How Do I Use the Actions Panel in Photoshop?

Photoshop is software that enables you to work with image files. It is versatile software that allows you to do more than just add effects to graphics images. You can create a sequence of actions that can be played using the actions panel.

Photoshop Action

An action is a macro or a script. Photoshop offers a series of commands through which actions can be created. Photoshop action is a feature that enables you to record a series of executed commands in your design work. You can create Photoshop actions for applying consistent effects, carrying out mundane tasks, creating special effects and processing images.

Photoshop action is handy for a photographer or an advertising agency as it helps to recreate the same effect over and over again. Photoshop Action files are saved in .ATN file format. When you create an action in Photoshop, you are creating a series of pre-recorded commands that can be played over a series of imaged. It is important to note that actions can be created only inside an Action Set and not outside it. You can change the name of an action by double-clicking on it. You can also do this to create a keyboard shortcut for the action or to change the button mode color.

Step 1 - Access Photoshop Action

In order to access the Photoshop action command, go to the Window > Actions. This will display the Action Window. You can alternatively press Alt+F9.
 
Click the top right hand arrow next to the Action tab to expand the Actions Window Menus.

Step 2 - Record and Name Your Action

You can begin recording your Action commands by clicking the New Set Command. You have to give a name to your action.
 
Once you have given a name in the New Set' window click 'OK'. The next step is to choose New Action in the Action submenu. You have to specify the name of the action in your set. You can create as many new actions as required in a single set. When you intend to carry out a step-by-step playback, you would require doing this.

Step 3 - Set the Function Key

The 'Function Key' option enables you to set a function key as a short command for running this action, The 'Color' option enables you to set the color for action display in button mode.  Click 'Record' to begin recording.

Once you have stopped recording, you can click the 'Stop' button. You can then create the nest series of actions.

One thing to note about using the Actions feature is that you cannot use all image retouching features with it. You should keep tabs on when your action begins so that you can execute them in a sequence.

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