Hack Attack: Adobe Actions

The Actions panel in both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop can be a life- and time-saver if you know what you’re doing. This tool can be intimidating and frustrating at times, but I’ve found some very specific and reliable uses for this tool when dealing with specific projects. For instance, when we’ve completed a branding project and it’s time to save out the client’s new logo. We will save the logo out in all of the different color combinations the logo was designed in, color formats (PMS, RGB, CMYK) and file types. This process, when manually done, can take several hours. Of course, this depends on how many variables there are, but regardless, this tool can save you so much time. Here are the steps I take:

1. Create a New Folder
First, I set up a folder on my desktop where all the files will be saved. I named my folder 00. Logo Save Out. This helps to avoid having to reset my action every time I am about to save out a logo.

2. Open Finished Logo File
Next, I open my finished logo in the desired color format, I typically begin with the PMS color format, and work my way through CMYK and then RGB after.

3. Create Your Action
When the file is open I make sure that my Swatch panel is clear of any unused color swatches first, then I’ll select the Actions Panel tool and click on the small folder icon on the bottom of the panel to “Create a New Set Folder.” A dialog box appears and asks you to name the folder; I’ve named my folder Logo Save Out. Then selecting the “Create New Action” icon. A dialog box appears and asks you to name this action. In this instance I’ve named my action Logo Save Out – PMS. Then select Record.

Now here is the tricky part: All of your mouse clicks, drags and other selections are now being recorded. So don’t do anything crazy here.

Save Your File
Select File, Save As. Name your file, I typically end my file names for logos with the appropriate color format, in this instance my file name would be something like “logo_name-PMS.” Select the appropriate file type, in this instance we would be saving the PMS logo as an Illustrator file (.ai). Select the folder you’ve created on your desktop (00. Logo Save Out) as the root folder and click Okay. Repeat this process of “Saving As” a PDF and EPS file format, then select the stop button on the actions panel. The red light should go off and you have your first set of actions to use on all of the other logo lockups in the PMS color format.

This process is easily repeatable for CMYK and RGB file formats, just make sure you adjust your logo or artworks colors to the appropriate color values first, and save those files in their appropriate file type. Also when working through your RGB and CMYK color logos make sure you are working in the appropriate Document Color Mode.

Happy saving!