What are Photoshop actions?

Photoshop actions are a series of tasks that are applied to a file or batch of files. We’re talking about menu commands, tool actions, panel options… their objective is to automate certain processes that the user usually turn to in order to speed up his work.

These actions can be more or less complex. In other words, we can configure an action to change the size of an image to preset dimensions, apply an effect and save the result on our hard drive. But in turn, to this action we can add what is known as a modal control in order to insert values in a dialog box during the execution of the action in question. For instance, in the previous example, we could ask the user to input the values to be applied to the size of the image, just in case different dimensions were to be applied in each case. The latter are carried out by means of the so-called droplets which are applications that are carried out automatically on all files.

The program includes a series of preset actions for the most common tasks. In any case, they can be redefined and you can configure new ones. For such purpose, simply go to the Actions panel and then to Window > Actions, from where you can play them, record them, edit them and remove them. From this menu, you can also save or load action files in the case of importing them.

Regarding which actions can be recorded, you can do so with all those that are carried out with the following tools: Marquee, Move, Polygon, Lasso, Magic Wand, Magic Eraser, Gradient, Paint Bucket, Type, Shape, Notes, Eyedropper, Color Sampler, Crop, and Slice. Also those carried out in the Actions, Layers, Styles, Paths, Color, History, Swatches, and Channels panels.