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Photoshop Scripts and Extensions to Improve Your Workflow

Michael Tri

By Michael Tri

Interactive Designer


Design Productivity

June 17, 2014

Adjusting and improving workflow efficiency in Photoshop is a breeze with the ample amount of user-created scripts, actions, and extensions available online. For my design workflow within Photoshop, I have borrowed a concept from software engineering, “Don’t Repeat Yourself.” As often as possible, I am always looking to further optimize my workflow by automating simple and repetitive tasks that disrupt the flow of my design iteration.

These are a few of my favorite scripts and extensions that I use daily to streamline my process in Photoshop:


If Photoshop has any limitations, it is within the realm of guides and grid management. Dragging out guides into a grid is a time consuming and imprecise headache. GuideGuide fixes this. You can input measurements and generate a grid in an instant and then save your grid as a grid set for later use as well.

Create Smart Objects From Active Layers

Working nondestructively is a must and creating smart objects has always been the way to go for applying transformations to a layer or set of layers nondestructively. Photoshop’s built-in functionality creates a single smart object from all selected layers or layer groups. But, what if you want to create individual smart objects from the selected layers and layer groups? You have to repeatedly select and convert each layer independently. This script allows you to quickly accomplish this without all of that repetitive input.

Expand Smart Object

Ever need to expand a smart object back to its original layers? Currently, doing this in Photoshop requires opening the smart object and then duplicating the layers back into the document where the smart object was. This script quickly executes those steps on any selected smart object.

Layers Renamer

Ever find yourself renaming multiple layers in Photoshop by double clicking each layer you need to rename and typing the same thing over and over? With this script you can append to, prepend to, or replace the layer names of all selected layers quickly and easily.

Layer Rename as Filename

This one requires the small extra step of activating in the Script Events Manager, but it is worth it. With this script, the semantically worthless “Background” layer that every flat image has when first opened is automatically converted to an editable layer and renamed with the filename.

Layer Groups to Layer Comps

Routinely, I like to keep multiple versions of images or design concepts within the same PSD for easy access, management, and export. This script allows me to quickly convert layer groups within a PSD to layer comps for easy renaming, switching on and off, and exporting. If exporting, combining this script with the following Layer Comps to Files script makes exporting multiple files from a single PSD much faster.

Layer Comps to Files

This script, which comes with Photoshop, allows you to quickly export all layer comps into the file type of your choice. Paired with the above script, it allows you to quickly export all design concepts in a PSD as images. I prefer to use an altered version of the script that exports JPGs using Photoshop’s Save For Web settings to save even more steps in my exporting process.

Other Resources

My go-to source for plugins, scripts, and extensions for not just Photoshop, but all Adobe suite software, is Photoshoplr, a Tumblr made just for this stuff. It’s always a pleasure to scroll through this blog and find something that I didn’t know I needed.

What do you use?

What are your favorite scripts and extensions for Photoshop? Have any awesome resources for Photoshop? Comment below!

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