How to play Photoshop Actions on Multiple Images with Batch Editing

How to play Photoshop Actions on Multiple Images with Batch Editing

Have you ever wished that Photoshop could be as quick and easy as Lightroom at simply applying the same edit to many photos? Have you ever loved Photoshop but hated going from photo to photo applying the same action one at a time? Well wish no further because the answer is right under your nose – batch editing!

With the batch edit command in Photoshop, you can play the same action on a whole batch of opened images or even an entire folder without even needing to open the images. Now, personally I wouldn’t recommend blindly applying and saving actions to an entire folder of unopened files unless it’s something minor like a little sharpening.

So first, I open a few images I’d like to edit. I don’t usually do more than 10 at a time because I know that’s all my computer can handle without slowing down.

1. File > Automate > Batch:

2. This is the panel that opens up:

3. First, choose what set of actions you want to use for the images and then which action from that set you want to use:

4. Now, choose whether to apply the actions to a folder of images on your computer or the images you’ve already opened in Photoshop. Personally, I open the images and apply the changed to ‘opened files’ as seen here:

5. Now, tell it what you want to do after the actions have been played. Since I play my actions on opened images, I choose here ‘none’ which will keep the images open in Photoshop after playing the action so I can further tweak before saving.


And that’s it! Now sit back and be amazed as Photoshop does all the work!

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Elizabeth Halford is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

Some Older Comments

  • theConundrumm July 19, 2013 07:35 am

    how to be running an action script from windows..? i have various folders that fill with files that need their script in PS. folder A is script A, folder B is script B etc... how to run all PS scripts from windows??

  • rony April 26, 2013 05:53 pm

    That is awesome but you can also add logo,contrast,brightness,frames and many more within seconds much faster than here.please check

  • wayne gomillion February 20, 2012 05:53 pm

    Thank you very much!
    But when I get a error message The object “layer “text”” is not currently available.
    How is this fixed?

  • Alan RObertson December 4, 2011 10:02 am

    Remember to back up your images before running batch. It is useful and time saving but if you set the wrong settings and you don't have a backup then potentially it could do a lot of damage. Use with caution.

  • Richard van Wayenburg November 22, 2011 05:07 pm

    OMG this is an awesome tip!!!!
    thank you so much for sharing!
    +1000 points to you

  • ccting November 18, 2011 10:42 am

    Wow, new to me.. short but excellent tutorial

  • armis November 14, 2011 09:09 pm

    @Sidney: It'a really easy to create your own actions. In the action toolbar, notice there's a little 'record' button (the red circle thingie). Open a RAW file, click one of the buttons next to the abovementioned one (the one that reads 'new action'), and name your action. Now click the record button, apply all the changes (filters, resizes, whatever) you'll want to apply in bulk, save the file as jpg in the location you want, with the quality you want, and optionally close the file. Now click the record button again to end it. You now have a custom action that you can apply as batch by following the article above.

    Like I said, I've put noise reduction, sharpening and save-as as actions because those are the steps I know 100% I'm going to take on every single picture.

  • Mick Harvey November 14, 2011 07:22 am

    Have a look at Instant JPEG from RAW ( it works a treat.

  • Sidney November 13, 2011 06:09 pm

    Can someone recommend some simple actions to apply to batch RAW files and convert them to JPG for quick sharing with family and friends? I ran across the info on another web site, but I've lost it.

  • Clayton November 12, 2011 03:29 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE automated actions. When I'm building websites I use the resize and rename functions all the time. Lightroom has some timesaving functions built in too that I use often. Something as simple as Copy & Paste. I actually wrote about it to share: (figured I'd save the long link, ha).

  • Anna Moritz November 12, 2011 02:58 am

    Fantastic! Thank you!!!

  • Brent November 11, 2011 12:20 pm

    I've been using PS for about 8 years now and I never knew this... thank you very much for this tip. :)

  • Gen Griffith November 11, 2011 05:16 am

    Does batch processing work in Photoshop Elements 9?

  • armis November 11, 2011 12:49 am

    I've only recently discovered the awesomeness of batch processing and actions. Sprinkle some scripting on top and I cut my edit time for a batch of pictures by something like 60%. For most of the pictures, the process is now:
    - open a bunch of pictures in Camera Raw
    - do all the usual basic edits (temperature, overall brightness/contrast etc., crops)
    - open in PS, do all the edits I can't do in Camera Raw and fine-tune to taste
    - fire my noise reduction as a batch, with a script deciding what settings to use based on ISO, apply 2-pass sharpening, save, save as jpeg (100% quality), close. If I need to, I have another resize - save as internet-friendly jpeg action as well.
    That last batch I used to do by hand. Seems like nothing but over 100 pictures it adds up.