Quick ways to automate in Photoshop – Part 2: Modifying an Action

 May 14, 2015

How do you modify an Action in Photoshop after you record it?

In my previous post I explored how to create actions in Photoshop, this post will explore modifying actions.

When recording an action and making modifications, always ask yourself…"Will the program be able to follow the order of these steps?"

Here are a number of ways you can modify your actions. Firstly, in the Actions Panel, expand the Action by clicking the triangle next to its name.

Quick ways to automate in Adobe Photoshop Part 2: Modifying an Action

Change the order of Action steps

  • Press and drag the steps up and down in the list to re-position their order.

Make an Action more dynamic

Direct Photoshop to pause and allow you to modify and confirm options while running your action. This is very helpful with steps involving cropping and image adjustments. This is only available for steps that allow dynamic modification in normal use: i.e. cropping.

  • Click the blank box directly to the left of the action step name to display a boxlike icon.
  • Photoshop will now pause at this step when you run your action.

The action will continue when you complete the normal requirements of the step.

Quick ways to automate in Adobe Photoshop Part 2: Modifying an Action

Turn a step off so it is skipped when running your Action

  • Click the check mark to the far left of an action step name to toggle it between being on and off.

Quick ways to automate in Adobe Photoshop Part 2: Modifying an Action

Delete unwanted steps and mistakes


  • Select the unwanted step in the Actions Panel.
  • Click the rubbish bin icon in the bottom left of the Action panel.
  • You can also delete selected Actions and Action Sets with the same rubbish bin button.
    Quick ways to automate in Adobe Photoshop Part 2: Modifying an Action

Add more steps to an existing Action


  • In your existing Action, select an existing step that represents where in the Action’s sequence you wish to record more steps.
  • Click the round record button at the bottom of the Action Panel.
    photoshop-modify-action-05
  • Record your additional steps.
  • Click the square stop button when you are done.
    photoshop-modify-action-06
  • Don’t worry if you are not exactly in place, as listed above, you can always move the step after recording.

Coming up in Part 3, I'll show you how to run Actions across multiple files with Photoshop's Batch Processing. We'll also see how you can back up your actions as well as access other action sets given to you by Adobe.

Until then, keep Photoshopping your creative world!

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About the Author:

Katherine Davis  

With over 15 years of experience, Kate is one of New Horizons most knowledgeable and skilled Desktop Applications and Graphic Design trainers. She approaches each training event with an understanding of the student’s perspective and with their learning goals in mind. Her extensive knowledge and dynamic training style enables her to engage users of all varying skills levels and ensure that each student’s learning goals are achieved. Kate is especially well known around the New Horizons office for her creative flair and talent in using the Adobe suite. She takes a genuine satisfaction from helping students solve issues and always makes an extra effort to ensure that students have an enjoyable learning experience.

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