For many, Photoshop is an essential piece of their web designer’s toolkit. As part of the Adobe CC suite of tools, Photoshop is an app that all web designers should, at least, be familiar with.

Whether you’re creating custom graphics and logos for your websites or sketching out prototypes for clients, Photoshop is a powerful piece of software that can help you produce some great work, while enabling you to save time and effort. Furthermore, adding Photoshop to your web design toolkit needn’t mean breaking the bank.

One powerful aspect of Photoshop that isn’t widely known about is its actions feature. Photoshop actions allow you to record a sequence of tasks for playback on demand. This makes Photoshop actions perfect for automating those repetitive or complex tasks you carry out on a regular basis.

In this article, we’ll be starting out with a brief introduction to this powerful feature of Photoshop, before sharing 10 insanely useful Photoshop actions for web designers to help speed up your workflow.

What Are Photoshop Actions?

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Action Example

Photoshop actions are a sequence of steps or actions that have been recorded

Photoshop actions are best described as a series of actions or steps, carried out in Photoshop, which have been recorded and saved as an action file. These sequences of actions can include anything you can do in Photoshop.

This could include creating new documents with specific dimensions, resizing an image, drawing shapes, applying filters, sketching out a wireframe, and saving a file in a specific folder on your computer.

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Grid Layout

This action created a grid layout that web designers will find useful

Once an action has been recorded, it can be played back at any time. As Photoshop actions can include just a few or many steps, they have the potential to save you lots of time and effort. They can also be a good way to avoid the need to memorize certain sequences, such as optimizing a photo, applying a certain effect, or creating a wireframe layout in a new Photoshop file.

As these action files can easily be exported and imported into the Photoshop software, they are perfect for sharing amongst users. This helps you to build up a library of time-saving process that you can playback at the touch of a button.

Actions can also be a great way to learn more advanced techniques in Photoshop. As you can view the individual steps that make up an action, you can learn what’s involved in creating a certain effect with this sometimes-overwhelming piece of software.

All Photoshop users are free to create and distribute their own actions. This means there are plenty of useful actions available as free downloadable files from the internet. There are also many commercial Photoshop actions that have been created by expert users to help others apply more advanced effects to their images or save more time when working.

Now you’re aware of the benefits of Photoshop actions, let’s find out how to use them, before checking out 10 Photoshop actions for web designers that can help you work smarter.

How to Create Your Own Photoshop Actions

If you already use photoshop regularly there are probably a handful of tasks you repeat all the time. Well, instead of repeating them step by step each time you can record them as actions and then complete them with a single click.

For example, let’s say you always apply certain image cropping and/or sizing to image elements for your blog posts or pages.

Here’s how you would record those as actions:

First, go to Window > Actions. A new control panel will appear.

photoshop-actions-panel

Click the “create new action” icon (next to the trash can icon) and a dialogue box will appear.

photoshop-actions-record-dialogue-box

You’ll be able to name your action as well as assign it to a new or existing set of actions. When you’re ready, click “record” and simply walk through the steps you’d like to automate.

When you’ve completed your desired steps, click the “stop” button icon next to the red “record” icon in the actions panel.

stop-record-play-icons

Now you’ve got a new action. Whatever steps your just recorded–whether they’re resizing your images, applying filters, effects, or anything else–you can now apply them to another image simply by selecting the action and clicking the “play” icon.

How to Use Pre-Made Photoshop Actions

As mentioned, Photoshop actions are available as individual files that can be imported and exported in and out of Photoshop.

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Action File Explorer

Photoshop action files have the .atn extension

If you are downloading Photoshop action files from the internet, they will typically be archived into a zip file, which can be unpacked with an app like WinRAR. After extracting the archive to unpack the action file, you have a few options for adding it to Photoshop:

  • Double click on the action file to import it into Photoshop
  • Copy the action file into the Photoshop Actions folder on your computer
  • Drag-and-drop the actions file into Actions panel within Photoshop
Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Action Folder

The location of the Photoshop Actions folder can vary from OS to OS

Photoshop includes a few actions to help you get started and after you’ve imported one or more additional actions, they will be listed in the Actions panel. This panel can be viewed by clicking on the Windows menu in Photoshop, and then selecting Actions from the list.

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Action Panel

Photoshop Actions are displayed in their own window

When it comes to playing back an action, it’s simply a case of selecting the appropriate item from your actions library and hitting the play button. Then, the steps of action will be carried out, just as if someone has taken control of your computer (don’t worry, they haven’t!).

You’re also free to view and edit any of the steps that make up an action. This gives you the option of modifying them to better meet your needs. Reviewing the individual steps of an action can also help you learn what’s required to create a certain effect in Photoshop.

If you want to create your own actions, simply click on the Record button on the Actions window and perform the steps you’d like to save as a reusable action.

10 Insanely Useful Photoshop Actions Pre-Made for Web Designers

So, now that you know what Photoshop actions are and why you should be using them, let’s take a look at 10 Photoshop actions for web designers to help you get more done with less effort.

1) 1170 Grid System PS Action

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Grid Layout

Use this handy action to add a grid layout to your document

This action from Pixel Industry will create a 1200px wide document in Photoshop, with a 12-column grid layout to help you with your web design sketches.

Price: free | More Information

2) Bootstrap Grid System Photoshop Action – 1170px

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Bootstrap

Kickstart your Bootstrap layout with this action

This is another free action that quickly creates a grid layout for your web page designs. This time, the action creates a document that is 1600px wide and includes a Bootstrap grid layout – perfect for anyone designing for this popular responsive framework.

Price: free | More Information

3) Lorem Ipsum Photoshop Actions

Photoshop Lorem Ipsum Action

Add a range of dummy text to your web page layouts

This free action makes it very easy to insert dummy text into your Photoshop documents. Now if you want to populate your web design mockups with headlines, body text, multiple columns of words, or even an entire dummy document, this action gives you plenty of options.

Price: free | More Information

4) Long Shadow Generator Photoshop Action

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers Long Shadow

Get on board with this latest web design trend in just a few clicks

Want to instantly apply long shadows – one of the most popular design trends of the moment – to your work? Then this free Photoshop action, available for download from Web3Canvas, is a great time saver.

This package includes four actions that will add either 45 or 120-degree long shadows to your work. Once the playback starts, you’ll quickly see how much time and effort this web designer-friendly Photoshop action can save you.

Price: free | More Information

5) Isometric 3D Perspective Mockup Photoshop Action

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers 3D Isometric

Give your screenshots and mockups a quick 3D isometric makeover

If you want a quick and easy way to apply the popular isometric 3D perspective to your images, such as the screenshots of your products and the items in your portfolio, then this free Photoshop action is for you.

When running the action, you get four types of 3D depths to choose from, as well as two angles. This gives you a good selection of options for how your mockups will be transformed. For more isometric Photoshop actions, be sure to check out this impressive premium pack.

Price: free | More Information

6) Retinize It

Quickly create larger Retina-ready versions of your images

Quickly create larger Retina-ready versions of your images

This simple but effective Photoshop action will quickly prepare your images for Retina displays. Depending on which action from the pack you run, you’ll get one, two, or three optimized images at 100%, 200%, and 300% of the original size.

Price: free | More Information

7) Vintage Retro Text Collection 7

Create stylish text based logos at the touch of a button

Create stylish text based logos at the touch of a button

If you’re in need of a logo design for your project, then this set of 10 vintage and retro text actions should give you plenty of inspiration. Each action will transform your text in a way that would otherwise require serious design chops.

If you are interested in more text effect Photoshop Actions, there are much more available at the Graphic River marketplace.

Price: $5 | More Information

8) Desktop Screen Display Action

Creating professional screenshots is as easy as clicking play

Creating professional screenshots is as easy as clicking play

The Desktop Screen Display Action gives you another way to publish attention-grabbing screenshots. Whether you’re publishing screenshots of your web design work for your portfolio or creating a sales page for your latest theme, this action makes the process of professionally presenting your images as easy as possible.

This pack contains five different actions, as well as the PSD files and layers you’ll need to create this effect.

Price: $5 | More Information

9) 188 Actions Ultimate Bundle

Upgrade your Photoshop Actions library with this 188-piece pack

Upgrade your Photoshop Actions library with this 188-piece pack

While this action pack might not be free, it does include an impressive 188 items that will allow you to create a wide range of graphics and effects for your logos and other website content.

You can view screenshots of these actions on the developer’s page, but it’s safe to say that these actions cover a wide range of styles and trends, including vintage filters, retro actions, HDR presets, and other photographic effects. You’ll also find a collection of Facebook timeline covers thrown in too for good measure.

Price: $34 | More Information

10) Photoshop Browser UI Action

Add a minimal flat browser UI to your images

Add a minimal flat browser UI to your images

This action adds a minimal flat browser UI to your work, making it a perfect choice for giving your screenshots a little extra boost.

Price: free | More Information

Where to Find More Photoshop Actions for Web Designers

Photoshop Actions for Web Designers More

Transform with your images into sketches with Photoshop actions

The more you search for Photoshop actions, the more you’ll find. While most are aimed at photographers looking for a way to give their work a professional touch, there are still a few actions for web designers to be found.

Here are some places to look for Photoshop actions that web designers will find useful:

  • Adobe hosts a library of actions for Photoshop
  • Brusheezy has a good selection of prerecorded commands for Photoshop
  • Creative Market sells a wide range of Photoshop actions for all types of projects
  • Graphic River has over 6,000 commercial actions starting at just $2
  • Shutter Pulse offers many professional actions for photographers

Final Thoughts on Photoshop Actions

I hope that this article has either introduced you to the potential of Photoshop actions or given you some more tools for your web design arsenal. Creating your own actions or downloading them is a great way to speed up you web design workflow and automate those boring tasks you find yourself doing every day.

How will Photoshop actions help you save time and work more efficiently? Please share your comments below.

Article thumbnail image by jiunn / shutterstock.com


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