How to run Photoshop Actions from Lightroom using Droplets

Lightroom is not designed to be a file browser, so it doesn’t work quite like Bridge, but this doesn’t mean it’s not possible to still link the two. The workaround involves creating a droplet in Photoshop from an existing action, and then telling Lightroom to run the droplet once it’s exported the images.

To Create a Droplet

1. In Photoshop, you need to have already created an action, and if you are going to run this on jpegs, it must include a Save As to set the jpeg compression. (When running the Save As while recording the action, just hit Ok without changing the file name or location, and choose your compression rate).

2. Go to File > Automate > Create Droplet and this dialog will appear:
Create Droplet

3. Save your droplet somewhere safe with a logical name, and make sure you’ve set the save location to Save and Close, and tick the ‘override save location’ box. Click Ok to create your droplet.


Add the Droplet to Lightroom

4. Open Lightroom, select a file, and go to Export. At the bottom of the dialog you will see ‘After Export’ dropdown. Click ‘Go to Export Actions Folder’ and drop a shortcut to your droplet in the folder which appears. Close the Export dialog box.

Export Actions


5. When you reopen the Export dialog box to export your images from Lightroom, your droplet will appear in that ‘After Export’ dropdown.

6. Export your images from Lightroom, with your new droplet selected, and once the images have finished exporting, they will automatically run your action.

You can also use droplets to save to another location – you don’t have to save over the top. See how many droplet ideas you can come up with!

This information was previously published on my main website at



4 Responses to How to run Photoshop Actions from Lightroom using Droplets

  1. ZUNI says:

    can i create this droplet, run the export function with the action set on lightroom and have it so that it doesn’t open photoshop to save, but rather it saves and closes automatically? when i created the action as well as the droplet, it has save and close functions on it. thanks!

  2. Hi Zuni

    You can get it to Save and Close without asking you for a jpeg quality, if you follow the instructions above.

    It does have to open each file in Photoshop though, in order the run the action and resave the file. – VB

  3. Toney says:

    I’ve used your instructions to create this in PS CS1 and LR 1.4. I’ve since upgraded to PS CS3 and LR 2 but I can’t get it to work. My action works in PS when I run it manually but when I use the droplet in LR it just opens up PS but doesn’t run the action. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

  4. Hi Toney

    It sounds like the droplet is at fault. You can check by dropping files directly onto the droplet – that was the original idea behind droplets.

    I’d recreate the droplet using CS3 and that’ll probably do the trick. – VB

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