Tips for Organizing Photoshop Actions

Tips for Organizing Photoshop Actions

Photoshop actions are incredibly useful. They can save you a bunch of time and money that you’d otherwise spend on photo editing. By no means are they a solution to all post-processing, but they are a great start or addition to your post-production process.

However; if they’re unorganized, you’re probably wasting a lot of time in Photoshop. In this post we’ll share every tip we can think of for organizing your Photoshop actions. We’ll go through labeling and naming them, grouping them, and copying/duplicating them.

Naming Photoshop Actions

Labeling your Photoshop actions is the smartest thing you can do. Not only does it help you remember what type of effect each action will create, but it saves you the time and frustration of playing multiple actions before getting the ideal effect. It’s also a super simple task you can do.

Naming Photoshop Actions

In the image above I simple opened a group of Photoshop actions, specifically Retro Series I. I then double clicked the first action and it becomes highlighted and editable. That’s basically it, now you can simply retype what you’d like to name your actions. While many of the FilterGrade actions are named accordingly its always nice to personalize your effects. I suggest naming them how you can best remember their specific effect.

Grouping Photoshop Actions

The next step to organizing Photoshop actions is grouping them and moving them around. This is quite easy and can make your actions panel a whole lot more navigable. Not only that, but it helps you organize your sets of actions based on genre, so to speak.

Selection multiple Photoshop actions.

To start, select a few Photoshop actions that you’d like to group. To select them, click the first, then hold shift and click down to the last in the selection. If you want to randomly select a few different actions, hold the control key and click each actions you’d like.

Group Photoshop Actions

After you’ve made your selection, click the icon shown above and it will open up a new dialogue window.

Grouped Photoshop Actions

In this dialogue box, type in the name for your group of Photoshop actions, and boom you’re done!

Duplicating & Moving Photoshop Actions

Now that you know how to name and group Photoshop actions it might be useful to duplicate them, move them around, and set them up for best efficiency. Duplicating them is pretty simple and can be done a few ways.

How to duplicate Photoshop actions

To duplicate an action simply select it, click the drop-down in the top right of the actions panel, and then click the duplicate button.

Duplicated Photoshop Actions

You can also duplicate groups if you need to. Moving Photoshop actions around simply involves clicking, holding, and dragging them somewhere else. Into a new group, up, down, or anywhere in the actions panel.

Organizing Your Photoshop Actions

Finally now that you’ve learned how to name, group, and duplicate Photoshop actions, it might be useful to organize them. Here are a few tips for organizing Photoshop actions.

  • Group actions. Don’t leave any sitting around by themselves, it gets messy and distracting.
  • Create groups to use as separators. Look at the image above and you’ll see what I mean. All you do is create a group and title it with a bunch of dashes.
  • Then after creating groups, separators and all that organize based on type, quality, etc. It’s up to you, just think of efficiency.
Thanks so much for reading this and keeping up with our Photoshop action tutorials. We’re working on a few more really helpful tips and tutorials, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you’d like to share a quick tip for organizing Photoshop actions, leave a comment! We love learning more about Photoshop and might hook you up with some FilterGrade Actions for free if it’s an awesome tip.

23 Replies to “Tips for Organizing Photoshop Actions”

  1. Pamela says:

    Thank you for this! Sometimes organizing is the hardest part of any job – this is going to save me a lot of headaches.

    1. Mike says:

      Glad we could help Pamela. :) Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Jose Antonio says:

    yo utilizo PS en español y quisiera saber si se pueden editar las acciones de tal manera que cuando se ejecutan no tengan conflictos con el idioma,
    por ejemplo: Curves 1 — Curvas 1
    ahora las utilizo deteniendo la accion y cambiando el nombre de la capa, pero claro esto enlentece mucho el proceso,
    un saludo
    jose antonio

    1. Mike says:

      Por desgracia, no he encontrado una solución todavía. Si se siente cómodo con Inglés en PS, hay un tutorial fresco para ayudarle con eso?

      Aquí –

  3. Sharon Cooke says:

    You don’t say how to move actions. I’m trying to select certain actions from different sets that I use most often and put them in a favorites group. Can you explain how to do that?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Sharon,

      Sorry about the confusion. If you check the “Grouping Photoshop Actions” section we discuss this in a bit of detail.

      To select your favorite/most-used actions and group them start by creating a new group, then duplicate each action you are looking to “copy” into the folder, then drag those actions into the folder.

      It’s a bit of a slow process because you can’t select all of the actions at once, but that is the fastest way to do this.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Sorry, I have tried the steps you outline above, and it does not work for me. I cannot drag the copy into the new folder, it either pops up over the folder or under it. What am I doing wrong?

  4. Cynthia says:

    Just wondering how you can color code each action set or select actions most used so they pop and help you navigate to them faster. Your thoughts and response would greatly be appreciated

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Cynthia, thank so much for the comment! Unfortunately I’m not sure that you can color code action sets, but you can color code actions by following this tutorial. The best way to do the second thing would be to make a group or action set of your favorite/most used actions and place it at the top of your actions panel. I don’t think Photoshop has an automated option for this although it’s a fantastic idea! Hope this helps.

  5. Isabel says:

    Hi. Is there a way to group several “folders” into one folder within the Actions Panel? I’ve been trying but I can’t figure out how to manage the folders.

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Isabel, thanks for your comment. I’ve tried this several times myself and I have to unfortunately say I don’t think there is a way. My best recommendation for this is to make groups of actions as dividers and then organize your groups in the actions panel around that. I’ll keep my eyes peeled though and if I find anything, we’ll most definitely write about it here on the blog. Best, Mike.

  6. Hi,

    I published my new Photoshop panel “ActionBrowser CC” a few days ago. Maybe it’s interesting for you

    This makes it possible to search for actions (à la Spotlight search) to manage favorites and play actions easier.

    More information can be found here:


    1. Mike says:

      Thanks for your comment Thomas! Cool product. :)

  7. thia says:

    i tried the steps but it did not take my highlighted actions and put in new set. it just made a new set with nothing in it. tried to drag and drop but that didnt work. any suggestions?

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Thia, that’s strange. Usually it will allow you to drag them. What version of Photoshop are you using? Just tested in Photoshop CC and it allowed me to select and drag multiple actions from one group to the next. All I can think of is that it may be a preference or setting in the Photoshop Preferences, but I’m not certain it’s that.

    2. Lucie says:

      I think you are possibly trying to do what I am doing… I have a few sets of actions by the same person and wanted to group them, but you cannot group groups of actions if that makes sense…

  8. Shirley V says:

    There’s no way to group Actions following these instructions in the latest version of Photoshop CC! Anyone know how I can group actions now???

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Shirley, I believe it is still similar. Click the folder icon, name the group of actions, and then drag any actions from other groups or the actions panel into the group (folder) you created.

  9. Rita Smith says:

    Thank you I have grouped a set of actions and now I can’t seem to open it!! PLEASE HELP how??

    1. Mike says:

      Oh no! Did you lock the layers or group by chance? If you can upload a screenshot to a site like Imgur or something, happy to take a look!

  10. Gerry says:

    Your method for grouping actions no longer works with Photoshop 2021! I tried twice!

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Gerry, thanks for your comment. Just tested this again and didn’t seem to have any issues. Can you describe what happened when you tried? If possible send a screenshot and we can take a look.

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