Using Photoshop to Resize Multiple Images Quickly


When sharing photos, especially via e-mail, the large resolution images that most cameras take today make for extremely large file sizes. The time required to upload these files to forums, send in e-mails, post to blogs or even placing them on a web server via ftp, can take FOREVER!

Common Situation

If you are lucky (like me), you have a large monitor and a fast Internet connection, so the wait is only a few seconds when uploading or viewing large images. But what about the monitor size and more importantly the internet connection speed of your customers, clients, friends and family? If they do not share a similar set up, which they probably do not, then they are left waiting minutes to view each picture.

But you say, “Resizing all 150 photos from our family trip will take forever”. Ah, but this is where Photoshop can help, by allowing you to resize multiple images at once and do so very easily!

What is Required

For this tutorial, I am using Photoshop CS5 Extended; however I have tested this back to Photoshop CS3 successfully and it may work on other versions as well. If you do not have Adobe Photoshop, you can download a free trial here:
Photoshop Trial Download

And of course, you will need a few images that you wish to resize.

Getting Started

Open Photoshop and select File -> Scripts -> Image Processor Image Processing Main
If you have images already opened in Photoshop, then the option “Use Open Images” will be available next to [b][i]Step #1[/b][/i].  Image Processing Main MenuWe are going to assume you want convert a folder full of images, so you want to click the “Select Folder…” button. Then navigate to the folder you want. Note: there is an option to include all sub-folders, which is great if you have a folder structure such as:

Vacation (as the main folder) with sub folders:
    Car Trip
    Disney Land
    Boat Trip

Then you can resize all of these at once.

[b][i]Step #2[/b][/i] - Next we want to select our save location, which is where the new resized images will be placed.

We have a few options available:

Save in Same Location: Will create a folder called JPEG (or whatever file output type you select in step 3 below) within the folder you selected above. If Car Trip is selected, then inside folder Car Trip, a folder called JPEG will be created.

Keep folder structure (check box): Will retain the folder structure in the “Select Folder…”, so that sub folders remain intact. This is helpful when converting one large “image folder” that has many subfolders, especially if the file names are similar. Otherwise, you are going to end up with one large “output” folder and no organization within it.

Select Folder: Allows you to select a different folder altogether to save the images in. This is very useful if you are taking images from across many folders and want to combine them into one for distributing. You can take your Vacation, Home and Birthday photos (all from unique folders, by repeating this process for each input folder) and put the resized images into a “blog – resized” folder so that you can post from here.

The following image shows the pop-up file select menu which is utilized for both the "Select the images to process" and "Select location to save processed images" folder selection.

Selecting Folders
Additional Options

[b][i]Step #3[/b][/i] – File Output Type. Three options are provided, including JPEG, PSD and TIFF, simply check the box next to the file type you wish to utilize.

For distributing these files for web posting, to attach/send in email or for general printing purposes, the JPEG format is probably your best solution (Adobe – JPEG, 2010). Basically all computers will be able to view this file format so you will not run into issues of “I can’t open what you sent me”.

I generally recommend a “Quality” setting of 10 for “average use”, however if quality is of importance, you can opt for the highest “Quality” setting, which is 12. For this example I am going to resize the images to a width (W:) of 800 px (pixels) by (H:) 600 px (pixels), which is a great size for posting and quick email distribution.

Also, there is a Convert to sRGB option, which stands for “safe Red Green Blue”. RGB, without the “safeguard”, was a problem when monitors and graphics cards lacked the ability to produce and display correctly the billions of colors that are possible in “True Color” or 32-bit color depth. Today, this is less of an issue, thus we can leave this box unchecked and allow the “full” available color of our images to be utilized.

If you are converting files that are you actively working on within Photoshop (ie, you plan to do additional edits or want to keep layers separated) then you can opt for the PSD format (Adobe – PSD, 2010). With the PSD format you are given the option to “maximize compatibility” which codes the image so that older version of Photoshop have a better chance of opening and being able to edit the image. If you are the only once using the image or will not be sharing the PSD files with someone who has a prior version to your own, you do not need to check this box.

The third option is the TIFF file type, this is of file is very flexible and is used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms (Adobe - TIFF, 2010).

[b][i]Step #4[/b][/i] – Preferences, provides a few advanced options.

You can run an “action”, which includes the following:

Vignette (Selection)
Frame Channel
Wood Frame
Cast Shadow
Water Reflection
Custom RGB to Grayscale
Molten Lead
Make Clip Path
Sepia Toning
Quadrant Colors
Save as Photoshop PDF
Gradient Map

Note: The above options are mostly suited for graphics professionals that wish to stage a large number of images with the above actions prior to performing other work on those images.

A great time saver when having to put copyright information into a large number of files is to run them through the image processor and simply input your copyright data into the “Copyright Info:” box. All images will receive this data, in this example I have inputted the copyright information as “Test Copyright Data”
Copyright Data Test  

Also, we have the option to include the ICC Profile or not. By checking this box, the color profile is embedded and thus saved with the file.

Execute It!

Select Run to execute the Image processor. If you have a large number of files, go and get yourself a cup of coffee as this can take a few minutes to process. It is at least 100 times faster than doing it by hand, where you open a file, resize the image, then “save as”, close that image and go to the next!

So How Did It Work?

Attached (see end of article) are examples of the file before and after resizing. Here a brief comparsion of the dimensions and actual file sizes.

Ferrari - Large (Original was 4944 px by 3386 px and 896 KB)
Ferrari - Resized 800x600 (Now 800 px by 548 px and only 306 KB, a 65.8% reduction in file size)

Facade - Large (Original was 4096 px by 3072 px and 1.21 MB)
Facade - Resized 800x600 (Now 800 px by 600 px and only 585 KB, a 51.7% reduction in file size)

Flower - Large (Original was 6000 px by 4695 px and 2.71 MB)
Flower - Resized 800x600 (Now 767 px by 600 px and only 415 KB, a 84.7% reduction in file size)

Saving and Loading Preferences

After you have configured the Image Processor in the above steps, you can save these settings to an .xml file and then load them later. You may want to create a few different setups such as:

To Print: 1600 x 1200 TIFF
To Blog: 1200 x 800 JPEG
Quick Email: 800 x 600 JPEG

Note: For advanced users, you can navigate to your saved .xml file and open them in a text editor to make changes on the fly, without having to use the Image Processor menu. The following is what Photoshop saved for my “To Blog: 1200 x 800 JPEG” settings:
                      	<source>C:\Users\Desktop\EE - Articles\Photoshop - Resize Images\Large Images</source>
                      	<dest>C:\Users\Desktop\EE - Articles\Photoshop - Resize Images\Large Images</dest>
                      	<actionset>Default Actions</actionset>
                      	<action>Vignette (selection)</action>
                      	<info>Test Copyright Data</info>

Open in new window

Other Uses

Websites – Such as resizing employee photos for a “meet our team page”

Animation – Resizing a folder (or folders) of images to make a cartoon or other “motion” based animation time line.

There are many other applications, I am sure you will think of them, but only if this solution is on your mind!


Now when someone asks you to email or post those pictures you just took, you do not have to grimace in pain at the thought of resizing 275 images from the family bar-b-q.


Adobe – JPEG. (2010). Adobe Photoshop CS5 * JPEG format. Retrieved from

Adobe – PSD. (2010). Adobe Photoshop CS5 * Photoshop format (PSD). Retrieved from

Adobe – TIFF. (2010). Adobe Photoshop CS5 * tiff. Retrieved from

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