Organising Actions in Photoshop

If you are anything like me, over time you will have amassed a few actions - whether these are ones you have made yourself, bought or downloaded as freebies - and you might want to take a little time to organise these actions in Photoshop just so you can find everything easily! 

The chances are that out of all the actions you own, you will have found a few that you use time and time again, so in order to speed up your workflow, I recommend you keep your most used actions in a favourites folder.  I always try to do this so that I am not having to scan through heaps of actions just to get to the one I want! Here's how to do it: 


Step One : Back Up Your Actions 

So, before you do anything else, it's good to make sure that you still have the original actions on your hard drive somewhere. You never know when Photoshop will just decide to crash and delete all your preferences (yep, happened to me!) so I always make sure I still have any bought actions still available, and save any that I have made myself.  Simply click on the top right button to bring up the dialogue box, and click Save Actions, and save them anywhere on your hard drive.  You will need to save each "set" (looks like a folder) separately. 

Step Two : Create A New Action Set For Your Favourites

I like to create a new set called Favourite Actions, and use this to store all the ones I use regularly.  Just click on the button at the bottom of your actions palette that looks like a folder, and type in whatever you want to call it. 

How to organise actions in Photoshop

Step Three - Copy Your Favourite Actions

Now it's time to duplicate the actions that we use the most! (We don't want to move them into our favourites set, just copy them) 

Click on any action you want to copy, and then click on the button on the top right of your actions palette again (same one as shown in the first screenshot above) and this time choose duplicate from the dialogue box. This will create a copy of the action you have selected so you have two copies of the same action next to one another, but one will say copy after it. 

Step Four - Drag Them To Your New Action Set

All you need to do now is click on the copied action and drag it into the "favourite action" set you just created!  You will now have a copy in your new set, and the original should still be in the same place so you haven't mucked up your originals actions. Rinse and repeat until you have all the actions you want in your new set. 

If you want to load new actions, it's very simple to do - just either double click on the ATN file in your hard drive, or if that doesn't work, manually load them by clicking on the top right button on your actions palette, but this time choose "Load Actions" from the menu. They will be in their original set, again, just duplicate and drag the copies into your new set.  

Here's mine: 

Tips for Organising Photoshop Actions

Step Five - Create Groups Within Your New Set (Optional!) 

You can also see that I have gone one step further (or too far you may think!) and grouped my new set into action types, like basics, and portrait fixes etc. Again, this just helps me find an action quickly. To do this, click on the create new action button (marked below in blue), type in whatever you choose such as a title, or just a series of full stops, and then press Record marked in red. Immediately after, press the stop button just to left of the record action button.  Again, repeat until you have headers for all the sections you want to create. 


And there you have it! Beautifully organised actions in Photoshop that mean you can quickly and easily find the ones you use the most!