The latest Photoshop Elements free action from Texas Chicks sneaks a simple but useful full Photoshop feature right in the back door of PSE.

The trim command removes unused pixels at the edge of your images, so that your file size is only as big as it needs to be.  This is useful more for bloggers and scrappbookers – you won’t use it on a single photo, only collages or groups of images and graphics.

In full Photoshop, it looks like the screen shot below.  In PSE, you will access it through your Effects Panel (Elements 7-10), or your Action Panel (Elements 11).

TRIM screen shot

Scrapbookers and bloggers often make new files that contain graphics, photos, or a combination of both.  When I do this, I generally start by estimating how big the file should be because I don’t know exactly.  After I complete the layout, I trim off the edges to make sure the file isn’t bigger than it needs to be.

This happens usually for me when I am making graphics and screen shots for my blog posts.  But I will use a scrapbooking-type example below, since I bet more of you are scrapbookers.

Say I want to create an (admittedly silly) layout that contains an image with a caption and an embellishment.  I know that the photo is a 4×6, so I need the file to be 6 inches tall.  And the width should be four plus something.  I don’t know how many inches wide the embellishment and caption will be, so I estimate 8 inches and create a new file that is 12 inches wide by 6 tall.

With the graphics in it, it looks like this – lots of extra space on the sides.

  trim pre trim

 

After applying the trim action, Photoshop cuts off the extra pixels precisely.  Yes, I could crop it with the crop tool, but Trim is quicker and more precise.

 

post trim 2

Trim works by reading either from the top left corner of your image, or from the bottom right corner.  You have an action for each option.  It looks for transparent pixels, or pixels of a solid color, in the corner that you choose.  It trims off those transparent or solid color pixels, leaving you left with only the important stuff.  This makes for graphics that fit your blog or scrapbook without covering up other elements or taking up too much memory.

So how do you get this free action for Photoshop Elements?  You need to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.  This is the newsletter that goes out every Friday with a series of articles in it, not the RSS email that comes out each time I post to my blog.  If you are a weekly newsletter subscriber, look on the right side of your newsletter for the words “Download  Free Actions Here.”

If you don’t subscribe to this newsletter, subscribe here.  After confirming your subscription, you will receive an email with all my free actions, including this one.  And what if you are a subscriber but missed some actions?  Unsubscribe and the re-subscribe.  You will receive an email after re-subscribing with all the free actions.

This free action set works in Elements 7 and up.