How to Create a Macro in Photoshop

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Using macros in Photoshop CC to automate some of the repetitive parts of your workflow can save you time and tedium in your editing process. These macros are called Actions, and they are created using the Actions panel.

Recording an Action

Step 1

Open the file you want to use by selecting **File** from the main menu and then **Open** from the drop-down menu or use the keyboard shortcut **Ctrl-O**. Browse to your file and double-click on it to open it.

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Step 2

Select **Window** from the main menu and click on **Actions** or use the keyboard shortcut **Alt-F9**.

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Step 3

Click on the **Create new action** icon.

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Step 4

**Name** the action, select a **Set** and click **Record.**

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Warning

  • The action is not saved until it is saved to a set. You can use the Default Actions set or create your own by selecting the Create a new set icon, which looks like a folder, in the Actions panel.

Tip

  • Assign a Function key to easily run your Action on other files. Assign a Color for display in Button Mode. You can access Button Mode by clicking on the Actions panel Menu and selecting Button Mode. Assigning function keys and colors are optional steps, and you can always play the action by using the Play selection button in the Actions panel.

The Begin Recording icon will now be selected and appear in red.

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Step 5

Record your action by running through the processing steps you want to apply to the file. When you're done, click the **Stop playing/recording** button from the Actions panel.

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

Step 6

Test the Action by running it on a file you'd like to process.

Editing an Action

  • Use left-click and drag to select and move a step to a new location within an action.

  • Use alt-left-click and drag to duplicate a step in your action.
  • To insert a step into an action, use left-click to select a step and then click the Begin recording button. Use the Stop playing/recording button as before to stop recording. Your new step is inserted below your selected step.

  • To delete a step, left-click to select the step and then click the Delete icon, which looks like a trash bin, in the Actions panel.

Deleting an Action

  • Use left-click to select an action and click the Delete icon in the Actions panel.

Example

Now you can go from this:

(Image: Screenshot courtesy of Microsoft.)

To this:

(Image: Image courtesy of Microsoft.)

All with the click of a button. A stitch in time saves nine!

To further automate the process and get the job done even faster, check out How to Edit Multiple Pictures at Once in Photoshop to learn about using Actions within Batch processing.

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