How to Batch-Process Files in Photoshop

Ps Batch Process Featured

Adobe Photoshop has included automation features for more than a decade. The process is more complicated than if you were using dedicated tools for the job, but that’s because Photoshop also allows you to build complex automation scenarios that can apply a multitude of tweaks and edits to your images.

Here we will show you how to set up automation to batch-process a single task, such as watermarking your images, or in this case resizing images to a target resolution. We will also explain how you can build on that to create more complex scenarios yourself.

Setting Up Automation in Photoshop

To automate things in Photoshop, you must first create one or more actions. After that, you will be able to recall and apply those actions on your files.

First, select “File -> New” to create a new document.

Ps Batch Process New File

The settings here don’t matter since the document will act as the base on which we will build the actual actions. Enter whatever width and height values you wish or leave it at the default, then click OK.

Ps Batch Process New Doc Window

If you can’t find the Actions panel in your workspace, you can display it by either pressing Alt + F9 on your keyboard or selecting “Window -> Actions.”

Ps Batch Process Actions Menu Entry

Notice the buttons at the bottom of the Actions panel. Click on the fifth one with the “blank page” icon, “Create new action,” to do precisely that.

Enter a name for your new action in the window that pops up. If you wish, you can bind a Function key to it or assign a color to differentiate it from the other actions. Click on Record.

Ps Batch Process Action Color

As you’ll return to Photoshop’s main interface, you might notice that the second button at the bottom of the actions panel, the “record” one with a little circle as an icon, is activated/colored red. Everything you do from now on will be recorded as a new step in the action you just created.

Ps Batch Process Action Recording

Since what we want for our example action is to resize our images, select “Image -> Image Size.”

Ps Batch Process Image Size

We entered “700” as the width, in pixels, since that is the usual size for most images on this site. Feel free to tweak the values and options as you desire, then click OK.

Ps Batch Process Image Size Window

When the window closes, you will note that Photoshop has recorded everything in an “Image Size” step “inside” your Action. Although we will stop here, this is the point where Photoshop allows you to create complex scenarios. You can record other steps that are required to complete your task.

Ps Batch Process Image Size Action Entry

Once you are done with all your steps, save the result by going to “File -> Save As …”

Ps Batch Process Save As

In the window that appears, select the folder where you want the results of your action to be saved, the type/format of the files, as well as a placeholder file name, and then click Save. If needed, also tweak any parameters of your selected output file format.

Ps Batch Process Save As Window

Next, return to the Action panel and click on the first “stop” rectangle icon to stop recording steps.

Ps Batch Process Stop Action Recording

Batch-Processing Files in Photoshop

With our action ready, it’s time to see how we can apply it to multiple images at once.

Select “File -> Automate -> Batch …” to display Photoshop’s batch-processing window.

Ps Batch Process Automate Batch

Choose the action you created from the respective pull-down menu.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Action

Change your “Source” to a folder, click “Choose …” and select the folder with pictures you’d like to process with your action.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Source Path

Enable both “Suppress File Open Options Dialogs” and “Suppress Color Profile Warnings” to avoid Photoshop bugging you about some (unimportant for what we are doing) errors.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Suppress Options

Change your destination to a folder from the “Destination” pull-down menu.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Destination Path

Just like for your source folder, click on the “Choose …” button, accompanying the destination pull-down menu, and select a folder where you want to save the processed files.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Destination Folder Selection

Enable the “Override Action Save as Commands” so that Photoshop also doesn’t bug you about where and how it should save each file.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window Override Action Save As

If you want, you can tweak how output files will be named. You can choose and mix different naming schemes in the “File Naming” section. We decided to use the original filename (“Document Name”) plus a four-digit serial number and a file extension.

Ps Batch Process Batch Window File Naming

Click on OK on the top-right of the window, and after a little while you will find your processed files in the output folder you selected.

Ps Batch Process Results

That’s it. You can now automate and batch process files on your Photoshop. If you are using GIMP, the alternative to Photoshop, you can easily batch-process files on it too.

Odysseas Kourafalos
Odysseas Kourafalos

OK's real life started at around 10, when he got his first computer - a Commodore 128. Since then, he's been melting keycaps by typing 24/7, trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen. Or, rather, read.

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