Export groups to files in Photoshop

Published on June 30th, 2011

At this point the latest version of Photoshop (CS5) only offers to export layers to files. If you’re using groups (folders) in Photoshop there’s no option available to export those.

Use the following script to export all groups to high quality .png files. Copy the script below or download the script directly.

#target photoshop
function main(){
if(!documents.length) return;
var doc = activeDocument;
var oldPath = activeDocument.path;
for(var a=0;a<doc .layerSets.length;a++){
activeDocument.activeLayer = activeDocument.layers.getByName(doc.layerSets[a].name);
var saveFile= File(oldPath +"/"+doc.layerSets[a].name +".png");
function dupLayers() { 
    var desc143 = new ActionDescriptor();
        var ref73 = new ActionReference();
        ref73.putClass( charIDToTypeID('Dcmn') );
    desc143.putReference( charIDToTypeID('null'), ref73 );
    desc143.putString( charIDToTypeID('Nm  '), activeDocument.activeLayer.name );
        var ref74 = new ActionReference();
        ref74.putEnumerated( charIDToTypeID('Lyr '), charIDToTypeID('Ordn'), charIDToTypeID('Trgt') );
    desc143.putReference( charIDToTypeID('Usng'), ref74 );
    executeAction( charIDToTypeID('Mk  '), desc143, DialogModes.NO );
function SavePNG(saveFile){
var pngOpts = new ExportOptionsSaveForWeb; 
pngOpts.format = SaveDocumentType.PNG
pngOpts.PNG8 = false; 
pngOpts.transparency = true; 
pngOpts.interlaced = false; 
pngOpts.quality = 100;
activeDocument.exportDocument(new File(saveFile),ExportType.SAVEFORWEB,pngOpts); 

How to use this script

Copy the script and save it as a .jsx file (ExtendScript Script) anywhere on your system. In Photoshop go to the following menu item: File > Scripts > Browse… Now select the .jsx file in the file browser. Photoshop will now start exporting all your groups to files. It will save the files in the directory the .psd is located in.

Known limitations

  • Empty groups give back an error message and stop the exporting proces.
  • Not tested below Photoshop version CS5 (might work in lower versions).

Let me know if you find this script useful or if you run into any problems.

Reader Comments (51)

trza http://trza.us

August 15th, 2011

this is excellent but what about if you have nested groups? that’s my problem :

for example http://gyazo.com/6ff5c1fa48658a0c8c8a8c514a01b5cd.png

also nice clean site 🙂

Damien van Holten http://www.damienvanholten.com

August 17th, 2011

@trza I actually don’t know any way to handle nested groups. If I ever find out I’ll be sure to blog about it though.

Murid Rahhal

August 21st, 2011

Works great in CS4 too. Great stuff!

Worley bird http://wbirdcreative.com

April 6th, 2012

Having issues in CS5.

Error 8800: General Photoshop error occurred. This functionality may not be available in this version of Photoshop.
– The command “Make” is not currently available.
Line: 26
-> executeAction( charIDToTypeID(‘Mk ‘), desc143, DialogModes.NO );

Ika http://ikablog.com/

April 30th, 2012

Useful info Damien.
also beautiful nice site.

Matt http://www.matttrostle.com

May 6th, 2012

Worked in CS3 too! Thanks so much!!

Tomek Cejner http://www.japko.net/

June 7th, 2012

Thanks for helpful thing! I have tinkered a little with your script and added support for nested layer groups, and ability to export of single layers as well.

You can find it here: https://gist.github.com/2892034

I hope you are okay with this – you were of course credited.


August 28th, 2012

The script from Tomek doesn’t work. Photoshop freezes for a half minute, makes an ‘out’ folder but puts nothing in it. 🙁


August 28th, 2012

About the original script. THANKS!!!

If i want to export nested groups, i just CTRL-click on the groups i want, right click duplicate layers to a new document, then run the script. Make sure each group has a different name. Works great!

King Arthur http://appcamelot.com

October 13th, 2012

Responding to Worley bird and anyone else that gets Error 8800 – The command “Make” is not currently available.

Make sure that the layers and groups that you are exporting are all visible and the error will go away!


October 24th, 2012

The script works great but adds a white background to every file.? (Even though the script clearly says activeDocument.trim(TrimType.TRANSPARENT,true,true,true,true);) Help?

Henry http://telbak.com

December 7th, 2012

what about if i want to save as psd?

Travis W http://www.travisvideo.com

December 12th, 2012

Holy crap I can’t believe that worked.

@Patrick – I just ran the script with no background and everything exported transparent.


January 9th, 2013

Thanks. This saved me a ton of time!! Thank You!

Fahad http://digitalexperts.net

January 23rd, 2013

simply want to say thanks. It is a awesome script, has made my work lot easier.

Csaba http://mynewsociallife.blogspot.hu/

January 27th, 2013

Thanks. And thanks again. Saved my life 🙂 I’ve got a PSD, with 800 groups / 1900 layers. And need each of them. Thanks again 🙂


February 10th, 2013

Thanks! It saved me a lot of times to save 35 icons!


February 22nd, 2013

Really really really thank you!

It worked perfectly! You saved my day.


hannes http://hannesdelbeke.blogspot.be

March 7th, 2013

thx a lot !!

Christopher Mathews http://www.designs2day.com

March 15th, 2013

Awesome work… Its working, Thank you!

Have a Blessed Day


March 27th, 2013

I ve used it on CS6, and it works perfectly, and it respect the names of the groups too!
thx a lot!!!


April 24th, 2013

Thank you so much. You wouldn’t believe how much timed this script has saved me!

WSetyo http://wsetyo.com

April 25th, 2013

Thanks alot!
It saved me a lot of times to export 60 groups!

what about if i want to save as jpeg files?


April 29th, 2013

Wow the script is awesome…but i have some layers and background which is common for all the groups that is outside the folder and i want the output along with those layers too… HELP ME!!!!

cutlier http://gcgraphics.net

June 13th, 2013

This is totally awesome!!!! Thanks!


June 29th, 2013

Anyone know why I would be getting
Error 8103: Document has not yet been saved
“Line: 5 -> var oldPath = activeDocument.path;”

The document *has* been saved.

July 4th, 2013

YOU SIR! Rock.


July 5th, 2013

It works !
but I want to save the document size not the image size.
what about it?

Thanks again


July 9th, 2013

Thank you so much for this! you safed my a**! i aleready thought i have to export 400 grouped images manually!

with kind regards from berlin


July 23rd, 2013

Worked great in CS4. Do not leave any groups with nothing in them, saving an image that is 100% transparent throws an error. This is going to be a life saver on my current project.

So i finally didn’t get it. I have different Folders and Layers, so i wanna like to have these Layers called with a Prefix like ‘S03’ then ‘_’ and after that the Folder name and the Layername so if i have 2 Folders with each contains 2 Layers “S03_examplefolder1_examplelayer1” “S03_examplefolder1_examplelayer2” “S03_examplefolder2_examplelayer1” “S03_examplefolder2_examplelayer2”. Which Script should i take?


September 5th, 2013

Brrrrrm! Zap! Pow! Done!
Works like a charm here (CS6).
Thank you for that!


September 19th, 2013

Freakin awesome man!


October 1st, 2013

I got:

Line: 1
-> {rtf1ansiansicpg1252cocoartf1187cocoasubrtf390


October 23rd, 2013

Awesome script. Worked perfectly. It basically turns on each group/folder and saves it out as a PNG. Awesome.

Pascal http://www.arteactive.com

October 23rd, 2013

Hi nice script, but when I open it it says:

Error 8103: the document has not yet been saved
-> var oldPath = actuveDocument.path;


November 8th, 2013

…excellent, but any way of giving the crop/uncrop option similar to export layers as files?

Oswaldo Mendoza http://oswaldomendoza.com

January 10th, 2014

Thank you. Works like a charm on CS6.

Christine Rosas

January 13th, 2014

….and it still works like a charm in 2014!!! woohoo! Thanks for saving me a ton of work! 🙂

Erik Boman http://www.wanderingmind.net

January 23rd, 2014

Perfect – thanks!

Ryan Terry http://ryanterry.net

January 24th, 2014

I get this error when using the script (CS6). Any ideas?

Line: 1
-> {rtf1ansiansicpg1252cocoartf1187cocoasubrtf400

Lukas K. http://www.formlos-berlin.de

January 27th, 2014

I can confirm it still works like a charm in Photoshop CC and I wrote a little modification. My script exports all groups to Photoshop *.psd files: http://www.formlos-berlin.de/allgemein/photoshop-skript-alle-gruppen-einzeln-als-psd-speichern/

Maybe this is usefull for someone 🙂 Keep up the good work – greetings from Berlin!

Thelle Kristensen http://www.thelle.dk

February 5th, 2014

This script has been so useful to me! I’d like to share it – what license should I state on it? (MIT license?) Will of course credit you for it!

Leon Roy http://www.leonroy.com

February 5th, 2014

Top banana, this worked brilliantly!

Narciso http://www.narcisocarlos.com

February 13th, 2014

This worked like magic. CS5.

Thanks to the author 🙂


February 17th, 2014

Amazing script. Works like magic. Well you have to be mindful of what characters you add to group name.


February 24th, 2014

Thanks, this is great script.
And howbout if I want export the groups as tif format, is it possible to modify the code??

Sathyan Velumani http://sathyanvelumani.com

March 14th, 2014

Thank you!! Saved a lot of time..

loothi http://triffid.org

March 18th, 2014

Any idea how I can do exactly this but leave the background layer (and therefore canvas size etc) on each exported png? Something like activeDocument.backgroundLayer.visible = true;
Ta muchly.


March 24th, 2014

It works for cc,too. This is so awesome for story boarding!

WPcustoms http://www.wpcustoms.net

May 6th, 2014

I’m playing around with it for a while and changed it to save psds. That works great but clipping path and alpha channels are gone. Anybody got an idea how to keep them?

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