Photoshop Elements 11 was released in late September with major changes to the layout of the full edit (not called “Expert”) mode. In addition to those changes, they added a new panel/palette – the Actions panel. After years of requests by users to make installing actions easier, Adobe listened and you can now add actions easily and without having to leave PSE to do it.
The first thing you need to do is open your PSE 11 and click on Windows, then Actions. Or, you can click on the “More” icon in the bottom right-hand corner, then on Actions.
A box with several tabs will pop out, opened to the Actions tab. To load/install actions look at the top right-hand corner of the box, and click on the little triangle with lines beside it. A menu will open and you click on ‘Load Actions.’
Your Windows Explorer or Mac Finder will open and you must navigate to where your actions are located. If all your actions are individual actions (that is the only way PSE actions could be made/used in previous versions), then you will have to install them one at a time.
Owners of Everyday Elements actions are in luck! In your download, I provided a Photoshop version which is one .atn file. You can load that one action file and have all the actions you had before but in a combined set. (Even though it says Photoshop, all my actions are made to play in both PSE and Photoshop.) I explain about this more in the video tutorial below.
The next image is what an action set looks like in PSE 11′s action panel. There will be a yellow folder with a triangle beside it. Click on the triangle and the actions in the set will show. To play an action simply click on the name then hit the big triangle icon in the top right-hand corner (next to the trash can icon).
If you want to install your actions so that the thumbnails show and use them the way actions were used in previous versions, you can do that too. Simply copy/paste the .atn, .png, and possibly metadata.xml files into the Photo Effects folder and restart your Photoshop Elements. Not sure of the file path to take? My previous tutorial on loading actions has file paths for both PC and Macs.
To find/use the actions, click on Effects, then Effects again, and finally the drop down menu. My actions are grouped in categories, so if you have those you will see the set names there. If you have only individual actions you need to click on Show All to see all the actions.
I really appreciate that Adobe allowed us to have the best of both worlds. If you are new to Photoshop Elements, then your action-loading experience will be much easier and painless compared to previous versions. However, if you are upgrading from an older version and want to use the thumbnails, they kept that option available to you.
Below is a 15 minute video tutorial showing how to install actions through the action panel/player and also how to install via the Photo Effects folder. If you are reading this in a blog reader or via email, click HERE to view the video.
Wondering what an action is? An action is a recording of edit steps. Someone created it in a version of Photoshop (PSE cannot record actions) and when you play it, the steps they took play out in your Layers palette of PSE. To see tips about using actions, check out this post.