January 09, 2010

Feedback, please: The “Replace Files” dialog in Save for Web

Moving Photoshop from Apple’s Carbon to Cocoa technologies is an enormously long endeavor with many subtleties. The process makes us consider certain functional changes, and for technical reasons not worth elaborating on here, we’re thinking of dropping the Save for Web sub-dialog that lets one choose which files on disk to replace. (Here’s a screenshot.)
We’re not taking about dropping all of Save for Web, obviously–just about making a file replacement operation all-or-nothing. If you chose to export a sliced PSD, selected “Images And HTML,” and replaced the HTML file Photoshop generates, all the images would be automatically replaced.
If that would be a problem for you (i.e. if you’re slicing up images, then saving & electing to replace only some of the files), please speak up. Otherwise, it’s done.

Posted by John Nack at 1:37 PM on January 09, 2010


  • keith — 3:04 PM on January 09, 2010

    Its not a feature I use, but there’s always others who do. Great to survey us to get a sense how important various features on the chopping block are for others.

  • James Darknell — 3:39 PM on January 09, 2010

    Junk It.

  • Donald Allen — 4:18 PM on January 09, 2010

    Get rid of it! I actually can’t stand when that comes up, it seems pointless. Of course I want to replace the images!

  • Pariah Burke — 5:16 PM on January 09, 2010

    I use it the file replace dialog. I actually find it invaluable because Save for Web changes it’s behavior between saving one image or multiple in one shot. When saving a single image through Save for Web, the image is output into the target folder. Multiple images, however, are saved into the “images” subfolder (folder name can be changed by user). On occasion, I’ll forget to change to the root or “images” folder, and the file replace dialog saves me from replacing images I may not be able to get back once replaced.

  • George Penston — 6:08 PM on January 09, 2010

    I’m with Donald on this one. I would say have it always replace and omit the extra dialog. It’s a good start but I think there’s tons of improvement that could be made with this workflow. Fireworks does a great job of making it easy to save multiple web slices. Food for thought.

  • MikeD — 6:11 PM on January 09, 2010

    Ditch it. And while you’re at it, please make the “Optimize to file size” feature an option that can be actionable. Currently when you select this option as part of an action, only the resulting computed quality size is saved as part of the action.

  • John Manoogian III — 6:28 PM on January 09, 2010

    Go for it. Progress is great.

  • Alexander — 6:51 PM on January 09, 2010

    Ditch it, the less dialogs the better (for me)

  • Kai Howells — 6:59 PM on January 09, 2010

    I’d say replace all or none. Replacing an image doesn’t take a significant amount of time so then the consideration is whether or not that slice has changed.
    If it has changed, then you’re saving to replace it (in the vast majority of cases) in which case of course you want to replace it. If it hasn’t changed, then there’s no harm in replacing it anyway,

  • Eric Peacock — 7:53 PM on January 09, 2010

    I always overwrite everything when saving for the web and therefore never invoke this dialog. I tend to export selected slices only anyway.
    I also feel that removing this shouldn’t matter unless someone is using a workflow that is potentially error-prone. Your master PSD file should always be up-to-date.

  • Travis — 8:00 PM on January 09, 2010

    Thanks for once again soliciting feedback John!
    Personally, I don’t tend to uncheck any files in that dialog BUT I find that dialog is a good safety net to make sure I’m doing the right thing.
    Reason being is that the Standard Save As dialog allows you to choose “All Slices”, “All User Slices”, and “Selected Slices” and this choice seems to reset on a per-document basis, which I often forget about!
    My vote: Keep the dialog in the event of files being replaced, but no need to allow unchecking.
    While we’re on the topic of slices, it bugs the hell out of me that if I select a bunch of slices in my document, then select “Save For Web & Devices” only the LAST slice I selected is selected in the preview window.
    Mirroring what you’ve selected in the document itself seems like such an obvious behaviour, that I constantly forget photoshop DOESN’T do this, and meticulously select a whole bunch of slices in the document, Save for web and devices, and then scream … ;)
    I’d also agree with others that the whole slices UI could be overhauled a lot to make them more “first class citizens” like in Fireworks. At the very least a Slice Panel where we can edit the optimisation settings and name of the slice before we go to Save For Web and Devices.

  • Ciller — 12:27 AM on January 10, 2010

    Drop a warning sheet like NSOpen/SavePanel does.
    “One or more items already exist. Do you want to replace them?”
    informative text:
    “Some items with the same names already exist in (folder name). Replacing them will overwrite their contents.”
    (cancel) (replace)
    1% of your users are using the dialog you have now, I bet, and the rest just curse and click through it. To be honest, and I mean no offense, if you have to ask people on your blog for input about this, you’re doing it wrong.
    [Thanks for the pointless condescension/gutless pseudonym combo. You must know it’s my favorite. –J.]

  • Ciller — 12:35 AM on January 10, 2010

    Some elaboration:
    If you’ve hit the existing dialog and don’t want to replace some of the files, most likely the situation falls into one of two buckets:
    A. Those things didn’t change, but you think you’re saving time by not having Photoshop resave them. Actually, you’re losing time thinking about it and unchecking boxes.
    – or –
    B. Those things did change, but you want to keep the old ones. Either your backup/versioning solution sucks, or you can just switch to finder and rename them.
    The current dialog is the equivalent of optimizing for the rare case rather than the common case.

  • Martin — 1:55 AM on January 10, 2010

    I would love to see a “automatic replace all” checkbox somewhere around the embed profiles and metadata area. So you have the choice.

  • Klaus Nordby — 7:00 AM on January 10, 2010

    Well, I jump between exporting “All User Slices” and “Selected Slices” all the time — and would find it troublesome if that option disappeared.

  • Klaus Nordby — 7:59 AM on January 10, 2010

    If you kill the dialog, could you at least please include options for “All User Slices” and “Selected Slices,” etc. in the main SfW window?

  • John — 9:47 AM on January 10, 2010

    Keep the dialog, but only show it when more than one file will be created. When it’s just one file, show the “normal” file replacement dialog.

  • Ken Storch — 10:57 AM on January 10, 2010

    I just ran across this today when using SFW on a folder that contained RAW files with a few jpgs mixed in. When I went to save, the dialog allowed me to avoid overwriting the original jpgs with the smaller size versions.
    This is not a common for circumstance me, but I’d have to say ‘keep the dialog’.

  • Thomas Kötter — 12:33 PM on January 10, 2010

    What happens to redundant files in the images folder when you remove/rename slices between saves?
    My expectation would be that they would be removed if Photoshop is overwriting without asking.

  • Ollie — 11:46 PM on January 10, 2010

    The file replace dialog is useful but only as a verification of what is about to happen based on my choices in the previous dialog.
    Personally the _only_ time I want to create files from All slices is when there is only one [i.e. no user slices]. Additionally, if I wanted to create a new folder I would have done so in the system dialog [Command-Shift-N]. I have created a custom export option called “No folder” which I use permanently. If only I had a dollar for the number of times I have changed “All slices” to “Selected slices”.
    The Replace Files dialog is a symptom not a feature.
    BTW you can put me in the “Never uses Photoshop to make HTML” shelf.

  • Jcool — 7:34 AM on January 11, 2010

    The dialog is useful, but all or nothing is fine.

  • Roger — 7:57 AM on January 11, 2010

    Travis’ comment is right in line with my thought. Before you see this dialogue you’ve already had an option to adjust exactly what you had in mind regarding saving “All Slices”, “All User Slices”, and “Selected Slices”. Ideally all this would be tired together in a single dialogue. Here’s my rough concept. Is this possible? Anyone else like this idea?

  • jcool — 8:05 AM on January 11, 2010

    In the world of minor interface things, here’s one:
    The Image Processor action (which I invoke from Bridge) always creates a “JPEG” folder under the folder that I select to put images in.
    Super annoying. It would be nice if it would just drop the images in the folder I specify. If I wanted to do multiple formats (which I’ve never done), they’ll have different extensions anyway. No additional folders needed.
    Anyway, that’s something else that could stand to be tweaked.

  • dave — 9:12 AM on January 11, 2010

    replace line 1546 (cs4 version) in the “Image Processor.jsx” script
    var subFolderText = inFolderLocation + “/JPEG/”;
    var subFolderText = inFolderLocation + “/”;

  • Jcool — 10:21 AM on January 11, 2010

    Awesome, thanks for the tip.

  • Matt — 7:26 PM on January 11, 2010

    All or nothing is fine by me, never use the individual files option.

  • cravr — 9:55 PM on January 11, 2010

    Automatically replace all.

  • Sam — 7:18 AM on January 12, 2010

    I appreciate the information. Maybe it can be conveyed more subtley? Less as a warning? I think it’s a sophisticated way to handle that action.

  • Skyler — 11:12 AM on January 12, 2010

    The only thing this helps me with is when I forget to choose “save only selected slices” and I hit save and it asks if I want to replace all the images. Most the time I’ve made other changes and NO I do not want to replace them all. This is more of a safety feature for me, which I like.

  • William Reynish — 3:02 AM on January 14, 2010

    Drop it. In my opinion that dialog is more of a nuisance, an annoying extra step. Since it only displays a list of filenames, not thumbnails, it was never very good for determining what got overridden.

  • Steve Caplin — 3:22 AM on January 14, 2010

    I really like this feature. I wish it appeared in the regular Photoshop Save dialog. So my vote is to keep it!

  • Gary — 7:46 AM on January 14, 2010

    Yeah, what they said.
    (It’s one thing to not let the user know there will be a replacement of a file. It’s another thing to replace all of them.) So, yes to warning us that a file(s) will be replaced, but get rid of the custom deletion/saving.

  • Jeff — 11:33 AM on January 14, 2010

    Dave–Thank you!! This has been bugging me forever! (Workflow: Process images, go to new folder, move images to where I wanted them in the first place, delete unwanted folder…Aargh.)
    Thanks again!

  • Percival — 1:03 PM on January 14, 2010

    I say drop it as well. Any updates I make in this regard usually end updating/replacing all images anyway. Thanks.

  • Jeremy Schultz — 7:05 AM on January 15, 2010

    I’ve never heard of an app of any kind that doesn’t warn you when you’re about to overwrite a file. I’d keep it for that reason alone, but I’m also using SFW to export single images and almost never use slicing anymore.

  • Zev Eisenberg — 7:52 AM on January 15, 2010

    I rarely slice images, so it doesn’t matter to me, but I love the fact that the ‘Replace’ button is the default button, which means I can just hit Return/Enter to dismiss the dialog! I know it’s not OS-standard, but it’s my preferred default action for that dialog.

  • John — 5:19 PM on January 15, 2010

    I actually like the dialog box as it comes in handy when doing slices and I can see what I’m replacing.It’s not hurting anything, keep it.

  • Lalo Greiner — 3:02 PM on January 17, 2010

    Simple: Put an option in Prefs and allow people to decide for themselves.
    [To be honest, if it were simple, I wouldn’t have asked. There’s a lot of technical stuff going on in the transition that makes certain things expensive to keep around. Adding a pref would add work and complexity at a time when we’re trying to simplify. –J.]
    Default should be no Replace Files dialog.

  • Raph — 12:23 AM on January 20, 2010

    Simplicity is a key in great user experience: No Replace Files dialog.

  • Edward Sager — 7:29 AM on January 22, 2010

    I use it and I like it quite a bit. I realize it is more work to put it as an option in Preferences, but I am with Lalo on this one: keep it, make it a preference with default as no Replace Files dialogue. After all, we always like options!

  • ken - singapore photographer — 7:09 PM on January 23, 2010

    should keep it but have a ‘remember preferance’ option

  • Oscar — 11:05 AM on January 24, 2010

    I think this would be a great replacement. Being able to control exactly which files get replaced isn’t necessary in the dialog, but the User still should be informed about a majority change.

  • Aziz Peregrino-Brimah — 11:46 AM on February 13, 2010

    Why not have a “Don’t show again” setting? It should be a user choice. Thinking for users is great at times, but never at the expense of taking away OPTIONS. It should be an option at least.
    I find it useful sometimes, because I use it as a way to make sure I’m overwriting certain files. It is a confirmation of sorts. Say I accidentally deleted a slice and didn’t know it, this dialogue window would give a clue to that because I don’t see the file being overwritten.

  • imajez — 6:16 AM on February 25, 2010

    I wish I was like those say make life simple and drop it, but because life isn’t simple [though I may be at times] keep it for the rest of us less than perfect humans, who on odd occasions make mistakes.
    You should always ask if overwriting a file, always. Why? Because it may not be something you can undo.
    [To be clear, we’re not talking about whether or not to warn people when overwriting a file; we’re talking about whether to present a dialog that offers very granular choices about which files to overwrite & which to preserve. We’re planning to move to an all-or-nothing solution. –J.]
    Besides as you can hit return to overwrite files and carry on, it’s hardly a challenge to bypass. Hit enter in SFW to save and hit it again if you want to overwrite. I usually do just that, but on the odd occasion, it has been informative and helpful.
    Plus the sort of people who may need this functionality most are the least likely to be reading this or participating, so the poll will always be skewed towards the more geeky and aware users.

  • Enon Avital — 11:33 AM on March 04, 2010

    Myself and my entire design team normally create complex and large PSDs, and consider this selection feature extremely useful. We do attempt to first select which slices to save. Perhaps if you decide to remove this feature, add a confirmation for when the user doesn’t have any specific slices selected.
    Please keep this feature if possible. If it is removed, various workarounds will have to be implemented, which obviously hinders workflow usability.

  • Eliazer Braun — 11:53 AM on March 04, 2010

    1.Please leave features that web designers rely on so much..
    2. Please bring back this old good feature of radius (rounded) marquee. last time we had it was in image ready
    3. please consider merging fireworks with PS.

  • Clayton King — 7:56 AM on March 11, 2010

    I actually do use this feature selectively. Often, I’ll create images with tables and update a single slice_image file.

  • Bill Wilson — 9:36 PM on March 13, 2010

    Since I run into this occasionally with a strange “leftover” file originally generated by ImageReady, I’d prefer to see it stay, since it a) points out the error and b) gives me the option to either address it or ignore it. (CS3 under both OSX Tiger and Leopard)
    I’m no fan of redundancy or the overuse of dialog boxes, but since this one has proven invaluable for me, I’d like to see it stay.

  • Terry Toepfer — 4:21 PM on March 14, 2010

    I do use this feature. More importantly, I teach my college students to use it. They are so used to click, click, click and never think about what they are doing. This slows them down, makes them think and helps them not overwrite images, as often.

  • Martina Weise — 7:35 AM on March 24, 2010

    >John — 9:47 AM on January 10, 2010
    Keep the dialog, but only show it when more than one file will be created. When it’s just one file, show the “normal” file replacement dialog.
    I approve that.
    And perhaps you could add a check box in the Prefs to de/activate this overwrite warnings.
    If the changes would be too hard to built-in, keep it as it is.

  • Sverre Nilsen — 12:16 AM on April 16, 2010

    I am dying. I hate the new save for web-feature.
    I want it as jpg. never ever do i want a picture saved as a html-file.
    Why make it less good. I am actually switching back to cs4. This is to much.
    (i forget to add the .jpg in 1/2 files)
    [In the Save dialog, just change the output popup setting to “Images Only.” –J.]

  • Alex K — 10:30 PM on January 18, 2011

    A couple years ago, you or a colleague of yours showed us (at MAX 2008) a method to save an image for web (an image with text in it) that will preserve the text quality. In my notes I have “hit the button next to quality”. I see no button next to the quality option in the Save for Web dialog in Photoshop CS4. Little help?

    (I know this is lame, but I have been trying to figure this one our for a while)

    Alex K

    [The ability to do selective JPEG optimization was removed in CS4 and later due to lack of use. –J.]

  • Erica — 7:34 AM on May 13, 2011

    I realize this is an old post, but hopefully you can answer. I was disgruntled after upgrading to CS5 and saying goodbye to IR, to realize I could no longer use the “create auto rollover” feature in IR. So instead of 2 minutes of creating the rollover state and then doing a save all HTML and images, I now have to save each individual slice in PS and save for web separately for rollovers, go into DW and make the rollovers. Time wasted! Anyhow, for certain slices, when I try to save the rollover state, even when I change the name of the slice and the gif, it still makes me replace the original file. For example, link “lunch menu” has first slice ‘lunchmenu.gif’. The rollover state is ‘lunchmenuover.gif’. Dreamweaver is automatically replacing ‘lunchmenu.gif’ with ‘lunchmenuover.gif’ and won’t save it as a separate file. It says, “Some of the specific files already exist in the target location.” What gives? Any ideas? Help! :-) Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Erica — 7:35 AM on May 13, 2011

      I meant to say Photoshop is automatically bringing up the “Replace Files” box. Not DW. Also, it’s not happening with all slices. ???

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