I have a big image and I need to make tens of small screenshots out of it with different sizes and aspect ratios (screenshots are only a small part of the big image that I need to select, all sizes are known and won't change). I figured out how to automate 1 screenshot but don't know how to make them all in one batch.

Lets say I need 100x120px, 250x80px and 20x20px screenshots. How I would like it to work:

  1. Launch action.
  2. It will switch to rectangular marquee tool with 100x120 ratio and wait for me to select screenshot area. (How?)
  3. After selecting, it will copy that part, resize to 100x120px and save it. (I know this part)
  4. Switch to next 250x80 ratio and continue from step #2 until done.

I am having trouble with #2. How to make Photoshop stop and wait for user input? Also changing marquee ratio is not getting recorded by actions, how can I record it so it will switch to this ratio automatically before me selecting rectangle area? (I am using CS4).

  • I checked and it won't let you set that to user setting. :(
    – RCIX
    Sep 3, 2009 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


The solution to this is Photoshop scritping. See this. [basic CS4 and CS3 scripting is similiar]

I know that it can be done in Photoshop, but as I am myself new to scripting, I cannot be more useful :(


I'm not super-familiar with Photoshop's actions (I've used them a few times, but always basic).

However, looking at ShutterFreaks.com "How to use Photoshop Actions", it looks like you should be able to click the rectangle to the left of your "select screenshot area" step to have the action stop for user input.

A Simple Example

For a (very) simple example, let's assume that you want to record an action that will resize a landscape-oriented photo for the web and sharpen it. Let's assume that you always want your photos to be 600 pixels wide, but that you want to control the amount of sharpening for each photo.

  1. First, open a photo to work on.
  2. If you don't want to put this action in an existing action set, create a new one (in this case, "PrepareForWeb").
  3. Start recording your action (in this case, "LandscapePhotos").
  4. From the main menu, use "Image/Image Size" to resize the photo and then use "Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask" to sharpen it.
  5. Stop recording.

Your action now looks like this. Unfortunately, it always sharpens the same amount, and you wanted to be able to control the amount of sharpening for each photo.

User Input

Here's where that rectangle to the left of the Unsharp Mask step will help. After recording an action Click the rectangle to the left of the Unsharp Mask step to put an icon in it, and the next time you run the action, it will show you the Unsharp Mask dialog, where you can set the amount of sharpening.

Notice that clicking the rectangle put a dark-framed icon beside the Unsharp Mask step, and it also put red-framed icons beside the action name and the action set name. A red-framed icon means that some, but not all, of the steps inside an action or action set will stop for user input.

  • Thanks. The problem is that switching to marquee tool and setting selection ratio is not recordable action and there is no form with settings to enter (they are entered in menu toolbar). It records only selection result itself.
    – serg
    Sep 3, 2009 at 20:13

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