Photoshop has a history feature that allows you to review what steps you’ve taken in the current file. It’s useful for when you need to check what effect you’ve applied or anything else you’ve done. Everything from a simple copy/paste to moving objects around is there. What few people know is that you can also save Photoshop file history to a text file in Photoshop.
It’s not enabled by default and Photoshop writes to the same file so you might have to work with that a bit. This works on both Mac and Windows.
Save Photoshop File History
Open Photoshop and go to Edit>Preferences. Go to the History Log tab on the preferences window. Enable the ‘History log’ option. Once it’s enabled, the other options on the tab will become active.
Select the ‘Text File’ option under Save Log Items To, and select where you want to save the file to.
Next, decide how much detail the log file should have. If you stick to the ‘Sessions Only’ option, it will only record which files you open, close, and which ones you save.
This is what it looks like. If you often forget which files you were working with, this information is going to be really useful.
If you need more details in the log file, open the Edit log items dropdown and select the Detailed or Concise option. Both will include the steps you executed in the Photoshop file. The Detailed option will obviously give you more details on what you did while the Concise option gives you the steps but not in a lot of detail.
Now the question is how to work with the log file when every single file’s log will be written to it. What you can do is manually move the log file after you close one file and open another. This is of course going to be ridiculously tedious because every time you edit the file, a new log file be created and you’re going to have to move it. You will also have to keep track of all log files that are for a particular Photoshop file.
On the flip side, you can easily keep work from each session separate with the log files. If you keep the same log file, it will not overwrite any history. You will just have a really, really long, unmanageable log file to go through. That said, you can use the Find function and narrow down log entries by file name if you name the files properly.
You will still be able to view history inside Photoshop.