Web Sharp Panel Tutorials

This page provides a comprehensive tutorial to using both the free and Pro Web Sharpening Panels from Greg Benz Photography (see a brief summary of the additional Pro features here). These panels are designed to allow you to quickly and easily create high-quality versions of your images for sharing online.

If you are interested in more free Photoshop software and tutorials, please join my newsletter (look for links in the footer of any of the newsletters for software and other downloads).

*** Note: This page covers both the free and Pro version of the panel. Any feature marked with three asterix is exclusive to the Pro panel.

Web Sharp Pro v2-2-0


Both the free and Pro Web Sharp panels offer:

  • A simple panel interface to easily create beautiful images to share on your website, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Extremely high-quality sharpening so that your images look their best, resizing, cropping, adding optional film grain, conversion to the sRGB (or P3) colorspace, optimized JPG compression, adding copyright information, removing sensitive metadata, and naming the new image to make the settings and intended usage clear.

Web Sharp Pro additionally offers:

  • Quick export settings for simple exports and overlay templates to support advanced exports and save settings with the master original file.
  • The Pro panel includes batch export to process an unlimited number of images in one step. ***
  • The Pro panel includes numerous additional quick export and overlay templates for output to Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, 4k, 1080p, fixed aspect ratios, full resolution, etc. ***
  • The Pro panel includes template editors so you can make your own quick export settings and advanced overlays. ***
  • The Pro panel includes numerous advanced features, such as automatic cropping, custom watermarks, letterboxing to export the entire image in a way that fits specific size requirements, automatically protect the sky from sharpening grain, content-aware fill to expand images when needed, create a single mask for targeted sharpening/grain with multiple overlays in the same image, organizing exports into sub-folders, and more flexible options for using templates. ***
  • The Pro panel also includes numerous advanced overlay features, such as automatic letterboxing, saving the grain and sharpening settings with the overlay, slicing the output into multiple images (rows and columns, such as for posting to Instagram stories), and rotating the final output. ***

 Note: Both are UXP panels which require Photoshop 2021 or later. Windows and MacOS (including with Apple Silicon) are fully supported.

The main panel includes several buttons (and a flyout menu at top-right):

  • Sharpen: Click this to immediately output the current image with your preferred settings (this includes all the above benefits, not just sharpening). If you have opted to leave an image open to refine the sharpening or film grain, this button will show as "Save" to allow you to easily complete the export after you have finished refining layer masks to control sharpening and grain.
  • Batch: Click this to choose several files to process at once. Each image will be processed normally as if you had opened it and then clicked "Sharpen" with the current settings. You may use the crop overlays below for advanced control over how each file is processed.***
  • Settings: This gives you full control over the settings used when "sharpening". See below for details on all the options. For those who may frequently change settings for each run, a duplicate "Sharpen" button is included in this popup dialog to save you time.
  • Crop Overlay: Click this to add or remove cropping templates to your image. This allows you to pick the perfect crop, automatically output the final image with preset dimensions, and allows you to choose multiple sizes to be output at the same time. See below for details.
  • Tutorials: Links to this page for easy access to training and support information.

These buttons are described in detail below. Additionally, there is a "flyout" menu option (via the three-bars menu icon at top-right of the panel) with the following options:

  • Utilities: This allows you to reset options and popup notifications, or send more detailed system information for troubleshooting support.
  • Send feedback: for general feedback to improve the panel.
  • Release notes: to see the latest version and a history of changes.
  • Links to other products and information from Greg Benz Photography


This button will immediately start exporting the current image using the settings specified (see below). This provides a quick and simple way to create your output. If you wish to process multiple source images, just click this button while viewing each image. You may also initiate sharpening via the "Options" button, which may be preferable if you are frequently changing settings from one image to the next.

It will also use any visible crop overlays (which offer a few advanced options such as rows/columns). The crop overlays will be used (instead of the Quick Export settings) anytime the current document contains valid overlays which are visible . If there are active valid crop overlays in the image, then the image will be processed multiple times (once per overlay). You may also use overlays when their group is hidden if you check the appropriate option in Settings (which is a handy way to save the overlays without leaving them visible).

Quick Export (dropdown)

There are two basic ways to specify settings for your export. You can use the "quick export", which includes the dropdown and sizes in the main panel along with the Quick Export tab in settings. Or you an use add an "overlay" as described further below. Most users will only use the quick export method. The overlays allow a few more advanced options (including splitting the image into rows and columns, saving custom masks for local sharpening and grain, or visual overlays to help assist in cropping choices).

The quick export method is used by default unless your image contains a crop overlay. The dropdown should be chosen, and then you may optionally enter dimensions (if applicable for the chosen dropdown). The free panel includes options for using the original document ratio or custom dimensions. The Pro panel includes numerous additional quick export presets:

  • Original ratio (document): This will let you choose a height or width, and the other dimension will be set automatically from the image's aspect ratio so that the entire image is exported without cropping.
  • Manual (W x H): Use this to manually set any width and height you prefer.
  • 1x1, 2x3, etc. These set the output ratio. Choose a width or height and the other dimension will be set to achieve the desired aspect ratio. You may click the circular arrow icon to change the orientation between landscape (wide) and portrait (tall) orientations. ***
  • Long edge: This will set the longest edge to the chosen value. The other dimension will be set automatically from the image's aspect ratio so that the entire image is exported without cropping (this is similar to using original ratio, but ensures that your specified dimension is the maximum). ***
  • Social media options (such as Facebook, Instagram, etc): These let you quickly export for popular sites. ***
  • Custom options: The Pro panel allows you to add, edit, and organize your own custom templates in the Quick Export editor. See below. ***


[Settings]: Quick Export tab ***:

  • Edit Quick Export Templates: This Pro feature allows you to edit the quick export dropdown list. You may add your own custom sizes and hide system templates if desired. ***
  • Pre-crop to active selection: This Pro feature allows you to easily export a small piece of your image. Just draw a rectangular marquee and the image will be processed as if you were using the panel with just the content in the selected area. This is a great way to effectively crop without using overlays. ***
  • Presets, Width & Height: This row row shows the same quick export settings as the main panel. It is included here so that you may easily change multiple settings and use the "Sharpen" button right in the settings dialog.
  • Rotate output: Rotates the final output, which may be ideal for sharing a landscape image intended to be viewed on a phone held sideways. ***
  • Resolution (dpi): This has no impact on the image / pixels whatsoever, it just sets metadata in case you prefer a specific dpi (such as 300 when printing). The default is 72dpi. ***
  • Crop / Fill: Choose whether the image should be cropped (automatically or interactively) or if the entire image should always be kept (and any blank area filled with a solid color or blur to achieve the final output aspect ratio). ***
  • Border: When enabled, will add a final border to the final image (ignored when using an overlay template). Choose "inside" when your priority is to target a specific output size. Choose outside when your priority is to target a specific image crop ratio (as an inside border changes the aspect ratio of the area remaining for any image which is not square). You may specify the size in fixed pixels or as a percentage of the final image dimensions. ***
  • Border / Fill color: This determines the color used for any border or solid fill. Use "fixed" to select a specific color. When set to "auto", the overall average image color will be used to dynamically generate the final color to harmonize with the image. ***
  • Secondary border: Allows you to add a thin stroke around the image itself or around the primary border. ***

For a borders demo, see the video below.

You can choose to crop or fill your image. Cropping will remove excess pixels so that the maximum image area is kept in the target aspect ratio (based on your chosen output size). Filling will add extra pixels outside the image in order to expand it to fit the target aspect ratio.

There are three cropping options:

  • Crop (interactive: always) - This will let you interactively crop (if needed). The simplest option is to click in the image to activate the cropping tool if needed, then click and drag the image to move the crop around or hold the <shift> key while clicking and dragging a corner to resize proportionally. You must hold shift to resize proportionally. If you change the aspect ratio, you'll see a message that you need to redo the crop. *
  • Crop (interactive: new crops only) - When you crop, the size and location of your crop is saved in the original document. If you save that document, you'll be able to reuse than next time you process the image with the same output. For example, if you export a square crop that's a bit off to the left, the same crop will automatically be used (without interactive prompts) the next time you export any square crop. As long as the aspect ratio and size of the original image are the same as a previous crop, it will automatically redo the same crop. You can always adjust by switching to the "always" interactive option, which will start the interactive crop from the same position previously used. Note that if you do not save your source image, the next time you use that same crop would be treated as if it were the first time. *
  • Crop (auto: centered) - This will simply keep the central area of your image without any interaction. This keeps things fast and easy, but you can't optimize for an off-center crop.

* For a cropping demo, see the video below (part of "new features in v5, part 3 of 3").

There are two+ fill options:

  • Keep full image (full with color) - Instead of cropping, a solid color will be added to the sides of your image to achieve the required aspect ratio. You may choose a specific color by setting border/fill to "fixed". Or you may set it to "auto" and an average color will be used for each image.
  • Keep full image (fill with blur) - This will create a blurred version of the image to fill.

See the example gallery and borders video below for examples of these various options.

Note that the keep full image options often look best with the drop shadow enabled. You may tweak solid colors or the drop shadow if you choose the "keep image open" setting (or hold <shift> when you click sharpen). You can then tweak the output and click the green "Save" button in the panel when you're done.

Your experience with Web Sharp Pro is also affected by settings with Photoshop. I recommend customizing the PS crop tool as follows:

  • Make the crop tool in PS active and draw a simple crop (but do not confirm or exit)
  • Look for the gear icon in the toolbar settings near the top of Photoshop, click it and check "Show cropped areas" and "enable crop shield". This will show a dimmed version of the image outside the crop, which is helpful to better review any interactive cropping you may need to do.
  • In the toolbar, click the grid icon for overlay options and choose "golden ratio".

Demo: Borders:

Demo: Cropping:

[Settings]: Quick Export Editor ***:

With the Pro panel, you may add your own custom quick export templates, sort the list, and hide any options you do not wish to use. Just go to Settings / Main / Edit quick export sizes to invoke the editor.

The quick export editor is organized into 3 parts. On the left is the list of all presets, this shows the current sort order and clicking on one will then allow you to edit it (or you may double-click a preset to quickly toggle its visible/hidden status).

On the right are options to edit the currently selected preset, including:

  • Move up / Move down to change the sort order
  • Visible / Hidden: this gives you the option to stop showing system templates (system templates may not be deleted) or to hide custom templates you may not be currently using. You may alternatively double-click the preset in the list to quickly toggle this visible/hidden status.
  • Name: this is the name shown in the dropdown, as well as the name which will be added as a keyword when processing the image (this gives you a convenient way to search and organize images in Lightroom if you wish to keep all your output images permanently).
  • Width: Setting this will fix the width for the image. If no height is specified, it will be set automatically based on the image's aspect ratio (so as to retain the full image). If both are specified, the image will be cropped as needed.
  • Height: this works similarly to width.

On the bottom are several options:

  • New Preset: This will create a new preset for you to customize.
  • Delete: This will delete the currently selected preset. Note that the system presets that come with the panel may not be deleted, but they may be hidden.
  • Export: This allows you to backup everything in this dialog (custom presets, sort order, and visibility) or share it with another computer. Backing up is highly recommended to protect your work (note that if you ever uninstall the panel, the Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop app will delete any panel data you have not backed up).
  • Import: This allows you to import settings which were previously exported.
  • Done: Close the editor.

If you wish to add a platform or usage which is not in the panel, I recommend doing a Google search to find the latest guidelines applicable to your use. For example, Hootsuite put out this great guide to popular platforms in 2021:

[Settings]: Sharpening / Grain tab:

The sharpening section includes:

  • Sharpening amount (%): The panel uses an advanced/proprietary sharpening algorithm designed for truly outstanding results. Just choose the amount of sharpening desired. If you wish to use different amounts in different areas, use the "leave image open" option or generic mask in the overlay in order to control sharpening with a layer mask. Note: This is identical to the slider in the main panel and just included here in case you wish to frequently change settings and sharpen from within the popup. Hold <ctrl/cmd> while clicking and dragging to move in small (1%) increments.
  • Protect Sky: This Pro feature automatically avoids sharpening the sky to avoid enhancing visible noise. This is used with any quick export or template, unless there is a generic sharpening mask in the overlay layers (in which case it will be used for any export). As this feature adds time to processing and the default sharpening is already optimized to avoid adding noise, I recommend only turning this on as needed. ***

The grain section allow you to add optional film grain to the final output, which may be of particular interest for portraiture.

  • Grain Amount: Controls the amount of grain applied overall. 7-15% is typically ideal. Set to 0% to disable grain.
  • Grain Size: Controls grain particle size. 25% is the default. Try much higher values to make the grain look softer / less noisy (note that values >25% may slightly blur the image detail).
  • Grain Roughness: Controls the regularity / uniformity of the grain. 50% is default and often ideal. Try higher values if you want a slightly textured look (this may appear blotchy on very smooth areas).

[Settings] File tab:

All of these settings may be adjusted interactively when you leave the image open, which will result in a Smart Object with a Camera RAW Filter. Just open the filter in ACR by double-clicking it and head to the "Effects" section. The size and roughness sliders may be hidden, in which case you should click the little white triangle to the right of the grain slider to show these hidden sliders.

Standard options (top group):

These settings affect the quality, file format, and colorspace (if the source image is HDR / 32-bit, then the settings in the next group may take priority). These settings include:

  • Quality: Controls the balance of file size vs quality. This is important if you are hosting your own images and wish to keep file sizes down for quick downloading on the internet. If you are uploading to a service like Facebook, just leave this at the default "Ultimate". If you are hosting your images, "good" and "high" offer nearly indistinguishable results at a much smaller file size. You may also choose "Save for Web" to be prompted with interactive options on every image (note that "Save for Web" will ignore your folder preference and just default to the last folder used in this interface). If you choose the "leave image open" option, the "Sharpen" button in the main panel will show as "Save" after processing an image. You may simply click that "Save" button to complete the save operation after making any desired tweaks to the open image.
  • Format: This allows you to choose the type of file (JPG is typical, webP offers smaller size, etc).
  • Colorspace: Allows you to choose whether the output is in the sRGB color space, P3, Adobe RGB, or select "do not convert" to keep the document's existing colorspace (such as ProPhoto for example). Note: It is highly recommended that you output to sRGB for social media, as these sites tend to strip the embedded profile upon upload, which will cause color issues for images other than sRGB.

Options for HDR source images (2nd group):

These options only apply if your source image is HDR (ie 32-bit). If that applies, the settings in this section take priority over the standard options:

  • Output: Choose HDR to keep the image as is, or SDR if you wish to tone map the image (to share with others who do not have an HDR monitor, to print, etc). If you choose SDR, the format and colorspace from the standard options will be used.
  • Tone map method: There are many cases where you want (creating a version for SDR monitors) or need (lack of support for HDR or HDR file formats) to convert your image to SDR. Any conversion to SDR will result in a loss of quality as SDR is a lower quality display, but there are ways to help optimize the final result. Web Sharp Pro includes options in general settings to help manage this conversion to SDR with the best possible results (and conversion from HDR inherently reduces quality, just like compressing from a wide gamut to sRGB does). This process of compressing the tonal range is called "tone mapping". See detail below for the options.
  • HDR format: TIF is recommended so that you may subsquently use ACR v15.1 or later to convert to an HDR AVIF (per this tutorial). EXR is intended for use by CG artists only.
  • HDR colorspace: This controls the colorspace conversion used when keeping the output as HDR.

Tone mapping methods:

  • Interactive (always). This will use the ACR interface to allow you to control the SDR rendition. This offers the most control and highest quality.
  • Interactive (first time). Just like with crops, Web Sharp Pro tries to remember your tone mapping settings. When subsequently exporting the same image (such as for multiple platforms), you likely just want to use the same settings. This "first time" option allows you to skip the ACR dialog, which can be especially helpful during batch exports. You can switch back to the "always" option if you need to make changes, as the previous settings will be shown in that workflow for you to update/confirm. Note that these settings are only remembered if you save the source document after exporting via Web Sharp Pro (as the information is added to the source document). If you are doing a batch export, you may wish to open the images for batch export so that you will have the option to save this data (at least the first time you process the images).
  • Auto. This method will analyze the image and produce a high-quality conversion to SDR. This method avoids clipping of HDR content, while trying to preserve a reasonable degree of contrast. This provides a simple way to get good results, but the interactive methods offer the potential for the most optimized results.
  • Bottom layer / group named "SDR". This is not an option listed in the panel settings. This is a "hidden" option which lets you take full control over the SDR conversion by explicitly telling the panel what to use. Simply rename the bottom layer with "SDR" in the name. If you have multiple layers for the SDR, just put them into a group called "SDR" at the bottom of your image. This approach is ideal when you are converting existing SDR images to HDR through a series of adjustments, as you can keep your SDR image exactly as you originally created it.

The output group at the bottom allows you to control the following:

  • Output Folder: Determines where the output will be saved by default. This is ignored if you have checked "leave open" or if you choose to save to source.
  • Leave image open: Just create a new image and leave it open without saving. This gives you a layered file that allows you to refine the local sharpening and grain.
  • Save to source folder (if possible): When this is checked, the folder location of the source image will be used instead of the default output folder. However, if the source image has never been saved, it will have no folder location and the default output folder will be used instead.
  • Output sub-folders by template name: This Pro-only feature helps organize multiple exports by final size. This is especially helpful when using multiple crop-overlays on an image to separate the various outputs, especially if using the advanced rows/columns options to slice the final image. The template name pulls from the Quick Select dropdown or overlay layer name, and then remove extraneous info (for example: anything after the first opening parenthesis in an overlay template name is removed). This option still applies when choosing to save to the source folder. ***
  • Add settings to filename: Adds shorthand information to the final filename for dimensions, quality, and P3 color space if used.
  • Use title for file name: If this is checked and the image has PS / LR metadata for "title", then the title will be used in the output name instead of the source file name. This provides a convenient way to keep original file names and specify a preferred name for the final output.
  • Remove sensitive metadata: This removes nearly all existing metadata from the file, such as GPS location, shutter speed, aperture, and other information you may not wish to share. Any existing copyright is retained.
  • Add copyright metadata: Check this to have your copyright information added to all processed images. You will be prompted with additional options when you check this box. When enabled, this information is always added to the file, even if you have chosen the option to remove other metadata.

[Settings]: Watermark tab: ***

Watermarks allow you to add branding or other marks to protect your image from theft.

  • "Import Watermark" button: This is the first step, as the other controls will be disabled until you have established a watermark image to use. You may select any image, ideally one with a transparent background.
  • "Edit Watermark" button: When importing, the panel creates an internal duplicate of your image and converts it to a TIF. Subsequent edits to your original file will therefore have no effect on the watermark used unless you re-import it or use this edit button, which will open the internal duplicate for you to edit.
  • Apply watermark: When this is checked, the watermark will be added when sharpening. The 3x3 grid allows you to choose relative placement of the watermark, such as towards the bottom-right of the image.

The appearance section includes

  • Recolor watermark: This provides an easy way to change the "color" of the watermark, such as to switch between white and black versions. Your watermark should be white in order to use this feature properly.
  • Blend mode: Allows various options apply your watermark to the image.
  • Watermark opacity (%): This allows you to control how opaque/transparent the watermark is.

The size / placement section includes:

  • Size watermark as % of: Choose "final image" to output a watermark which is consistent portion of any output, or "watermark source" to use a fixed watermark size regardless of the final image size.
  • Watermark size (%): At the default 100%, the watermark will be applied to your image without resizing. Use this slider to make the watermark smaller or larger in the final output.
  • Watermark offset (# pixels from edge): This allows you to add extra space between the watermark and the edge of the image. Note that if your watermark has transparent edges, they are not trimmed and your image will already have that visual offset before this setting is additionally added.

All of these settings may be adjusted interactively when you leave the image open, which will result in a Smart Object with a Camera RAW Filter. Just open the filter in ACR by double-clicking it and head to the "Effects" section. The size and roughness sliders may be hidden, in which case you should click the little white triangle to the right of the grain slider to show these hidden sliders.

Tips for working with watermarks:

  • Create your template as a higher resolution Smart Object. this then allows you to easily change the size without loss of quality (in the settings or by resizing an instance of the watermark when leaving images open).
  • When leaving the image open, you may also wish to use the screen, multiply, or overlay blend modes along with opacity to control how the watermark is used in the image.

[Settings]: Crop Overlay tab:

Most users can skip crop overlays, but they offer a few advanced uses such as splitting the image into rows/columns or custom overlays. The Overlay options may be accessed from within the Options dialog or by <ctrl/cmd>-clicking the Overlay button. It includes the following choices:

  • Dim cropped areas (%): This helps visualize your crop by dimming or completely hiding areas of the image outside any visible crop overlay layers. Drag the slider all the way to 100% to completely hide cropped areas. Using a bit less (50-75%) helps clearly show what will be cropped, while allowing you to see the whole image while adjusting the size or positioning of your crop. This slider has no effect on the results, it is just a tool to help visualize your crop when working with the overlays.
  • Use custom overlay color: Enabling this will cause your overlays to be re-colored, which may make them easier to see for various images. For best results, your overlay template should use white at various levels of opacity. This has no effect on the results and is just intended to help better visualize the crop.
  • Use overlays marked "visible" even when the top-level group is hidden: This determines which crop overlays to use when sharpening an image, to give you more flexibility. This is especially helpful for saving crops with your image (so that you can easily use them, but not see them in the saved master image). ***
  • Create a generic sharpening mask in overlay: When you leave an image open, you can edit the layer mask on the sharpening layer to control sharpening. However, this can become tedious to do repeatedly when exporting multiple crops or when re-exporting at a later date. Checking this option adds a layer representing the sharpening mask to the overlay. You may simply edit this single layer to be used as a layer mask for all exports to save significant time and save your sharpening mask for later. You may choose to start with a white or black mask, or one which protects the sky. See the next section for more details. ***
  • Create a generic grain mask in overlay: Similar to the generic sharpening mask, but for grain. You may choose to start with a white or black mask. See the next section for more details. ***
  • Import all overlays (including hidden): Your overlay template may include hidden layers that you don't normally want imported. Checking this option gives you a way to import hidden layers as well when needed, without having to edit the template. ***
  • Edit template: Opens the current template so that you may make changes to it. See the "customizing the overlay template" section below for more details.
  • Import templates: Allows you to import an overlay which you may have created previously or are sharing between computers. This will replace your current template, including any customizations you have made. ***
  • Export template to folder: Use this to share your template with a friend or another computer you use. This may also be used to backup your templates, which is highly recommended (as the Adobe CC Installer may delete all panel data if you uninstall the panel). This is a Pro feature, but those using the free panel may simply open their template and use "save as" to create a backup. ***
  • Restore any missing default templates: Use this to restore anything you deleted, or to update an old template after the panel has been updated and its default templates may include new options. ***
  • Reset template to default: This is intended to help you recover if you make unwanted changes to your template. This will replace your current template, including any customizations you have made.

Save / Load Settings

Web Sharp Pro extensive list of settings allow you to customize nearly any aspect of your exports. Sometimes, certain groupings of settings logcially go together. For example, you might always add a secondary border and watermark when exporting a 1200px wide version for your website, but prefer to export a clean image for Instagram. The "Save / Load Settings" feature introduced in v5 allows you to change multiple settings all at the same time. See the video below for a quick overview. This feature allows use of "quick exports" instead of "crop overlays" for nearly all uses.

Tips for getting the most out of presets (Saved Settings):

  • Only the categories which are checked (such as sharpening, watermark, etc) are saved in the preset. Those are the only settings which will be changed when you later load this preset. Note that this also applies to using the "update" button for an existing preset, so be sure you check the correct categories when you update.
  • You can use the "Batch" button to automate processing of multiple presets, even with a single image. For example, you could create presets for Flickr and your website and export both at the same time this way.
  • When you use the "crop (interactive: always)" option for "crop/fill" in Quick Export Settings, your crop will be remembered the next time you export with the same aspect ratio. This feature allows you to reuse the same crops in your image without having to use "crop overlays". Note that you need to save your source file after exporting with an interactive crop if you wish for this cropping information to be retained for future use.
  • If you use the "crop (interactive: new crops only)" option for "crop/fill", you will get the same benefits, but will not be prompted for an interactive crop when exporting an image which was previously exported/saved with the same aspect ratio. The same crop will be applied automatically, which can greatly simplify bulk exports. If there is no saved crop data for the requested aspect ratio, you will be prompted for an interactive crop.
  • You may check the option below the list of your saved presets to have the first three added as buttons in the main panel. These will be labeled with the first two characters of each item, so you might name your Facebook template "FB: Facebook" in order to get an "FB" button, or could name it as "#2: Website" to show a "#2", etc. When you click the button, it will sharpen the active image with those saved settings (but not load those settings permanently). Or you may <alt/option>-click the button to load those settings instead of sharpening.

Backing up your work

There are several good reasons to backup / export your work: The Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop (CCD, aka the installer for Photoshop and this panel) currently deletes all panel data if you uninstall the panel, and you may wish to use the same templates and settings on another computer or share with a friend.

For Web Sharp Pro users:

  • The master overlay template is saved as a TIF file in a folder specific to the panel. If you are using Web Sharp Pro, just go to Settings / Crop Overlay / Export Templates (there is also an import button right next to it). ***
  • If you have created custom Quick Export templates (Settings / Main / Edit quick export sizes), note that there are "export" and "import" buttons in the editor. This will preserve your custom quick export dropdown settings, including templates you have created, custom sort order, and visibility if you have hidden unused templates. ***

For those using the free panel:

  • You may save a backup copy of the master template by opening it (like you would to edit it) and then "save as" to a location of your choice. You may manually import templates by opening the master template and copying layers from another source file.
  • The Quick Export dropdown cannot be customized in the free panel, so there is nothing you need to do there.

Batch Export ***

This Pro feature allows you to export numerous images at the same time. Just click the "Batch" button and then <ctrl/cmd> or <shift>-click to select the sources images you wish to use. Each individual image will be processed exactly as if it were the active image with the current settings in the panel and any overlay template you may have in the file. In combination with the Pro overlay templates, this allows you the ability to output potentially hundreds of images at once, each with their own unique crop, size, sharpening amount, and more.

Batch integration with Lightroom / Capture One ***

If you prefer to manage your images with another application, there are several ways to integrate with Web Sharp Pro. All these workflows are available to Lightroom (LR) and Capture One (CO) users. As Adobe Bridge does not let you add to the file name when exporting, the first workflow does not currently apply for Bridge.

Workflow #1: Export from LR / CO with a special name which trigger's WSP automation

This workflow is new in WSP v5.2 and allows direct integration with 3rd party apps so that you can export from programs like LR or CO and WSP will automatically process the images. There are two parts to this workflow. You need to set up preferred settings in WSP and then export from LR or CO with a specific approach. For a demonstration, see the video below (new features in v5, part 2 of 3).

To set up Web Sharp Pro, you may update your current settings or create various options via "Save / Load Settings". When automatic processing starts, you will see a list of options (just like when you click "Batch" and choose to process open images in WSP). There are a few differences from clicking the "Batch" button, including:

  • Automatically processed images will always be saved in the same folder as the source (or sub-folder if using that option). The output folder listed in general settings is never used for automatic processing. This approach offers more flexibility (since you can already control the output from LR / CO, ignoring this setting helps avoid the need to create special templates just for automatic processing).
  • "_auto" will be appended to the final file name.

To set up LR, CO, or any third-party image management software with supporting options (sorry, Bridge does not support this), create an export template which creates temporary TIFs with the following settings:

  • Append "-wspBatchAndDelete" to the file name. When images are opened in PS that include this in the file name, WSP's automatic processing will be invoked. It will only process files which match this exactly, so I suggest you copy and paste.
  • LR opens all images at the same time and should have no issue with the default setup, but CaptureOne sends them one at a time as processed. This may cause the batch dialog to show before all images are ready. To mitigate that issue for CaptureOne, you should additionally append "-delay10" to have the plugin wait 10 seconds from the last image opened before starting to process the image. The number is configurable (values from 1-99 seconds are valid), so you could use a faster or slower delay based on what works for your computer (ie -delay2 if you only need a short delay to avoid the problem). The safest minimum value depends on the speed of your computer and size of images you ask CaptureOne to process.
  • In LR, you can do this by checking "rename to", clicking the dropdown to choose "edit", and adding this text right after the file name.
  • It is critical that you export a NEW file with this suffix. Do not rename your original file. You are explicitly asking the panel to delete any file with this name when it is done.
  • Export as a 16-bit uncompressed TIF. This offers the best final quality, speed, and flexibility (though the panel will accept any format that can be opened in PS).
  • Have these TIFs put into the location where you wish to have the final output from WSP go (it will always place the images with the source when using auto, or in a sub-folder if you request that option).
  • Do not apply any resizing or sharpening in this export, WSP will take care of this.
  • Do not remove metadata. If you have used interactive cropping previously on the source image, removing the metadata may prevent use of that feature (in LR the two "copyright only" options will specifically prevent use of this feature - "all except camera raw" is safe to use). Web Sharp Pro already includes options to remove metadata and it's probably best to remove metadata there (in combination with "all except camera raw" if you like).
  • Do not have these temporary files added to your catalog, as they will be deleted by WSP and this would just slow things down and create potential cleanup work.
  • Be sure to set "post processing" in LR to open in Photoshop. If the image is not opened in Photoshop, WSP will never see it to start processing.

Once you've set things up, the full workflow is as follows:

  • Click to export in LR / CO
  • After the temporary TIFs with the special name have opened in PS, WSP will open the batch interface to let you choose which saved or current settings you would like to use. You may select multiple (such as to create Instagram and Facebook exports at the same time). If you do not have any saved settings, you won't see that dialog and it will just sharpen with the current settings. If WSP has not been made visible since PS started, it will not be loaded - but it will start working once you've opened via the Plugins menu or clicked its icon (if minimized) to show it.
  • When the export is done, WSP will list all the files it processed and ask you to confirm to delete them.
  • There is no way for WSP to invoke synchronization in the originating app, so you should now do that if desired. In LR, right click your source folder(s) or a parent folder and choose "synchronize folder" so that the new images are added to your catalog.

Limitations of this workflow:

  • Not supported by programs such as Adobe Bridge which do not allow the creation of duplicate files with a new name. You should use workflow #2 instead.
  • If you are using "crop interactive", your cropping data won't be remembered (as the source image in this case is a temporary file which will be deleted). However, if you previously used the ultimate source with interactive cropping and saved it, the copy of the image will

Workflow #2: Open from LR / CO and then process open images in PS

Steps to use this workflow:

  • Make sure you have no images open in PS first (so you don't create unwanted exports).
  • Open or Export any images you wish to process in PS.
  • Click "Batch" in WSP and use the "pick Images" option.

If you are working with LR:

  • There is no clean way to open RAW images from LR without creating new copies of the file, and you probably don't want that.
  • Similarly, if you've made adjustments to TIFs, you'd have to be careful to open the original to avoid duplication.
  • The simplest option is to create a new export preset which will export all selected images as temporary TIFs and have them put into a folder clearly labeled with "(ok to delete)" or something similar. This way you'll be able to clearly find and delete these temporary working files after you done the batch processing. Have the export set to open these images in PS and run it starting with no images open in PS.

Limitations of this workflow:

  • There is no simple way to put the exported images back in the original source folder if you use temporary export files. So this is not ideal when working from RAW files.

Workflow #3: WSP file picker

Steps to use this workflow:

  • Click "Batch" in WSP and use the "Pick Images" option.

You'll need the following setup in order to have any images which have edits (slider changes) in LR show up in PS with the same changes:

  • If using LR: Catalog Settings / Metadata / Automatically write changes into XMP must be checked. This is in catalog settings, not preferences. (Note that once checked, LR will build all the XMP files - so even your previous edits will be included, but this process may take a little while to complete. There is no progress bar for this operation, but if you are able to close LR without being warned about LR writing metadata changes, the process is complete).
  • Photoshop: Prefs / File Handling / Camera RAW Prefs / File Handling / Sidecars must be set to embed or use (not ignore sidecars XMP file)

Limitations of this workflow:

  • This really isn't an integration with other programs, but may be a useful workflow at times even if you use the other workflows above (such as for processing images which are not in your catalog).
  • This will apply LR edits to any RAW file. However, LR edits to non-RAW files (such as TIF or PSB) will not be shown in Photoshop (because they don't use sidecar files) and therefore not included in Web Sharp Pro's output. For this and many other good reasons, I recommend that you generally do not adjust any development settings in LR for any file which is not a RAW file.
  • Virtual copies do not have their own file or XMP on disk and therefore cannot be opened directly from PS or Web Sharp Pro. You can simply export these images as temporary TIF files (to be deleted after use) for subsequent processing with Web Sharp Pro.

To find Web Sharp Pro images in LR, use a search on keywords with "contains all" set to "Web Sharp:". You may also create a Smart Collection with the same search, which is a convenient way to start off any search with Web Sharp images, and you may then further search within those results as needed.

Layer Comps ***

This Pro feature allows you to export multiple different versions of your image all at once. For example, you might wish to apply different color grades, a series of text overlays, or show a sequence of editing steps for a tutorial post on Instagram.

If you process an image which uses "layer comps", the panel will offer to process all of them. If you opt to use this, the panel will create the same output (quick export or overlay templates) for each layer comp in the image.

To create a layer comp, just go to Window / Layer Comps to open this Photoshop panel. Update the layers for the first version of your image (show or hide adjustment layers, text layers, etc) as desired and then click the "create new layer comp" button in the panel (the + icon), give it a name, check the options which apply based on your variations (layer visibility, position, etc), and click OK. Repeat to create as many layer comps as you would like to use.

Note that the layer comp name is added as a keyword in the final output image, so that you may easily sort and search images if you are managing your exports in Lightroom.

Save via ACR (AVIF, HDR JPG) ***

There are a couple scenarios where saving your image will invoke the Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) interface. This includes:

  • Saving an HDR as a gain map (aka Ultra HDR JPG). Not only is ACR required for this save, but you can also control the SDR version built into the gain map, as detailed in the section below.
  • Saving AVIF as this format is not native to Photoshop. This includes saving both SDR and HDR images.

The simplest workflow for saving through ACR during the export process:

  • Adjust the SDR preview if you are exporting an HDR gain map (to control the SDR rendition).
  • Click <ctrl/cmd>-S to invoke the save dialog (also available by clicking the icon near the top-right by the gear icon).
  • Choose file type and location options as appropriate.
  • Make sure "HDR output" is checked if exporting HDR.
  • Set metadata to "all except camera raw info". This avoids about 3k in file bloat that ACR would otherwise add from this interface (not much, but every little bit helps). You should not use a more restrictive option if you wish to use WSP to add or otherwise manage your metadata.
  • Turn off image sizing (WSP has already done this in an optimal way)
  • Turn off Output sharpening (WSP has already done this in an optimal way).

AVIF (file format) ***

The AVIF file format is a new standard designed to help replace JPG. It offers substantially smaller file sizes as well as support for HDR. AVIF is supported by nearly all major browsers for SDR content (8 or 16-bit source files in Photoshop), while current HDR AVIF support is limited to the Chrome, Opera, and Brave browsers (but is likely to see widespread support in due time).

AVIF support in Web Sharp Pro (available in v4+) is depends on a (free) 3rd-party file format plugin for Photoshop. This plugin is only offered for Windows at this time (if you know how to port C++ code to MacOS and would like to help, please contact me or the developer of the plugin). You can verify which version of the plugin you have installed via in PS under Help > About Plugins > Av1 Image. You can download the latest version of that plugin here.

To use this option, simply choose AVIF in the general file format settings in Web Sharp Pro. When you export, you will be prompted to install that 3rd-party plugin if you have not done so already. No AVIF option will be shown on MacOS as the plugin is not available on MacOS at this time, however Web Sharp Pro can still greatly facilitate by creating TIFs which are ready to be converted to AVIF via Adobe Camera RAW.

There are two methods for exporting AVIF images from the panel:

  • Go to Settings / General and select "AVIF" as your desired format. This will process your image normally (with resizing, sharpening, watermarks, borders, etc as requested). This method offers the smallest file sizes and highest quality as it is working from your original file.
  • Go the flyout menu (top-right of the panel) and select "recompress images to AVIF". This will create a nearly identical copy of your image as an AVIF (no changes to resolution, sharpening, watermarks, etc).. This utility is intended as an efficient way to shrink large numbers of images or for when the original source is not available. You can obtain even smaller AVIFs and improved quality by exporting directly from the original TIF than by re-compressing a JPG (as JPGs have already degraded quality and recompressing an already-compressed image is not as efficient).

AVIF file support is mixed at this time, but rapidly growing:

  • Most browsers (80%+) will render standard AVIF images correctly. So this is a great way to replace JPGs with much smaller AVIF files for faster page loads and reduced bandwidth costs.
  • Only Chrome / Brave / Opera seem to properly render HDR versions of AVIF at this time (and desktop only, as WebKit does not yet offer HDR AVIF support for iOS). But this is not a reason to delay using AVIF, as this new file format is the only suitable choice for sharing HDR images on the web.
  • Wordpress does not yet support AVIF by default, which means you cannot use the media library. You can add the files to your server and use URLs to link the images. It appears WordPress will likely require PHP 8.1 or later be active on your site to support AVIF, as this update provides important AVIF capabilities.
  • Windows does not natively support AVIF, but you can install their free "AV1 Video Extension" from the app store to add support.

HDR (32-bit) images ***

HDR ("High Dynamic Range") images offer stunning improvements in image quality. Please see gregbenzphotography.com/hdr to learn all about it and set up your display properly.

Web Sharp Pro offers support to help export HDR (typically 32-bit) images from Photoshop as either HDR or SDR ("standard dynamic range"). This gives you the flexibility to share your image optimized for the capabilities of your audience's display capabilities. HDR images are typically 32-bits in Photoshop, but it should be noted that Lumenzia contains a feature to create 8/16-bit HDR images (which allows access to tools like the healing brush) and Web Sharp Pro is designed to use these special files as well.

See the file tab settings for full details on the options to manage HDR exports.

HDR gain map (Ultra HDR JPG) ***

The best way to share HDR images on the web is by using a "gain map". This is an enhancement of an image which offers the following benefits:

  • A single file effectively contains both the SDR and HDR version of the image. This simplifies asset management and ensures your viewers see the best possible version of the image on their display.
  • It replaces automatic tone mapping with interpolation between the SDR and and HDR version, resulting in higher quality results on displays which are HDR but do not have the full headroom required to display the HDR image as created.

Currently, gain maps for the JPG format are supported and may be viewed with Chrome, Brave, Opera, and Edge (requiring enabling a development flag as of Sept 2023, but likely to be a mainstream feature soon). Google calls this format "Ultra HDR JPG".

To export a JPG gain map from your HDR (32-bit) source file:

  • You must have ACR v15.5 or later installed
  • Settings / File / HDR Output should be "HDR"
  • Settings / File / HDR Format should be "JPG / AVIF (via ACR)"
  • When exporting and ACR opens, take the following steps:
    - Turn on "Preview for SDR Display" and adjust the sliders as desired to control the SDR version to be used in the gain map (you can leave the preview on or off when saving, it does not matter).
    - Click the save icon at top right (shortcut <ctrl/cmd>-S) and select format = JPG and make sure "HDR output" is checked.
    - When done, click "OK". This will save your SDR preview settings back to the source file so that you may re-use them next time you export the image.

Best ways to share with high quality

There are many surprising but important ways your JPGs may be manipulated or rendered after you have created them with Web Sharp Pro. Understanding these details may help you make important decisions around colorspace and JPG compression, as well as helping you choose platforms and workflows that best suit your goals for sharing your work.

A quick caveat: I can only test a small range of the available options, their capabilities may change over time (this section last updated April 2021), and I may have made a mistake or overlooked certain scenarios in my testing. So take all of this with an appropriate grain of salt and do you own testing (suggestions below on testing).

If you are hosting your own images on the web:

The good news is that support for embedded profiles these days is very good. The vast majority of your viewers will see images correctly with any embedded profile. However, due to the limitations of 8-bit images, some colorspaces are not a good choice. I would recommend targeting profiles with gammas 1.8 to 2.6 (ideally 2.2 to 2.4) and gamuts no larger than Rec.2020 for gammas that aren't in the target range. That leaves many great options including sRGB, P3, AdobeRGB, or Rec.2020 when sharing 8-bit JPG images for viewing only. Momentum appears to be behind webP as a growing format, but I don't believe there is a 16-bit specification and Photoshop does not yet support it (though most browsers do). It's unfortunate that JPEG2000 browser support is so limited.

So most people will properly see wide gamut images on your website (so long as you do not use any services which may reprocess your uploads). However, you may choose to stick with sRGB simply to be consistent given the following considerations with other uses because there are a lot of caveats (especially with social media).

If you are emailing an image:

I'm less certain how various email clients handle embedded profiles. The safe approach is to share sRGB unless you know the recipient is using a device and email platform/app which properly supports embedded profiles. And do not assume that your mail provider is just transmitting the images as is. If you want to avoid further re-compression of your image in Gmail for example, you should put the images into a ZIP or send a link to download.


Gmail has a very complicated set of things it does quietly. If you embed the image (visible in the body of the email), it will re-compress the image heavily (my 64k test image was squeezed to 12k and showed significant artifacts). If you send the image as an attachment (paperclip icon), it will not compress the image.

Bottom line: the best way to send images via Gmail (and perhaps other email services) is to either send your images inside a ZIP or as a link (to services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) to prevent color changes or re-compression. Google Drive will preview with similar problems, but you will get the true original when you download from Google Drive (without having to shield the images inside a ZIP).

[Side note on PNGs: If you embed or attach a PNG in the sRGB or ProPhoto RGB colorspace, it will strip the profile, resulting in substantial color error for the ProPhoto image. But if you embed or attach a PNG in the Image P3 or Display P3 colorspace, it will preserve the profile. The logic there seems to be based on looking at PNGs as a web asset and trying to support wide gamut P3 images, but without properly supporting all non-sRGB profiles.]

If you are texting an image:

I'm less certain how various email clients handle embedded profiles. The safe approach is to share sRGB unless you know the recipient is using a device and email platform/app which properly supports embedded profiles. And do not assume that your mail provider is just transmitting the images as is. If you

For iPhone, go to Settings / Messages and turn "Low Quality Image Mode" off. This will minimize the amount of re-processing, but not prevent it entirely. Note that even with this off, the JPG will be compressed more aggressively and the resolution will be reduced. Note that iMessage sent from a computer behaves differently and keeps the resolution, but still re-compresses the JPG. If low quality mode is on, the file will be made much smaller yet. Additionally, the colorspace is automatically converted from wide gamuts to "Apple Wide Gamut Color Sharing Profile", P3 will be converted to sRGB if the image does not contain significant color outside the sRGB gamut (but will be converted to Apple Wide Gamut if the image has a lot of content outside the sRGB gamut), and you cannot disable this color behavior either. Apple has clearly put a tremendous amount of thought into how they can create smaller files that will be acceptable to most users. However, many photographers may hold things to a higher standard (especially images captured on a mirrorless camera or DSLR) and I am unaware of any way to send an image via iMessage which fully preserves the image exactly as it is on your phone.

I'm not sure what settings and behavior may affect Android, be sure to test that what you send via text is received in the same resolution, with its colorspace still embedded, and in the intended resolution.

Bottom line: SMS and iMessage are fine if the intention is for the recipient to view on their phone and then ignore/delete it. But you should expect a loss of quality when sharing images via text and this is not a good option if you anticipate they will print the image, re-post with the desire for highest quality, or wish to save it permanently.

If you are using a file sharing service:

Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.com appear to leave your image intact (at least at the point when you finally download, the preview may be lower quality inside the app). AirDrop on an iPhone also preserves the original. So your files are safe / untouched, and the main consideration is the expected subsequent use (ie, will these go from the file sharing service to social media?)

If you are sharing via social media:

The general answer is you should use sRGB. However, you may be able to use wider gamut colorspaces if you can confirm they are supported. I would strongly recommend you test that (a) wide gamut colorspaces look ok on their websites / apps and (b) that the image still shows the same embedded profile (download it from the site and open it in Photoshop). Here's a quick rundown of testing I've done (current as of April 2021)


  • The conventional wisdom is that Instagram landscape / portrait posts should also be a certain size. My testing shows that this is incorrect or outdated. IG will show a good range of aspect ratios properly (the height of images in the feed varies, though the grid view is always a square). The single IG post template introduced in Web Sharp Pro v3.2 will automatically keep as much of your image as possible (only cropping when necessary, which you'll most likely see for full frame portraits as IG limits vertical images to 4:5). Be sure to click the button to expand to show the full image when uploading, as IG will suggest a square crop by default.
  • Instagram supports P3 to a degree. As of my testing in August 2022, it will let you upload a P3 image without clipping. However, it squeezes the color. The result is that your colors are not clipped (which is good), but they are significantly altered. It appears to be some kind of custom perceptual rendering intent to get from P3 to sRGB.
  • The final image is stripped of its embedded profile after upload. *
  • When you post from your phone, you may see a duplicate in your camera roll. This is a setting in IG. Go to your profile / Settings / Account / Original Photos and uncheck the option to save original photos to your camera roll. Note that on my phone, I still get this behavior even when I switch it off on one of my accounts (not all), appears to be a bug (as of April 2021).


  • The conventional wisdom is that Facebook landscape / portrait posts should also be a certain size. My testing shows that this is incorrect or outdated. FB will show a wide range of aspect ratios properly (it is much more flexible than Instagram, especially for tall images). The single FB post template introduced in Web Sharp Pro v3.2 will automatically keep as much of your image as possible (only cropping when necessary).
  • If the image is uploaded with an sRGB profile, it gets converted to a "C2" profile and renders correctly.
  • The small thumbnails shown in the post feed are untagged. *
  • If the image is uploaded with any other embedded profile, the final image is simply stripped of its embedded profile and may end up looking terrible. Do not upload to Facebook anything other than sRGB images.
  • Despite some reports that Facebook will not resize images below 100k, I saw resizing of all my test images including those under 100k. In all cases, I found the best final result when uploading with "ultimate" quality.

Bottom line: It is best to upload all images to social media in the sRGB colorspace with "ultimate" quality (they are going to recompress anyway and you'll see best results starting from a higher quality upload).

* When a website strips an embedded sRGB profile, it will often be properly interpreted as sRGB. But that is not always the case for all browsers. FireFox users may have problems unless they update color settings. See the browser color management tutorial for more details.

Browser color management

See this tutorial to learn how to test for and fix any color management issues with your own browser, as well as gain a better understanding of the impact of untagged images. Despite Web Sharp Pro helping to ensure that you export in sRGB with an embedded profile, most social media will strip this profile and that can cause an unwanted change in saturation with certain browser and monitor combinations. There's not much you can do about this aside from using sRGB for social media, but it's good to be aware.

Do your own testing:

Even if I've covered the tools you use above, I recommend you do your own testing for the reasons I stated above (and be sure to test your browser first to confirm it is showing accurate color). The best way to test is to upload your image and then view / download it from the service to confirm that it is either identical or changed within limits you consider acceptable. Here are key items to check:

  • Have pixel dimensions changed? This is most likely a factor when uploading full resolution images. I would avoid this if the intention is to print the image or to keep a permanent copy.
  • Has the file size changed or do you see increased artifacts? Either would indicate the JPG was compressed again during upload (especially if the file size is different). This isn't necessarily a problem, it depends on your images and expectations.
  • Has the embedded profile changed or been removed entirely? If so, be careful about using anything other than sRGB without further testing to confirm that any changes are not going to adversely affect the color of your images. This isn't necessarily a problem, but you should understand any changes if using wide gamuts.

The future of the web:

As good as things look now, they could be much better. Ideally we'd have wide gamut colorspace support across social media, HDR (wider dynamic range displays), as well as increased support for 16-bit images to avoid banding in certain edge cases. There are two main barriers to progress. One is the ultimate cost and speed impacts of sending higher quality images over the internet (embedded profiles add up, and 16-bits could really add up). I think the exponential growth curve of technology will solve that soon enough. The other is the glacial pace at which consensus is reached for broad support and adoption of standards across most web browsers. Photoshop already supports the excellent JPEG 2000 standard, which would give us an answer to all of this. But sadly, it has very little browser support and newer standards are going to be where the action is. "webP" is gaining traction, but is 8-bit only. The most likely candidates are JPEG-XL (aka JXL) and AVIF. There are arguments in favor of both, but AVIF seems promising simply because >60% of web browsers already support it vs 0% for JXL. And WebKit (the technology behind Safari) has support in test, which would substantially close the remaining gap to broad support. Neither is supported yet by Photoshop natively, but plugins or future updates to Photoshop could address that. Either way, I think we are stuck with 8-bit JPGs and small gamut social media for some years to come (even once browser support large bit-depths and new image formats). But this may change sooner than we think. So my advice is to prepare for the future and keep your original layered master files in a wide gamut space such as AdobeRGB so that you can take advantage of it when the time comes.

One particularly exciting possibility for the future is support for viewing HDR images on supporting monitors (the latest Apple XDR displays look amazing with HDR content). I suspect support for this format will grow significantly in the coming years.

Uploading workflows for social media or phone

Currently, there aren't available APIs to share Photoshop images directly with social media platforms. In many cases, uploading is a simple matter of dragging and dropping or pointing to the images on your computer, but you may be looking for better ways to get images on your mobile device or share on Instagram (which does not natively support desktop uploads). So this section is meant to provide some suggestions on workflows you might wish to adopt.

I don't know why, but Instagram does not support uploads from a computer. However, you can use 3rd party apps or simply force your website to show the mobile version of Instagram's website. See Hootsuite's article for more information on various options.

There are several ways to get images from your computer onto your phone:

  • Set up synced collections in Lightroom.
  • Get a free box.com, install Box Sync, and then export to a folder on your computer which you've set to automatically sync. This allows you to export directly from Web Sharp Pro to the cloud, and then access the files via Box's phone app.
  • Or similarly get a free Dropbox account and install their desktop sync application.
  • Drag and drop the images into Google Drive and then use their app on your phone. Google offers 15GB of free storage.
  • Email the images to yourself, then open and save the images on the phone. But beware of the issues above, as your email provider may further compress or alter the image if you don't ZIP the image.

Limiting file size

Occasionally, I get requests to limit the file to a specific size. You can do that with Web Sharp Pro by setting the quality dropdown to "custom: save JPG for the web". This lets you interactively see the expected file size at various quality levels. However, I recommend you use a different approach.

Outputting with a maximum file size means the quality is now variable and uncontrolled. You can easily end up with artifacts and other quality issues if you don't review the results when specifying file size instead of quality. File size is largest for more detailed images (due to the way compression works), which means your most detailed images are most likely to suffer low quality with this approach.

Instead, I recommend:

  • Set quality to "good". This is designed to offer a small image which look nearly the same as the original when viewed at 100%.
  • Use the webP or AVIF format if you can (they are smaller than JPG at the same quality).
  • Reduce the dimensions of the image if you can. When you send a large image (over say 2000 pixels), most 3rd-party sites will end up resizing the image. That means you're ultimately handing image quality decisions over to someone who isn't as skilled and concerned as you likely are.

You may also use a hybrid approach where you batch export with normal settings, and then use one of the approaches above to handle the few files which exceed your desired limit.

More demos

The Web Sharpen panel was originally created as a stand-alone script. While the interface has changed and the capabilities have expanded, the following videos are still great resources to learn more how to make the most of it. Settings for sharpening and grain have the same impact now in the panel as they did in the script.

Overview and comparison to other methods of sharpening

Adding grain for a dreamy, nostalgic feel

Crop Overlays

Note: As of v5.2, Web Sharp Pro users can use a combination of Quick Exports and Saved Settings to accomplish nearly anything the crop overlays offer. The Quick Exports are simpler to use and generally recommended. The Crop Overlays still offer a few unique advantages including: the ability to slice the image into rows & columns, the ability to add a visual overlay (which is not part of the image, such as safe zones to guide cropping), as well as compatibility with existing crop overlays you may have created with older versions of the panel.

Both the free and Pro panels come with a set of default overlay templates which you may use, edit, or replace with your own. You may also add your own overlays to the master template using the instructions below.

The "Crop Overlay" button is primarily used to import crop overlays from the master template to your image (it has additional capabilities outlined below). The overlays allow you to interactively pick the perfect crop, as well as automatically set the output dimensions for specific uses (such as uploading a landscape image to Instagram).

Importing overlays into your image:

  • Click "Crop Overlay" to add overlays to your image (these will be pulled from the template, which may be customized per the options below). The overlays will be sized to include as much of the image as possible (or the entire image if you are using the advanced editor option for letterbox as described below).
  • Resize (via <ctrl/cmd>-T or Edit / Free Transform) and position any crop as needed. The only thing that affects the crop are the outer dimensions of the overlay (any grids or other interior details just serve as a visual guide and do not affect the crop). Note that master templates which only specify a height or width will automatically assume the document ratio and be resized to fit the image into which they are imported.
  • Make sure the crop overlay layers you wish to use are visible (click the eyeball icon for the layer) and then click "Sharpen". All visible crops will be used to create a new output. If multiple crops are visible, multiple versions of the sharpened image will be created.
  • Hidden overlays will normally be ignored by "Sharpen", but you may may change this via Settings / Crop Overlays / "Use overlays marked visible to use overlays when the main group is hidden", which is a handy way of using overlays without leaving them visible.
  • When you are done sharpening: You may leave the crops in your image by hiding the group (which is a convenient way to save your preferred crops for later use). Or you may delete the entire group of specific overlays, either manually or by <alt/option>-click Overlay to quickly delete the group.

Note: If you have used anything other than 0% for "dim cropped areas" setting, the cropping overlay group will include a sub-group which helps make it easier to visualize the crop. Do not edit that group or its contents.

Additional capabilities: If you click "Crop Overlay" when you have existing overlays, you will be presented with the following options:

  • Create a custom one-off overlay: This allows you to add a unique template to the current image without permanently adding it to the master template. You may do the same by <shift>-clicking "Crop Overlay", and is the only way to add a one-off if you have no other overlays in the document already.
  • Select overlays to add from template: This allows you to add any overlays from the master template, regardless of whether they are visible or hidden. You may do the same by <alt/option-clicking "Crop Overlay".
  • Add any missing overlays from template: This is a convenient way of updating the image with new overlays in the master template or which may need to be reloaded, without removing the other existing templates.
  • Reload the overlays: Clear all overlays and import again.
  • Clear the overlays: Remove all overlays and generic masks from the current image.
  • Add generic sharpening mask: Allows you to add a generic mask if it was not originally created or needs to be reloaded.
  • Add generic grain mask: Allows you to add a generic mask if it was not originally created or needs to be reloaded.

See the details below on general settings which affect crop overlay behavior, appearance, and the master template (Settings / Crop Overlays).

Overlay Editor ***

The overlay editor is a Pro-only feature which allows you to easily create new overlay templates. To access the overlay editor, open your master template file by <ctrl/cmd>-clicking the "Crop Overlay" button or by going to Settings / Crop Overlays / Edit Template. If you are using the free panel, you can still use the same sequence to open the template to edit manually (see instructions below for manually editing overlays).

When the template file is open, the panel interface will update to show the following buttons:

  • + Overlays: Click this to open the overlay editor interface. Its use is described in detail below. This is the simplest and most common way to edit the templates.
  • Overlay tips: The name of each overlay layer determines how it will be used (the output size, etc). The overlay tips button opens a cheat sheet describing the naming convention to be used on the layers if you wish to make manual edits after creating templates using +Overlays (or if you are using the free panel, which does not include the overlay editor). Manually editing the layer name is a helpful way to adjust the settings when applying the template to a specific file (for example, you may wish to add overlays to an image and then update the template name to preserve the specific sharpening % you wish to use on that image).

If you wish to permanently delete a template, just delete that layer. But if you wish to simply stop importing (without deleting it forever), you may make it hidden.

When you are done editing the template file, just close it (and be sure to save changes).

Note: The Adobe CC Installer deletes all panel-specific data if you uninstall a panel. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you back up any custom templates you create. See the section below on backing up.

The template editor has both "basic" and "advanced" options.

The "basic" options include:

  • Name: This gives the template a name for your reference when using the overlays. It is required, but does not affect processing other than for targeting sub-folders when requested in general settings.
  • Ratio: This allows you to choose whether height and width are manually specified or will be based on a ratio.
  • Height and width: These determine the final output image area. If you are using a ratio, you can specify one of these and the other will be set automatically. Just enter the one you wish to specify.
  • Add overlay grid: This adds an optional visualization layer with a golden ratio grid. It has no effect on output and is just meant to aid in resizing and positioning the crop as needed for a given image.

The "advanced" options include all the above, plus several additional features.

Safe width/height: This adds an optional layer to help visualize the safe areas of an image which may be covered or cropped in some use (for example, landscape images on Instagram are shown with a square crop in the grid view, and it may be helpful to know exactly what may not be shown at all times). This extra layer has no effect on output and is just meant to aid in resizing and positioning the crop as needed for a given image.

The rows / columns section allows you to split the final output, such as to make Instagram sliders. The splitting is done when the image is saved (if you are leaving images open, you won't see the split until clicking "Save" in the panel).

  • Columns: This allows you to split the final image into columns, so that you may break the image for sliders, panoramas, etc. If you additionally specify a column width, the columns may be set to be overlapping.
  • Column Width: If left blank, the image will be split into equal-width columns with no overlap. If you specify a value, each split will be exactly the specified width. A text note at the bottom of the editor shows how the image slices will be sized and overlap, and you may see warnings for invalid combinations (such as too few columns at a given width to fully cover the overall image width). This is a complex feature and it is highly recommended that you watch the advanced editor tutorial video to use it.
  • Rows and Row Height: These work similarly to columns.

Note when working with very large images: The ideal grain "size" are affected by the output size. For example, a single 1080p image may ideally use grain size 25, while the same grain appearance for 10 columns that are 1080p each would be just 5. As a general rule, larger images should use smaller grain size (because this is how Adobe ACR applies grain, it is dependent on the image size). To a lesser degree, you may also wish to increase the amount of sharpening when outputting larger images.

The Fill section includes nearly the same options as seen for quick exports in the main settings. A few things to note:

  • Be sure to see the borders video above, which also shows overlay templates towards the end.
  • You'll see an option to fill with "content aware". This will will attempt to fill in open areas with similar content, such as to crop just outside the top of the image and expand the sky.
  • When using overlay templates, only the settings in the template will apply (ie, the corresponding general settings are not used as a fallback, if the template does not request a border, it will not get one regardless of the quick export settings).

The rotate and override sections include:

  • Rotate: This allows you to have the final output rotated, which may be useful for certain cases such as preparing a landscape image to be viewed fully on a smart phone.
  • Override sharpening %: When this is used, the overlay will be processed with the requested sharpening amount, regardless of the current general settings in the panel. This is useful for batch processing with different amounts customized for each image as well as saving optimal values for a given image for future re-use. While you may use this in the template editor, it is most useful for manually editing the overlay as imported into a specific image (you may put it in the template and edit the number later, or just add _##S as needed to any overlay when imported).
  • Override grain %: This works similarly to the sharpening override, just for the grain amount. There is no editor interface for grain size/roughness (as editing these is rare), but you may use the flags _##GR and _##GS as noted in the "Overlay tips" button.

The simplest way to create new templates is by using the quick export template editor in the Pro panel, but you may also create and revise your own templates manually with the free panel. And even if you are using the Pro panel, you may wish to revise an existing template (either in the master template or to customize how it is used after importing it into a specific image). The video above on the basic interface for the ProPro editor also discusses the key principles for editing your own templates.

If you wish to change an existing template and are using Web Sharp Pro v5.1 or later, you may click on the template in layers (it must be active) and then click the button in the panel to create an overlay. It will populate with the values from the selected template and show a button which allows you to replace it (or you can add a new overlay instead). So this allows a simple way to update settings or create variations of a given template.

You can also edit the overlay templates manually. A few general concepts to know about how the master templates work:

  • The exterior dimensions of the layer determine the crop. It is the aspect ratio which is important. The Pro template editor will take care of this for you, but if you are editing manually, the simplest way to ensure proper sizing is to create a rectangle in the same dimensions as the output (shapes can safely run off the edges of the canvas or you can increase canvas size if you are creating very large outputs). If this shape does not match the size requested per the layer name, the layer name size will take priority and the final output will be cropped as needed (pixels are never stretched or squished).
  • You may place interior guides inside the outer cropping rectangle. This may include warnings for areas which may be hidden in some uses (such as the far edges of a landscape image shown as a square in Instagram's grid view). You may also use it to create overlay guides, such as the golden ratio overlays in the default templates. For such advanced templates, it is recommended to create the template as a Smart Object in order to build it from multiple layers (double-click the layers in the template file to see examples of this).
  • The overlay layer name (which is the name of the top-level group if using groups) contains special flags which determines the output size and other options. You can see a reference of the expected format and options relevant to your version of the panel anytime you have the overlay template open by simply clicking the green "Overlay Tips" button in the panel. For example, you could request a 1500x1000 pixel output by using _1500w_1000h in the layer name (this should match the overall dimensions of the overlay layer). The Pro template editor will take care of this for you, but if you are editing manually, be sure to follow the naming convention carefully (typos will result in the option simply being ignored when you use the overlay).
  • In addition to any flags (such as _1500w) you may use in the template name, you are free to give it a meaningful label such as "Instagram" to help organize your work. This portion of the name has no effect on the output, but will be added as a keyword in the metadata of the final image (along with "Web Sharp:"). This keyword is meant to give you an easy way to find and sort your images in Lightroom if you prefer to keep permanent copies of the output. Note when searching LR for phrases such as "web sharp" which contain spaces, you should change the keyword text parameter from from "contains" to "contains all" or "contains words" (other wise, "contains" will simply look to find images which contain at least one of the words and not necessarily that exact phrase).
  • Removing overlays from the template: When the template is used to create overlays, only visible layers in the template are used to create overlays. Hidden layers are ignored by default (though there is a Pro setting that lets you also use hidden layers if preferred). Making layers hidden in the template is a good way to stop using a cropping template, while preserving it for later. Alternatively, you can simply delete the overlay from the template permanently.
  • The crop layers may be normal pixel layers, Smart Objects, shape layers, or groups of layers. Adjustment layers provide no size information and are invalid (they will be ignored when using the overlay on an image). The recommended approach is to use shape layers in a group. This offers the greatest flexibility to revise the design and has minimal impact on file size when importing the overlays into an image.

One-off Overlays ***

There may be times when you wish to simply create an overlay for just the current image and do not wish to add it to the master template. In this case, you may create an instance of an overlay right in one of your source images. Just <shift>-click "Crop Overlays" (you will also be prompted with this choice if you click "Crop Overlays" and there are already overlays in the image). This will invoke the same template editor, but you will be creating a one-off template in the current image (not adding it to the master template).

Generic sharpening / grain masks ***

If you need to customize the application of sharpening/grain through layer masks, you can simply use the option to leave an image open and then customize its mask. However, you may also wish to avoid repeat creation of masks when working with multiple overlays in the same image or to save the mask with your original image for later use. The generic mask options under Settings / Crop Overlay allow you to do just that.

When the generic mask option is enabled and you import overlays or create a new one-off, you will see an extra layer labeled something like {sharpening mask}. It will be filled with white pixels by default (though you can change this in Settings to black or to protect the sky from sharpening) and the layer will have an orange label in the layers panel. This represents the sharpening or grain mask. Just paint white or black as you would normally. Then when exporting the image, this will be used to mask sharpening and grain for all your overlays. This works regardless of cropping, output size, or other settings. And these masks are used for all output of the image (including when the overlays are turned off or skipped by <shift>-clicking "Sharp").

To help visualize the masking, this layer is set by default to multiply blending mode at reduced opacity. Areas you mask out by painting black will be darkened, and the brighter areas will thus be where more sharpening and grain is applied. When the sharpening is run, these layers will always be used if available. You do not need to make them visible, and you are free to change the layer blend mode or opacity if that makes it easier for you to visualize (blend mode and opacity in the generic mask will be ignored and this layer will be used with the pixels exactly as they look in the layer thumbnail).

Troubleshooting Issues

If you run into any problems or warning messages, here are some tips... Be sure to update if you aren't on the latest version of Web Sharp Pro.

Warning: The crop dimensions are inconsistent with the final dimensions...

This message is shown when using a cropping overlay who's aspect ratio does not match the output ratio. Common reasons for this and solutions include:

  • The crop overlay was not resized proportionally. Be careful to ensure that when you resize a crop overlay that you hold <shift> if the lock icon is off in the toolbar or turn on the lock icon. Be careful that <shift> toggles the lock, so whether it is good or bad to hold <shift> critically depends on that toolbar setting.
  • The template has dimensions in its layer name that do not match the aspect ratio of the layer => Make sure the template is properly designed, check the outermost edges, check the height and width in the template layer name are valid, watch out for anything that extends outside your intended cropping rectangle in the template.
  • The output size is being specified via the panel settings rather than from the overlay template. This may occur because the settings checkbox to use the height and width from the template is unchecked, or because the layer name for the template is incorrect.

Note that the panel is designed so that the image is always resized proportionally. So even if there is a mistake here, it will not cause stretching. Instead, it will cause the final crop to be different (even if only slightly) from the preview.

Warning: Crop extends beyond the edge of the image

This warning is shown when any portion of the crop overlay is beyond the edge of the image canvas, even if by 1 pixel. Check that the crop overlay is properly aligned when resizing or moving at the edges of the document. Photoshop's snapping feature may sometimes be off by a pixel or two when moving while zoomed out, so be sure to zoom in and inspect closely.

You should also check that the template does not have any stray pixels outside your intended cropping rectangle, such as parts of guides, text or other information you may have put into the overlay template.

I cannot see the panel:

Look under the Plugins menu at the top of Photoshop and click to open the panel. If it is not listed in the plugins menu, then it either has not been installed or has been disabled. If disabled, go to Plugins / Manage Plugins in Photoshop to find the plugin and click the "Enable" button.

Updating & Uninstalling

How to update or uninstall the Web Sharp or Web Sharp Pro UXP panels:

Please see this page to update or uninstall any UXP panel.

Warning: If uninstall a UXP panel, the Creative Cloud app will also delete all internal data saved with that app. This includes any customization you have made to the templates. I recommend backing up your templates before uninstalling. In the Pro panel, go to Settings / Crop Overlay / Export template for the overlay templates and then go to Settings / Main / Edit quick export sizes / Export to back up any customization of the dropdown quick exports. If you are using the free panel, you won't have these options. Just go to Settings / Crop Overlay / Edit Template to open the template and then "save as" to create a backup in another folder (the free panel does not offer customization of the dropdown, so there is nothing to do there).

To uninstall the free Web Sharp script (this is the version that shows under the Filter menu and is not a panel):

Uninstalling the script is simply a matter of removing it from the scripts folder for your version of Photoshop. You're looking for a single file with a name similar to Web Sharpen (Benz)-v1-2-1.jsx.

On MacOS: go to Applications/Adobe Photoshop ####/Presets/Scripts.
On Windows: go to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop ####\Presets\Scripts

Note: You may have put the script in a subfolder of the Scripts folder, which is also a valid location for Photoshop to load.