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Batch Image Converter

No more manual image conversion...

Lots of people find themselves wanting to batch convert lots of images from one file type to another. Let me give you a couple of example:

You've just downloaded all the images off your digital camera, but they're in a bulky file type, and you want to E-Mail some of them to a friend, so you need to convert them all.

Or maybe you run a website, and you've got a load of image files to upload into the gallery, but they need to be converted first.

It doesn't really matter why you want to convert the images, what's important is that you know how to do it without wasting time and energy!

You see, many people spend a long time searching the internet for a program to convert lots of image files for them in one batch operation, because they don't realize that Photoshop Elements can do it! Personally, I think it's because Adobe have called the feature 'Process Multiple Files' that so many people miss it. They're looking for the word 'batch'!

Open the Batch Tool

First thing's first, open the Photoshop Elements Batch Tool. To do this, select 'File - Process Multiple Files...' from the menu.

A rather large and daunting dialog box will appear, like the one below. Don't worry though, we can ignore most of it, we only need a few small parts!

Process Multiple Files

Two Simple Steps

The batch image conversion process is very simple, consisting of just two steps. The first is to select which files are to be converted. The second is to specify the new file format for the images.

Selecting the Files

If you've already learnt about selecting files in another batch tutorial, then feel free to skip down to the section on 'Converting the Images', otherwise, read on...

Firstly, look for the top left frame titled 'Process Files From:', which is pictured below:

Select Files to Batch Rename

Here you can pick a folder for your batch operation, or use a different image source. The default item for the drop down box by the title is 'Folder'.

If you want to use a different source, change this drop down box to another value, like 'Import', 'Opened Files', or 'File Browser'.

All the options require that you to specify an output folder where the processed files will be saved to. Only the 'Folder' option allows you to select the 'Same as Source' check box however. This option will overwrite each file instead of saving it somewhere else.

Each source option is explained below:

Folder - This option allows you to run a batch process on all the files in one folder. You can also choose to process files in subfolders of the main folder. Beware though. All files, from the folder and all subfolders, will end up in the same single destination folder.

Import - This option allows you to import all the images from another document for processing, for example a pdf file.

Opened Files - This option simply processes all the documents you currently have open in Photoshop Elements. These are sometimes referred to as being in the 'Photo Bin'. This option is only available if you have at least one document open.

File Browser - This option processes all the files selected in the 'File Browser' panel. It is only available if you have the 'File Browser' panel open.

Converting the Images

Once you have selected a set of images to batch convert using one of the methods above, you need to refer to the fourth frame in the box, titled 'File Type', which is pictured below:

Batch Image Convert

First tick the box that reads 'Convert Files to'. This will enable the frame. You now need to tell Photoshop what file type you would like the new images to have.

This is pretty simple really, just pick a file type from the drop down box provided, the same as you would when saving a document normally. The options provided are shown below:

Batch Image Convert Options

The most commonly used options are PSD, BMP, GIF, JPEG, and PNG, but all kinds of formats are provided. Any format that you could save an individual document in, you can specify here.

After all the options are set, press 'Ok', and let Photoshop convert all the images for you.

A Few Cautions

One or two things must be remembered when using Photoshop Elements as a batch image converter.

Firstly, Photoshop gets the specific options for each file type from your preferences file. This means that the options you specified the last time you saved a file in this format will be used now. If you have never used this format before, the default options will be used.

Also remember that any quality degradation experienced when saving an individual file into a format, (for example the GIF format), will still apply here. You may want to check through the output images to ensure none of them are badly degraded. Sometimes an individual conversion gives you more control over 'problem images'.

Lastly, when you hit that 'Ok' button, be prepared to stop using your computer while Photoshop performs the batch convert. To save the images using a different file type, Photoshop must first open each file, and this can be quite a big operation.

You can do other things while Photoshop performs a batch image conversion, but I've found that if there are a lot of images, especially if they are large files, then it can cause Photoshop to freeze or crash, so it's best just to be patient where possible.

I hope this article's been useful to you, and that using Photoshop Elements as a batch image converter will save you lots of time and energy.

Kind Regards

Robert Redwood Robert Redwood - Bio
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