How to Edit an Action in Photoshop CS6

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 enables you to edit your actions fairly easily. However, certain actions won’t run on certain files. For example, if your action involves adjusting the opacity of a layer and you run it on an image without layers, it won’t work. You have to include a step that creates a layer first.

You can edit individual steps of an action. Here are some of the editing changes that you can make:

  • Move a step. To move a step from one place in the action to another, click the step that you want to relocate and drag it to its new place in the action list.

  • Add a step at the beginning. To add a new step at the beginning, select the first step of an existing action. Click the Record button and perform the steps you want to add. Click the Stop Recording button when you finish.

  • Add a step in the middle. To add a new step in the middle of an existing action, select the step that you want to precede the new step. Click the Record button and perform the steps that you want to add. Click the Stop Recording button when you finish.

  • Add a step to the end. To add a new step at the end of an existing action, select the name of the action, click the Record button, and perform the steps that you want to add. Click the Stop Recording button when you finish.

  • Remove a step. Click the step you want to delete and then drag the step to the trash can icon, or click the trash icon and then click OK in the dialog box that appears. (Alt-click the trash can icon [Option-click on the Mac] to bypass the dialog box and delete the step without confirmation.) You can also select a step and select Delete from the panel pop-up menu.

  • Duplicate a step. Hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and drag the step that you want to duplicate to another location in the Actions panel. Photoshop then creates a copy of the step, leaving the original step where it was.

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You can remove or duplicate an entire action by using the procedures described in the preceding list for removing a step or duplicating a step.

When you play back an action to test it, the action may run too quickly for you to see exactly what’s going on. To slow things down, select Playback Options from the panel pop-up menu and select a playback speed in the Playback Options dialog box.

Select Accelerated to zip through an action at normal speed, Step by Step to command Photoshop to briefly stop between actions so that you can examine what’s happened, or Pause For to create a short pause. (Make sure you specify how many seconds to pause.) If you want to get really fancy, you can select the Pause for Audio Annotation check box and use your microphone to describe each step.

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