Installing and running Photoshop actions.

My Photoshop actions are distributed as downloadable zip files. To use the actions, you must unzip these files first. A folder containing the actions will be created upon decompressing the zip file.

What is the Actions panel?

The actions panel is an interface that allows you to load, run (execute), create and store Photoshop actions. If the panel is not visible select Window > Actions from Photoshop’s main menu. The image below shows some fundamental terms and functions of the actions panel:

photoshop actions panel details

How do I load and run Photoshop actions?

The image below highlights the steps you need to follow, in order to load and run Photoshop actions:

Installing Photoshop actions

  1. Click on the panel’s menu button and select "Load Actions" from the fly-out menu. Load the actions file.

  2. Photoshop actions are contained within actions sets. An action set may contain one ore more actions. Action sets have a small folder icon to the left of their names. If you can’t see the actions contained in the set, click the little triangle to the left of the folder icon to expand the contents.

  3. Click an action within the set. If your click on the set name instead of an action, the Play button appears grayed out: if you move the mouse pointer over the Play button it will be turned into a circle with a diagonal line. So, make sure that you have clicked an action and not the set name.

  4. Click the Play button to execute the action.

To remove an action set from the actions panel, simply click on the set and then click on the bin icon at the bottom of the panel. This won’t delete the action file from your hard disk; it will merely unload the action from Photoshop.

Other ways of loading actions in Photoshop:

  • Use Windows Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac) to navigate to the actions folder and double click the action thumbnail. Photoshop will open and the actions will be loaded in the actions panel.  If Photoshop doesn't open, then for some reason Photoshop action files (.atn) are not associated with Photoshop anymore. In this case please refer to your OS instructions to re-associate the .atn files with Photoshop.

  • You can drag the file thumbnail onto Photoshop's work area. The actions will be loaded automatically in the actions panel.
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