Why and How to Display Photoshop Actions in Button Mode

Why and How to Display Photoshop Actions in Button Mode

One of the lesser-known features of the Actions panel in Photoshop is the ability to display actions in button mode. There is also an option to colorize buttons that makes an excellent combination for beginners and those who like clickable buttons and colorized options.

In this tutorial, I will explain to you why and how to turn Photoshop actions into clickable colorized buttons in the Actions panel.

Why use button mode

The very first thing is to explain what is button mode. Button mode will display all actions available in the Actions panel as clickable buttons. Instead of selecting action than clicking on the Play button you need to click button only once to play action. Shorter and sweater, isn't it?

One of the very first questions which need an answer is why use button mode? What is wrong with the traditional way? Nothing is wrong, button mode is a faster way of playing actions because it needs fewer clicks. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages of turning actions into buttons which you should know before using that option.

Advantages of button mode

  • A faster way to play actions, only one click.
  • Beginners can not make mistake like to start playing from the selected step in action.
  • Buttons can be colorized for easier recognition.

Disadvantages of button mode. Keep in mind that conversion between button mode and the classic view is instant without any penalty.

  • You can not customize action in button mode. Some customization options which are not available in button mode: 
  • The range of selected steps can not be played in button mode.
  • When action stop playing because some error you won't see problematic step highlighted, instead button will be marked using light red color. To see problematic step highlighted revert to normal mode.

Problematic step in photoshop action will be highlighted in button mode
When playing action with error in execution that step won't be highlighted, instead Photoshop will highlight button using light red color. To see problematic step expanded revert to normal view.

How to enable/disable button mode

It is very easy to enable/disable button mode using the Actions panel menu. If you are using button mode regularly consider assigning keyboard shortcuts to speed conversion between modes using Keyboard Shortcuts dialogue.

Here are the steps to turn on/off button mode using the Actions panel menu:

  • Display Window > Actions panel.
  • Click on Actions panel menu then select Button Mode.
  • To disable button mode click again on Button Mode to disappear check-mark.

Display actions in button mode
You are only two clicks away to display actions in button mode.

How to colorize actions/buttons

To colorize actions in button mode you must switch to normal mode display. Here is how to assign a color to any action:

  • Select action in the Actions panel.
  • Double click on the right side of the action to display Action Options dialogue. Another way is to select action then go to Actions panel menu > Action Options.
  • Choose a color from the Color drop-down list.
  • Click OK to confirm and exit.
Colorize actions in button mode
To colorize actions or buttons in button mode you must be in normal view.

Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop 2020 (version 21.0.2)


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