How to Save Actions as Text File From Photoshop
Reasons to save actions as text fileImagine your girlfriend is calling you to explain to her how to retouch skin using Frequency Separation technique. You have recorded action for this technique with stops in between steps as reminders. Then you say: just a minute to print actions! Print actions? Your girlfriend will ask. Yes, just a second. Then you save actions and start reading basically a tutorial from text file. Your girlfriend will be amazed. Ha! Is that the whole point? Of course not, but this is one of many uses. You can do the same thing even if you are married and it is more convenient then to expand each of the steps in the Actions panel.
I will waste one more minute of your time to explain something to beginners. Recently I was asked: how to embed textures in actions? You can't, was my answer. Why—was the next question. Because actions are instructions and most of them you can read from Actions panel when step in the action is expanded. Imagine you have a piece of paper in your hand with steps or in other words step by step tutorial. You read instruction, then perform that step in Photoshop, then you read next step... Photoshop is doing similar thing but blazingly fast. That was my explanation which can help someone else to understand what are actions, at least it cannot hurt anyone.
Another reason to save actions as the text file is to check action or to learn. You can also find errors or incorrect step in action much faster.
I found this feature very useful when recording flexible actions like Split Image or Page Layouts. Although I am setting guides and everything works fine most of the time, I must check that percentage written for the right side of previous selection/path match percentage written for the left side of the next selection/path in the same row to ensure everything will work perfectly and as intended. I am also checking Bottom and Top sides between columns by the way, to minimize fails, user frustrations and long life with one of my activities: premium actions.
One more minute, please! Same person which asked me for how to embed textures in actions told me something you should bear in mind when recording actions for someone else or for distribution:
I tried free actions downloaded from internet long time ago. Most of them didn't play correctly with lots of error messages so I stopped using them.
I can confirm that many actions, especially freebies are displaying error messages without any instructions embedded (stops) or provided help files for the user. For that reason I will provide at the bottom, and in some other of my tutorials, link to probably most comprehensive and the best available free instructions starting with how to play actions to how to record them for personal use and for distribution.
How to save (Print) actions as text fileIt is very simple: select action set in the normal or recording mode, then click on Actions panel menu and choose Save Actions while holding Ctrl/Cmd + Alt keys on your keyboard.
Photoshop will open the Save As dialog where you can give a name to a text file before saving it. That's it, open text file in any text editor like Notepad, Notepad++ and so on. Note: Photoshop will save all actions sets available in the Actions panel with all actions within sets. You cannot save individual action sets. It is not a big deal because it is very easy to find what you are looking for using Find command in a text editor or move action set at the top of the Actions panel so it will be listed first in text file.