Did you see...

Conditional Actions in Photoshop

The latest update to Photoshop (only available to Creative Cloud users, don’t blame me talk to Adobe, but I probably agree with you) included something called Conditional Actions.  Conditional Actions are a way of adding a clause to an action that will cause another action to run if the clause is applicable or another to run if it isn’t.  Clear?  No, probably not, so I’ll create a real world example to explain more clearly (hopefully).


One thing I end up doing a lot is preparing images for tutorials, this involves using the Save For Web function in Photoshop, in-putting size and quality settings, selecting a place to save the image and then close without saving.  I have two actions to do this for me, one for landscape and square images (the square action works with portrait images too), which means running a Batch command for several images would have been a fiddle and a faff. What Conditional Actions allow me to do is to create a new action that selects which of my two existing actions to run depending on whether the image is landscape or square/portrait.


To do this, open the Actions palette and create a new action (press the new icon at the bottom of the palette or use the palette’s pop out menu)


Create a New Action


Name it as you wish but make sure that you save the action the set where the actions you are going to use are located.  Don’t worry about pressing record as you do not need to be recording to create a Conditional.


Go back to the pop out menu and click on “Insert Conditional…”


Conditional Actions


This opens the Conditional Action dialog box


Conditional Actions Dialog



The “If Current” drop-down menu offers the choices for which clause you want to use.


Conditional Action Options


We need to use the “Document is Landscape”.  Next click on the “Then Play Action” drop-down.  Select the action you wish to use if the image is landscape.  Then click on the “Else Play Action” if you want to trigger an action if the image isn’t landscape; I’ve selected my square action.


Now we have the Conditional Action made we can create a Batch command to really get it to work for its money.


Got to File – Automate – Batch



If you left your Conditional Action highlighted it should be automatically selected in the Batch dialog, if not you will have to select the set and action manually.  I’ve chosen opened files as my source but you can select a folder or Bridge if you wish.  Destination is None as I’ve already set that in the action and I’ve selected stop for errors.  Click OK and Photoshop and the Conditional Action will do all the work for you.

About Richard Hales (35 Articles)
Richard’s first foray into was photography was as an apprentice photographer for Oxford University over 20 years ago. From there Richard went on to study photography at University somehow gaining a BA & MA, he still is rather confused how he managed to do this. After University and an unfinished (and un-started) PhD Richard “retired” from photography for a few years to pursue a career in wine and, oddly, scrap metal before returning to photography and setting up a wedding and portrait photography business in Worcestershire. As well as running his photography business Richard is currently working on a bread & jam making book. He is the average height for a Nut.

3 Comments on Conditional Actions in Photoshop

  1. Daniel thomassin // 01/02/2013 at 2:35 pm //

    Bonjour;Un grand Merci.

  2. tekwrite // 25/10/2014 at 12:19 am //

    ONLY way I could make this work was if you DO press Record and then stop the macro. According to the author you do not have to press Record, but if you DON’T all of the menu options are grayed out (because the New Action dialog is still displayed). Using CC.

  3. Its very useful thank you

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.