History log in Photoshop

How to use the history log feature in Photoshop CC 2018 2017 etc to list all work, all changes to images etc tutorial. Perfect for keeping track of all your work in PS

Photoshop history log

photoshop history log file tutorial
  1. Photoshop main menu / Preferences (mac) or Edit menu / preferences (PC)

  2. History Log preference in Photoshop

  3. Check the option to ON

  4. Save history log to text file (and choose location) OR metadata OR both

  5. Choose detailed or session or concise

  6. See the file just as a normal text file on the desktop etc

  7. See the metadata via the file info menu

Video tutorial on the subject by graphicxtras.com (youtube)


Not turned on by default : The Photoshop history log is not turned on by default so it must be turned on or off via the preferences. It appears to make little impact on the resources of Photoshop so you should not see any slowdown in the use of the tools or menu commands or opening files etc.


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Stores the following info : detailThe Photoshop history log file is a listing of all the changes and work done to images such as


adding brush strokes

adding paths

opening files

closing files

when you started PS

when you quit PS

and much more


Stores in a file or in metadata : metadataThe history log in Photoshop keeps track of most of the steps that you take with your tools in PS and the results are stored to a file which is either a "text file" or as "metadata" depending on the selection chosen in the preferences panel. You can save the data to metadata and you can set it to a text file (you can choose a location for that as well) and also set how much information is stored.


I prefer to store the history log / Photoshop data with the file but it will depend on you. Perhaps you prefer to see the work saved to a text file and be separate from each worked file


If you use the metadata then you can see the metadata via the file and file info and the metadata section. Useful for storing the data with the file itself (which may or may not be useful for your work)


Text file for a complete record : textThe text file option is great for saving all your work as one long stream of data but the Photoshop history log data can be a bit of an overload but you can always quickly search through the text for key phrases such as looking for tools etc You can see the quits and launches as well as tons of other information in much the same format as the metadata (surprised they didn't also include an XML format and CSV etc as I am certain some would love to have the information into Excel or Numbers).


Keep track of time spent etc : time stampThe photoshop history log is a super useful feature especially if you wish to keep track of


time spent on a project

what you have done

changes made etc for clients


Great for clients and yourself : clientThe history log in Photoshop is a handy record for yourself as well as for clients. It is also useful as a way of reminding you of the steps made during the creation of a particular piece of artwork. It is also useful as a transaction stamp on when work was done (no idea how well that would stand up in court though as the text file can be edited !)


Session data : sessionPersonally, I prefer as much information as possible to be added to the history log in Photoshop so I generally always go for detailed but I guess sessions is only useful for some projects as the information is a lot more limited especially if you are only interested in the times.


You can choose metadata option or text or both


Detailed list : There is a concise option and detailed option available


Going for the detailed option, you can see a lot of information such as the time when a file is opened (in most cases for me, a super useful untitled-1 opened) as well as a trail of information about


width of the file

the height of the file



color depth.


The feature also gives precise times for the launch and quit from the application.


Detailed and effects : blurThe Photoshop history log detailed tracking also shows the settings for effect so if you need to know the exact settings for the oil paint everything is available and some of the values and settings that are particularly not obvious from the actual dialog.


Many of the effects are well detailed but some fields have an entry such as cleanliness for the oil paint but some of the other fields have no name so in many ways, not as detailed as you would imagine. To be fair, in some areas there is a ton of information and much of it really very detailed such as JPG save information giving slicer information, file component details etc.


Adjustments and detailed : adjustmentsIf you need to know the exact details of the Photoshop adjustments then all the details are included in the history log such as without colorize, saturation, hue etc.


You can find a lot of details about the layers. Not much about the brush tools


Camera raw filter and detailed : camera rawWhen it comes to tracking all the data generated by Photoshop and fed into the history log, the camera raw filter is probably the most extreme. Camera raw filter gives a huge amount of data to the file such as

Luminance Adjust Aqua: 0,

Parametric Darks: 0,

Sharpen Detail: 25,

Transform Distortion: 0,

Constrast 2012: 73,

Camera Profile Digest, local adjustments and much more.


3D tool and detailed option : The 3D tools also add a lot of information to Photoshop history log file as well such as

3D positions

extrusion heights,

mesh positions etc.


You can learn a lot about the tools in PS just by a study of the files generated. Actually, I am surprised it does not store the time of each of the tools use.


Type and detailed view : Type details are stored in a very comprehensive way in the files and includes

Column Gutter: 0 points

First Line Alignment: Ascent, Script: 0

Open Type Baseline Position: normal,

Without Use Contextual Alternates

Desired Word Spacing Percent: 1

Minimum Glyph Scaling Percent: 1

Kinsoku Order: Push In First

Auto Leading Percentage: 1.2 etc


A lot of information is included and I guess unless you are a real type wizard, most of the info recorded to the Photoshop history log is really pretty obscure (I have no idea what Kinsoku Order is). The actual text stored is often only about six words but there is a lot of additional information added so you can also use the tracking as a way to see the text used in a particular document (though I guess it doesn't probably indicate whether the text remains or not if it has been deleted later)


Keywords : How to use the history log in Photoshop tutorial



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