Pay close attention to this post, even if you think it does not apply to you- if you are a photographer or graphic designer, eventually you will come across a HUGE need for this technique and you will remember that you saw it here and come back to the article. The key word you need to remember is “Variables” in Photoshop.

Case in point, this year I REALLY wanted to issue Award certificates to our contest winners. The main certificate was graciously designed in Photoshop by one of our readers, Chris K, and then I tweaked it as needed. Here was the problem: I needed to make about 60 Different versions of these certificates and swap out the Name, Category, Which Place the Participant won, Their Prize, and Gift Code for the store if applicable. To do this manually, one certificate at time would take hours.

The fast way to do this is to use a Photoshop Tool Called “Variables” which will allow you to swap out text and even IMAGES in an automated way. It is a tremendous time saver and has many awesome applications.

You start by making a spreadsheet of all the variables, naming each variable column, and then linking it with your Photoshop layers.

(Also, if you have more or less columns in your spreadsheet it will not work and you will be an error saying that you have “too many variable names”. It also needs to be saved as a CSV or TXT file.

There are a few how-to videos out there, and while the audio is a little weird, and presentation a little rough, this one on Youtube was the most clear and made the most sense:

Great tool to know!