PI6 Make a Macro

Quick Command PanelHave you ever found yourself doing the same series of PI commands over and over again, and wished there was a faster and easier way to do things?  Well, there is! One of the under-appreciated gems of PhotoImpact is the Quick Command Panel. Like the EasyPalette, it allows you to automate frequently performed tasks. 

The Quick Command Panel's Task tab comes loaded with a number of preset effects, but you can add your own custom tasks. Much like the "macros" you are used to in word processing programs,  the Quick Command Panel lets you record and play a "macro" for a customized sequence of actions. What's more, you can Export these tasks (.TSK file extension) so that others can Import them into their own Quick Command Panels and use them too. 

In this tutorial I'll show you how to create tasks in the Quick Command Panel, and Export them to a folder on your hard drive. I'll also show you how to Import one or all of the 8 tasks I've created so that you can use them yourself. (Download ZIP file with PI6 Tasks).

Let's start by creating a task that all of us with digital cameras are probably weary of performing, rotating an image 90 degrees to the right. Here's the photo as it comes out of the camera --  my Vicky with the first snowball she's ever seen! You can use my photo or one of your own, but you must have an image open in the work space that needs to be rotated 90 degrees right in order to record the task.

picture as seen off the disk

(Photo Shown at Reduced Size)

To access the Quick Command Panel, you have several choices, among them: (1) Hit Ctrl+F2; (2) Choose View, Toolbars & Panels, Quick Command Panel; or (3) Click the Layout button and choose Quick Command Panel. Click the "Task menu commands" icon (arrow) and choose New.

Quick Command Panel, New Task

When you get the New dialog box, give the task a name, e.g, "Rotate 90 Degrees Right," and add a brief description (optional).

Click Record to begin recording the task. From now on, any commands and keystrokes you make will be included in the task.

Name the new task

Choose Edit, Rotate & Flip, Rotate Right 90 Degrees. The image will be rotated so that it is aligned properly now. Click the Stop button (arrow) in the Quick Command Panel to stop recording.

Click Stop button to stop recording

Now that you've recorded the task, test it by right clicking on the image and choosing Undo. It will return to its unrotated, original state. Select the Rotate Right 90 Degrees task from the "Show all existing tasks" dropdown list. Click the Play button (arrow). 

Select task, click Play button to apply

The image will be rotated 90 degrees to the right again. 

rotated image

In the future, any time you need to rotate an image in this manner, all you have to do is select the task and click the Play button. If you have a disk full of 8-12 digital photos and several of them need rotating, you can imagine how handy this will be. 

Now that you've created a task, you might want to share it with others. To do so, click the "Task menu commands" icon and select Task Manager. When the Task Manager dialog box opens, make sure that the "Rotate Right 90 Degrees" task is selected, and click the Export button. 

Task Manager

Doing so opens the Save As dialog box. Save the task to a folder on your hard drive. Note that the file is automatically saved with Ulead's proprietary file extension for tasks, .TSK.

Export task to folder

If someone shares their PI tasks with you and you want to add them to your Quick Command Panel, it is easy to Import the tasks. Click on the "Task menu commands" icon and select Task Manager. When the Task Manager opens, select Import. Doing so will open the Load dialog box. Browse to the desired task (e.g., Rotate Right 90 Degrees) and click Open.

Load dialog box to Import task

You'll be returned to the Task Manager. Click Close to close the dialog box. The Imported task will appear in the Quick Command Panel's "Task menu commands" dropdown list.

Most likely you can think of several tasks that you'd like to automate by creating a macro. I've made 8 of them that you can Import from my PI6 Tasks ZIP file. They include:

Rotate Right 90 Degrees
Rotate Left 90 Degrees
Flip Horizontally
Flip Vertically
Format, Dimensions, 25% and Focus
Copy, Edit, Paste, As a New Image, Merge
Image Optimizer Save as Standard Optimized, 90% JPG
My favorite Snow Particle preset for Snowglobes

My hope is that once people discover how easy and rewarding it is to make their own customized tasks in the Quick Command Panel, they will share them with others just like we already share PI presets and objects.

The Quick Command Panel has a very handy and powerful feature, Batch Task, which lets you apply a task to an entire folder full of images.  For example, if you have a folder full of digital photos and they all need rotating, you can click the "Task menu commands" icon and choose Batch Task. Doing so opens the Batch Task dialog box.

Batch Task dialog box

Select the "Rotate Right 90 Degrees" task to apply it to every image in a folder. Browse to a Source folder and if you want to limit the task to certain file types only, select one from the Type dropdown list. Select "Include all subfolders" if you want to apply the task to subfolders too. The selection of a destination for the images is very important. You can choose to have them open in the work space, to Save and close them right in their original folder (which means that you lose the images in their original state) or you can Save to a designated folder and close (best choice if you want to preserve the original images).

Finally, don't forget about the Cache tab, which simply lists your most recent commands. To keep a recently applied command in the Cache, click on the box next to it to "lock" it. You'll see a lock icon. 

Cache Tab

Locked tasks will remain in the Cache instead of cycling out. To apply a task from the Cache, just click on it.

This tutorial uploaded 12/08/00

Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.



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