Software: Ulead PhotoImpact 12
Author: MaryLou White
Home Page: Wishing Well Tutorials Title: Quick Command Panel Basics
Skill Level: Beginner

Description: The Quick Command Panel (QCP) allows you to record and store repetitive tasks so you can use them over and over again with just the click of a mouse. For this tutorial, we will cover only the basics features of this tool.

Additional Files:
Optional: Photo #1 Photo #2
To use these photos, click on link, then right-click to save to your computer.

PhotoImpact 12 has several preset work modes. For this tutorial, we will be using the Full Edit mode so all of the tools in PhotoImpact will be available to you.

As you work, use your mouse to drag this along with you to mark your place.


With the Quick Command Panel you can create "tasks" that will allow you to do repetitive actions with one click of the mouse. If you save your "task" or, as they are sometimes called, macros, you can use them over and over again.

When you record a task, every action you take is recorded in memory. If you change an image size, apply an effect, expand a border, - everything is being recorded as if by a tiny camera. When you're finished, you simply click the Stop button to end the recording and the task is stored in the Quick Command Panel. The next time you want to accomplish this same task, click on the Play button and watch it work.

The Quick Command Panel is located on the right side of your PhotoImpact Screen on the Panel Manager. It is the one with the little triangle in the middle. Open the Panel Manager and click on the Task Tab. This is where you can activate an existing task or create a new one using the Record, Play, and Stop icons.

Recording a Simple Task

Open an image in PhotoImpact. Feel free to use one of the images above or one of your own. We are going to automate the task of resizing an image to 125 pixels tall and adding a white border with a black outline.

Open the Quick Command Panel and click on the Task Menu Tab. Click the Menu Commands Icon\select New. This will open the second dialogue box. Enter a Descriptive name for your task but do not hit enter.

Now comes the fun. We are ready to record our task. Follow these steps exactly as written. If you make a mistake, you can always start over.

  1. Click the Record icon. All steps will now be recorded until you click the Stop icon.

  2. Click Adjust\Resize on the main menu. Make sure your size is in pixels.

  3. Change the height to 125 pixels and make sure Keep Aspect Ratio is checked. The width will auto adjust. Click OK. This will resize your image to 125 pixels high.

  4. Click Adjust\Expand Canvas on the main menu. When the next menu comes up, change the Expand color to white and put a value of 8 pixels in one of the size boxes and check Expand All Sides Equally. Click Okay. This adds a white border 8 pixels wide to the image.

  5. Repeat Step 4 but change the Expand color to black and enter a value of 1 pixel in one of the four size boxes. Click OK. This adds a black border 1 pixel wide to the image.

  6. Click the Stop button on the Quick Command Panel. You have just recorded a new task!
You should have a small thumbnail sized image similar to the one below. Notice that the QCP shows each step that was recorded. Click on each of the three steps to verify. Just for fun, click on the second command, click okay, click the third one, click okay. This should produce a double box around your image. If you wish to omit a step when running a task, just uncheck that step and it will be skipped.

Now let's test our task to make sure it works properly. Open another image in PhotoImpact. Click on the Quick Control Panel icon to open (if not already open). Click on the Task tab. Find your new task in the small dropdown window. Click the Play button and watch the magic!

It's a good idea to export (save) your own tasks to your hard drive so they aren't overwritten if you should have to reinstall the program. Make a folder on your hard drive where you store your PhotoImpact files. MyTasks is a good name.

Click on the Task Menu Commands Icon and select Task Manager. This will open the second dialogue box where you can perform a variety of tasks. You will also see a list of the tasks that are currently installed.

TIP: The tasks are store in alpha order. If you want to keep yours grouped together, use your initials as a prefix. I use A- in front of all my task names so it keeps mine grouped together and the letter A causes them to be near the top of the list.

Click once on your new task to select, then click the Export button. Navigate to the folder you created for storing your tasks and click Save.

Tasks can be shared with other PI users but care must be taken when doing so. If you use an effect or something they don't have installed in PI, the task will not work for them. It's a good idea to copy the tasks you receive from others into your task folder so you know where to find it.

To import a task, open the QCP and go to the Task Manager. This time, click Import and navigate to your MyTask folder. Click on the task you want, click Open. Task files will have a .tsk file extender name. You now have a new task in your QCP!

There is much more to this powerful tool than has been shown here, including the ability to add your tasks to the Easy Palette, however, it is beyond the scope of a beginner tutorial.


Exercise 1

Ulead has created an interesting task called Holiday Color Sketching Effect or as it is more commonly called, ColorSketch. In this exercise, you will download and install this task, then use it on an image. Download Colorsketch, unzip, and import it into your Quick Control Panel.

Apply the ColorSketch task to one of your own images. The results are not being shown here but you will be pleasantly surprised.


Open one of your favorite images. On the menu, select Photo\Enhance\Monochrome, then apply the ColorSketch task. The possibilites with this simple task are endless. Try applying the task a second time for a more dramatic effect.

Exercise 2 (optional)

Use your own image and apply a different effect - use one that is included in your version of PhotoImpact. You might be surprised at some of the interesting effects such as the Painting on the Wall task. If you see one you like, look at the steps used to create it. This is a good way to learn more about creating them.

You're invited to join the PIRC Fourm! This is an active PhotoImpact Forum where you'll find a wonderful group of warm, friendly, talented, and knowledgeable people who are ready and willing to share their expertise with you. There are creative activities for all levels of PhotoImpact users. This forum is 100% free and everyone is welcome.

Copyright© MaryLou White.
This document may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated without permission.