Photoshop Action and Batch to resize images

Using the Photoshop Actions and batch command to resize images.

In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a custom action and use Photoshop’s batch command to process a group of images to a certain size. This is a fairly simple tutorial, but does require some Photoshop knowledge.

For this tutorial, we are going to create a group of thumbnail images for a website gallery,
So we are going to convert all our images to small jpg’s.

Here we go….

First off, we need to do a little prep work. And believe me, this prep work can save you a lot of problems in the long run.

We need to decide how big our thumbnails are going to be. Also, we need to decide whether or not to resize them by height, or by width. I’ll explain at the end of the tutorial. Since we are making thumbnails, we are going to make them all 150 pixels wide.

Before we go into Photoshop, we are going to create two different folders. For this tutorial, we’ll create the folders “original” and “thumbnails”. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as you can remember where they are. :wink:

Next, copy all the images you want to resize to the “original” folder. Notice that I said COPY. It’s always better to work on copies of your images, rather than the originals. That way if something happens, you always have a backup copy of your original images.

When you copy your images, I recommend you copy them all to the root directory in the “original” folder, don’t use any subfolders. This you’ll ensure that you have no duplicate images, or images with the same filename.

Let’s get into Photoshop.

First we need to open an image. Any image will due for now. We are only going to use it to create our Actions.

Now, let’s create a new action set. To do this, we click on the folder icon in the Actions panel. Let’s name this set “Custom”. I like to keep my custom actions in their own set, so I can find them easier later on.

Next we need to create a new action. Click the “create new action” icon in the Actions panel. This is signified by the icon that looks like a piece of paper with a curled edge.

Let’s name this Action “Resize 150 W” because we are going to resize the image to 150 pixels wide. *Note: As soon as you create a new Action, your action starts recording, so go directly to the next step without doing anything else.

To resize the image: Go to IMAGE –> RESIZE IMAGE. This will open the “Image Size” dialog box. Now let’s change the width of our image to 150 pixels wide. Then click “OK”.

Now immediately after you click “OK”. Go to FILE –> SAVE FOR WEB. Set your jpg parameters how you normally would and click save. Make sure you save this file in the “thumbnails” folder that we created. You can name the file anything you want.

Next we need to stop recording our Action. Click the “Stop recording” icon in the Actions panel. This is the little square button. Our new Action is complete, and ready to use. Now we are ready to process our images.

Go to your “Thumbnails” folder and delete the image you saved there when you created your action. This is just so it doesn’t get mixed in with the images you’re processing.

In Photoshop, go to FILE –> AUTOMATE –> BATCH.

In the “Batch” Dialog box, we need to set our options. The batch options are fairly straight forward, so I’ll only touch on the ones I feel need some explanation.

The “Play” section. Change your set to “Custom”. And your Action to “Resize 150 W” this sets the Action you created earlier.

Set the “Source” option to “Folder”. Then click the “Choose” button and select the folder you created called “Original”.

The “Source” Section. Since we did not create an “Open” Command in our Action, we need to make sure the “Override Action “Open” Commands” is NOT checked. The “Include Subfolders” option doesn’t matter. The “Suppress file Open Options Dialog” should be checked. And the “Suppress Color Profile Warnings” should be checked.

The “Destination” Section. The “Destination” should be set to “Folder”. Click on the “Choose” button and select the folder you created called “thumbnails”. Make sure the “Override Action “Save As” command” is checked. In the “File Naming” Section. Set the first box to “Document Name” and the second box to “Extension”. This is an option you can play around with, but make sure that the last part of the naming is set to “Extension”

Now, to process your images, just click “Ok”

And that’s it.

Before you actually put this Tutorial to use Please check over the notes I’ve put below.



The amount of files you can batch process at one time is affected in several different ways:

  1. The size of the files being processed.
  2. The Processor Speed of your computer.
  3. The amount of RAM available to Photoshop.
    Don’t expect to jump right in a batch process 100 different images at once. Start out slow. Try, let’s say, 10 files the first time and see how your computer responds. If everything goes ok, then start increasing the amount from there.
    Trying to batch too many files at once can cause your computer to slow down, freeze up, or crash altogether. You have been warned. :wink:

When you Batch a group of images this way, you do not have to worry about what type of images they are. If Photoshop can open them, they will be processed.

Here’s the reason why we needed to decide how to resize our images. We want all our images to be consistently the same size and maintain their aspect ratio, so they look like the original, only smaller. However, we can only do this in one direction. When you execute the image size command in an Action. The action will only change the dimension that you have changed in the “Image Size” dialog box.

I hope you find this tutorial useful.

This is my first tutorial, so If you see anything I missed, or don’t understand the way I explained something, please let me know.



Forgot to mention that this tutorial will work in Photoshop CS and Photoshop 7. Been too long since I’ve used anything earlier than 7 so I don’t remember if it’ll work in anything below version 7.

Now this is just what I’ve been looking for. :slight_smile: Will have to try it tomorrow.

Good contribution dude. :tup:

Some questions: Lets say I want to resize an image, then feather it and apply some layer styles. Can that be recorded also? Is there a limit to what you can record?

Yes it can. Basically any command performed while your recording the Action will be played back, this also includes property changes, filters, and other actions. There aren’t really any limits to what you can record. However, some commands do not work real well in an Action. But if you really want to be sure, try it out. Record a new Action, do what you want, then try it out and see what happens. You can always start over. :wink:

Something else. Once you record an action, you can add to it later. If I get a few requests for a tut on that, I may write one. It’s very simple to do.


Nice tut tsion. Thanks for posting! :slight_smile:

This is a very nice tutorials :smiley: thanks for sharing it with us mate :wink:

thanks! i have looking for that kind of tutorial for ages! thank you very very much! :slight_smile:

anyone want any other batch tut’s?


When I run the batch command, PCS brings up the replace image dialogue asking me is I want to replace the previously saved image, which obviously I don’t.

What am I missing? :slight_smile:

Go for it. :tup:

Have you checked to make sure your source folder is not the same as your destination folder. If you did not specify the correct destination folder when you did your “save for web”, then you’ll have that problem. PCS has a bug that will cause this problem if you didn’t. Sometimes the “override “save as” command” option doesn’t work.

Let me know what you’d like to do, and I’ll write one for it.

Things like layer styles added, maybe a feather effect, then crop. Anything that involves a bit more comlexity than your last one. :slight_smile: And also a bit more detail on the output options. :wink:

I start working on something soon. What kind of details on output options are ya thinking about?

I recently installed a plug-in for Photoshop CS (Noise Ninja). While trying to process 155 files I kept getting errors when trying to manipulate more than twenty at a time. I originally thought that it was a problem with the plug-in but when I created a new action using PS tools I get the same problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated. BTW I did not notice anywhere that a limit could be set.

Thank you,

What are the specs on your computer? Almost sounds like your trying to do too many at one time. In my tutorial, the only way to set the limit, is to limit the amount of files you put in your source folder.

tsion, nothing extrodinary, although it would be cool to put images in specific folders, depending on their file-name (not sure if that’s possible though). :slight_smile:

Hello Tsion,

I don’t think the computer would be the problem. I’m running a Pentium 3.4, dual 250 G hardrives and 2G of RAM (Gateway PC). I guess I should try it on my other pc or my laptop. I just thought it may be an easy configuration change that could be made in the action or droplet. It does the twenty without a problem, but attempting 21 prevent an action from running. Image size doesn’t have an effect.

Thank you for replying,


Hmm, I’m not quite sure on this one. I have an Athlon64 3200 with 1Gig of RAM and can batch at least 100 without hardly slowing down. I don’t see why your’s would stop at only 20 images. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Unfortunately the output location options are pretty limited in PCS. So I don’t think it can be done. I may be wrong though (it happens somethings) :wink: .


It doesn’t stop at twenty. If I try to process 21 It won’t even start. This is the message that I receive when I drag more than twenty jpgs to the droplet.

“Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.”

The whole permissions thing is throwing me off.

Thanks again,