kabale |

    I've tried it but it says that the command make is not currently available.

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