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How to Export Photoshop Actions

written by: Bruce Tyson•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 1/10/2011

Photoshop actions are convenient ways to save time and to share skills with others. By recording common tasks, these shortcuts make it easy to record frequently used key strokes for repetitive tasks. Users can learn how to export Photoshop actions in this tutorial.

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    About Photoshop Actions

    Photoshop actions are macro shortcuts that save time while performing complicated or repetitive actions. Photoshop users can easily create a Photoshop action by clicking on "Window" and then "Actions" from the main menu to open the "Actions" palette.

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    From the "Actions" palette, users can record new actions or replay existing ones by using the controls found on the palette frame.

    Before learning how to export Photoshop actions, users should first create an action that will be used for export.

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    Creating a Photoshop Action

    To get started, users should click the folder icon (New Set) located to the right of the "Play" button on the "Actions" palette. The new set can either be renamed or left at the default value filled in by Photoshop. Here, the newly created set will be named "Set 1."

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    By storing actions in "sets," users can organize actions better and group them for export (actions can only be exported as a set).

    To create the action, begin creating a new action by clicking the "New" icon at the lower right corner of the "Actions" palette. The "New Action" window will then open where users should enter the name, shortcut key, and color code for the new action. The new action shown here will rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise.

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    Once the initial information is filled in, users should click the "Record" button and then perform the desired "Action." The "Record" light toward the lower left of the "Action" palette will turn red. Clicking on the square "Stop" button when the users' action is complete will terminate the action and save it to the "Actions" list.

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    Now, users may replay that action simply by clicking the "Play" button at the bottom of the "Actions" palette.

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    Having learned how to create an "Action," readers can now proceed to learn how to export Photoshop actions.

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    Exporting Photoshop Actions

    This next step of this Adobe Photoshop tutorial shows users how to export Photoshop actions. The instructions here will export the same action that was created above as part of the "Set 1" action set. Photoshop will only allow "sets" of actions to be exported, so users wishing to distribute only a few actions should create a new action set first and then export that set to avoid exporting all the actions that are stored in their "Default" set.

    First, users should select the action set to export by clicking on it with the mouse. Next, they should click the options menu icon at the upper right corner of the "Actions" palette and then select the "Save" option from the fly out menu.

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    In the "Save" dialog window, users can name the exported actions file. By default, in Windows 7, Adobe Photoshop saves the actions file to the "Actions" folder located at C:\[Your User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Presets\Actions, but alternate locations should work fine, especially if saving to an external drive for distribution or for backup.

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    Final Thoughts

    Knowing how to export Photoshop actions makes it convenient to save complex actions in Photoshop to disk for backups or to share with others.Users wishing to load an action set can click on the menu button at the top right of the "Actions" palette and click the "Load" option. A dialog opens which is used to browse to the action set. Once selected, the actions contained in the saved file will become available inside the "Actions" palette. actions 007 

    This Photoshop tutorial showed Adobe Photoshop users how to export Photoshop actions. With this skill, users can save their actions to protect against data loss and share their action sets to share their techniques with other users.

    Image Credits: Screen shots taken by Bruce Tyson