As described in the preceding tasks, actions allow you to apply multiple commands to one image with a single mouse click. But what do you do if you have a folder of 200 image files that all need the same action? Although you could open each image file and apply the action, it would be much better to process all 200 images with just a single command. This is what the Photoshop Batch command does. The process involves specifying a target folder that contains all the images to be processed and then detailing how and where Photoshop saves the images created by the action.
Open the Actions Palette
If the Actions palette is not currently displayed on your desktop, choose Window, Actions to display the palette. If necessary, exit Button mode and return the palette to List mode (see Step 2 in Task 7).
Highlight the Action to Be Applied
In the Actions palette, click the action to be applied. The action is highlighted in the list. Ideally, you'll create the action first (refer to Task 8) and then select that action for the Batch command to use when it processes the files.
Open the Batch Dialog Box
From the menu bar, choose File, Automate, Batch. The Batch dialog box opens. The action you highlighted in Step 2 appears in the Play section.
Select the Source Folder
From the Source drop-down list, select the Folder option and then click the Choose button. In the Choose a Batch Folder dialog box that appears, navigate to highlight the folder containing the images you want to process and click the Choose button. Back in the Source section, choose options if you want to process images in subfolders. (In Windows, note that the file-selection dialog box is different than the Mac version shown here; use standard navigation techniques to select a source folder.)
Select the Destination Folder
Now specify where you want the changed images to be stored. From the Destination drop-down list, choose None (the changed images remain open onscreen), Save and Close (the changed images are saved and stored in their original location), or Folder (you then click the Choose button and navigate to the folder in which you want copies of the changed images to be stored). You can also specify a desired naming convention, using the pop-up menus in the File Naming section of the Batch dialog box.
Specify Error Handling
From the Errors drop-down list, select Stop for Errors (the process stops until errors are resolved) or Log Errors to File (the process continues and a list of errors is generated for later review). Click OK to begin running the selected action on the selected folders and subfolders.
The Open and Save Commands
The Batch dialog box lets you designate special handling for opening and saving files. In many cases, individual actions include an Open command for a specific file, or a Save or Save As command that stores files in a unique place.
Because these specific commands could conflict with processing a whole folder of different images, Photoshop lets you override a specific "Open" command in an action with a generic one that opens each image in the folder, regardless of how it is named. In a similar manner, the override "Save in" command stores each file in the folder specified, rather than in a unique place as specified in the action.