Photoshop CC’s Batch Command

By Peter Bauer

Choosing File→Automate→Batch lets you play back an Action on a number of files. You select an Action to play and also a folder of image files to play it on; then you decide what you want to do with the files after the Action finishes with them.

You can leave the images open in Photoshop, save and close them, or (much safer) save them to another folder, preserving the originals. The figure shows the Batch dialog box and also the pop-up menu for the fields in the File Naming area. (When you select a new folder as the Destination in Batch, you must tell Photoshop how you want the new files to be named.)

The Batch command is much simpler than it looks!

The Batch command is much simpler than it looks!

You must remember three things when assigning filenames:

  • Include a variable. Something must change from filename to filename. Select one of the top nine items in the File Naming section’s pop-up menu (some version of the original document name or a serial number or a serial letter). It doesn’t have to be in the first field, but one element of the filename must be different from file to file.

  • Don’t use a period (.) in any field. You can type in any of the fields (except the last one you use), but for compatibility, stick with letters, numbers, underscores (_), and hyphens (@@hy).

    Absolutely do not use a period (.) in the filename. The only period that should be used in a filename is the one that’s automatically added immediately before the file extension. Including a period earlier in a file name may make that file unrecognizable for some programs.

  • You have two other decisions of note in the Batch dialog box. When you elect to suppress any Open commands in the Action, you protect yourself from poorly recorded Actions that start by opening the image with which they were recorded.

    However, if the Action depends on the content of a second file, you don’t want to override that Open command. Generally, you want to override any Save As commands recorded in the Action, relying instead on the decisions that you make in the Batch dialog box to determine the fate of the image.

Keep in mind that you can also select some of the images in a folder in Bridge, and then choose Tools→Photoshop→Batch from Bridge’s main menu to run an Action on just those files. The Source menu will be set to Bridge.