Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Technique Tuesday - Create a Simple Action ( Includes Save for Web technique)

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Creating a Simple Action

( includes a save for web tutorial)

You can download a pdf version of this tutorial here

Screenshots in this tutorial are for CS4 – previous versions of photoshop may look slightly different but the method is similar)

Actions are a recording of a set of steps in Photoshop.

They are very useful for repetitive tasks, those tasks you need to do on a regular basis and can save you a lot of time.

In this tutorial we are going to create an action that will save a completed layout in 2 formats.

It will save a full resolution jpg version which is suitable for print, and it will also save a small web sized version suitable for uploading to your DSP Gallery.

Firstly start with a completed layout which you have saved in native photoshop format.

Open your actions panel ( Window- Action) and select the new action icon at the bottom of the panel ( as shown in this image)

Name your action with a name which you will be able to recognise in future

Then press record on the new action window .

From this instant everything you do in Phothoshop will be recorded as part of the action so be careful you dont get distracted and do something else!!!!

Go to your finished layout and use the menu command File- SaveAs and browse to the folder you keep your large jpg images in ( I like to have 3 separate folders within my layouts folder – one for psd files, one for large jpgs and one for websized layouts ) and when the drop down box appears choose jpg.

When the compression box appears choose a compression figure of 10 – 12 which will give you a good high quality image.

Photoshop will now save a jpg version to that folder.

Now use the menu command – File- Save for Web and Devices

If you scrap at larger than 2400px in size you will get a warning dialogue telling you that you may get memory and performance errors – press Yes to ignore that .

The Save for Web menu will pop up and depending on the amount of ram you have you may get a preview of your image or another warning and no preview – just a red screen – either is fine.

This box has a lot of features but we dont need to use many .

First check that it is set to JPG in the top right box . Then go down to the Image size at the bottom right and change the figure in the top box to 600

The preview will redraw to the new size .

At this point you need to check the file size to see whether it is within the size limit to upload to the DSP gallery

My image is within the limits but if I should want to reduce it to under 100kb for instance to upload to other websites with smaller limits then go to the quality box on the top left and click on the drop down arrow.

This will bring up a slider which you can make adjustments up or down to suit – check the file size as you make your adjustments

Then when you are satisfied press save and browse to the folder you use for your web sized images.

Now you have completed your action – do no more and go straight to the actions panel and hit the stop button which is the square button on the left at the bottom of the actions panel.

As you will want to adjust each layouts size individually we need to insert a dialog stop into the action so that photoshop brings up the save for web window each time . To do this click on the empty box beside the Export step.

This will insert an icon to indicate there is a dialog entry here.

Next time you run the action it will stop at the point where the save for web dialog box appears and you can resize to 600 and adjust your sliders to suit .

Next time you want to save an image you just need to click on the action and hit the play button ( the arrow at the bottom of the palette) – and your action will run and save your files automatically.


  1. Penny2:57 am

    I can't wait to get home from work tonight and try this! All the steps that I will be saving!! Thanks so much, Lauren. I've never tried to save an action before so this will be so useful.

  2. Anonymous12:49 pm

    This will help that awful chore.


  3. Lauren, I was referred to this tutorial this morning and have recorded my action according to your directions. This is amazing!! It works so fast I had to double check my folder I saved the web sized layouts to just to make sure it really worked!! Thank you so much, this is a real time saver.