How to use the history log in Photoshop tutorial

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 (youtube)


The feature 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 PS so you should not see any slowdown in the use of the tools or menu commands or opening files etc


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The file is a listing of all the changes and work done to images such as


1) adding brush strokes

2) adding paths

3) opening files

4) closing files

5) when you started PS

6) when you quit PS etc.


It 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.


The photoshop history log is a super useful feature especially if you wish to keep track of

1) work

2) time spent on a project

3) what you have done

4) changes made etc for clients


This 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 !)


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.


Personally, I prefer as much information as possible so I generally always go for detailed but I guess sessions only is 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


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)


The text file option is great for saving all your work as one long stream of data but the 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).


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


1) width of the file

2) the height of the file

3) resolution

4) fill

5) color depth.


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


If you need to know the exact details of the PS adjustments then all the details are there such as without colorize, saturation, hue etc.


You can find a lot of details about the layers.


Sadly, it is a little vague when it comes to details about the brush tool (to be fair, what would it add there as the data would fill pages and pages with pixel data) as well as the pen tool (a little more surprising as I would assume that the tracking would store the path details and anchor points etc). 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.


When it comes to tracking, 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.


The 3D tools also add a lot of information to 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.


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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 it 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)


So I would definitely recommend that you set the option to ON and store the details of your work. The files are not that large and the data may be of use especially as a trail for work (perhaps for legal reasons as well as accounting)


Keywords : How to use the history log in Photoshop tutorial


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