Installing actions can seem like a very daunting task, but really it is very easy once you have done it a couple of times. I hope this post will demystify the process for new users and help them enjoy finding new actions, and be able to install with confidence. Videos for BOTH Mac and PC users are at the bottom of this post.
Installing New Actions:
- Download the Zip file and move to a easy-to-access folder on your computer. I recommend one on your desktop, named actions or something similar.
- Unzip the file by right clicking and choosing “Extract All.”
- Unhide your hidden files and folders by going to Tools, then Options and View and select to “show hidden files and folder” (watch video tutorial)
- Go to where your actions are saved (that folder I told you to put on your desktop). Locate the .atn and .png files (sometimes metadata.xml files if the designer has included them) and highlight them and go to Edit, Copy to Folder.
- Navigate to the Photo Effects folder by following the right path for your computer (see below) and click Copy.
Those with PSE 5 need .psd files for thumbnail images, but not all action designers are providing those anymore. You can create your own with the Make a Thumbnail action if you need.
Paths to Follow When Installing Actions
Windows Vista and 7:
C drive / Program Data / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 (or your version) / Photo Creation / Photo Effects
C drive / Documents and Settings / All Users / Application Data / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Photo Creations / Photo Effects
** The biggest cause for hiccups with Windows 7, Vista and XP is not unhiding the hidden folders. This needs to be done before you start trying to copy the actions. This is easily done by going to the Tools option in Windows Explorer and then Options (or Folder Options), then View, and click on “show hidden files and folders’ and hit apply.
Mac (two steps):
First – Hard drive / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Photo Creations / Photo Effects
Second – Hard drive / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Locale / En_US / and DELETE the mediatdatabase.db3 file.
NOTE: If you are on Lion, you need to find your hard drive by going to your Finder, then click on GO in the menu, then down to MacIntosh HD, then Library and then continue on the path listed above.
Do not rename the .db3 file, just delete. I promise it will be okay. When you restart your PSE, you will get a box saying “Building Content and Effects.” It will take a minute or two and then your actions are there.
** The biggest hiccup that Mac users have is that there are two Libraries. If you cannot find the above path with the Library you find, go search for the other. I hope to come back and update this post with screen prints from a Mac user’s screen to help others.
Below is a screen print of the path for Windows 7 and Vista users.
Here is a screen print of the file path on a Mac. Sorry it’s so small, it was on my Macbook Pro, so limited space.
After copying over the .atn, .png and possibly the .xml files, you need to restart your Photoshop Elements. If you have installed in a lot of actions at once, give your program some time to load them all.
To find the actions, click on the Effects tab, then the Photo Effects icon, then change the drop down menu to the ‘Show All” category. You should see your actions there.
Installing Actions in The Action Player
If you have Florabella’s gorgeous actions, she has her actions in sets that also play through the action player. You need to locate those particular actions in your zip file (they will not be accompanied by .png files) and copy those using a slightly different path:
Windows 7 and Vista: C drive / Program Data / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Locale / En_Us / Workflow Panels / Actions
Windows XP: C drive / Documents and Settings / All Users / Application Data / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Locale / En_Us / Workflow Panels / Actions
Mac Snow Leopard: Hard drive / Library / Application Support / Adobe / Photoshop Elements / 9.0 / Locale / En_Us / Workflow Panels / Actions
Mac Lion: Finder / Go (in Menu) / Computer / MacIntosh HD / Library / Application Support / Photoshop Elements / 10.0 / Photo Creations / Photo Effects
Below is a screen print of the path in Windows 7:
Below is a video tutorial showing how to install actions both in the Photo Effects palette and in the Action Player, using Windows 7. If you have Vista it is very, very similar.
PC users the video below is for you. Mac users go to the next video down.
Mac users the video below is for you.