How to Make a Contact Sheet in Photoshop

How to make a contact sheet is an essential skill for students who use Photoshop. A contact sheet is a one-page document that has thumbnails of photos arranged in a grid. It is an excellent way to show multiple images in one publication. It is commonly used to show a summary of images, allowing others to choose their favorite proof from a photo collection. However, this is not its only purpose.

Showcase Student Work Using a Contact Sheet

A contact sheet can be printed. The publication can then be displayed in the school hallway or classroom bulletin board. This is an excellent way to showcase student activities or school work.

As well, a contact sheet can be shared electronically. The file can be exported as either a PDF file or picture file. These can then be shared with friends or family members. The files can be linked or embedded onto a school web page, blog, or social media platform. In addition, the files can also be sent as email attachments.

Photoshop Contact Sheet
Showcase Student Work Using a Contact Sheet

Prepare to Make a Contact Sheet

Prior to completing the How to Make a Contact Sheet Instructions, gather the images for the contact sheet and place them into a folder. You will want the thumbnails to be easily seen. If the purpose of the contact sheet is to showcase student activities or school work, the thumbnails should be fairly large. You may only want to include 4-6 photos. The more photos you plan to include, the smaller the thumbnails will be – making them more difficult to see.

It is a good idea to plan ahead. Consider the grid pattern you intend to use. Based on this decision, select the number of photos. For example, a 2×2 grid requires 4 photos; 2×3 grid requires 6 photos; and a 3×3 grid requires 9 photos.

How to Make a Contact Sheet Instructions

  1. Open Photoshop CC.
  2. From the File menu, click Automate.
  3. Select Contact Sheet II…
  1. Select the files to include in the scrapbook:
    • From the Use: box, choose Files.
    • Click Browse… and go to the location of your scrapbook folder.
    • Select each scrapbook page. Click OK.
Pick Contact Sheet Files
Pick Contact Sheet Files
  1. Select the contact sheet options:
    • In the Document area, set the paper size.
    • From the Mode box, select CMYK Color.
    • From the Thumbnails area, set the Columns to 2 and the Rows to 3.
    • At the bottom of the Contact Sheet II dialog box, decide if you would like to include the Filename as Caption. If you do not, clear the checkbox.
    • When finished, click OK.
Customize Contact Sheet Settings
Customize Contact Sheet Settings
  1. Save as a Photoshop file:
    • From the File menu, select Save As.
    • Name the file Contact Sheet.
    • Select Photoshop as the file type.
    • Click Save.
  1. Export a file as a PNG:
    • From the File menu, select Export.
    • Select Quick Export as a PNG.
    • Name the file Contact Sheet.
    • Click Save.
  1. Save as a PDF file:
    • From the File menu, select Save As.
    • Name the file Contact Sheet.
    • Select PDF as the file type.
    • Click Save.

Contact Sheet, PDF Presentation, or Web Photo Gallery

Photoshop has many output options. How to make a contact sheet is one option. Other options include exporting a Photoshop file as a PDF or picture file. Photoshop can also transform a collection of photos into a PDF presentation with transitions or a web photo gallery. Detailed instructions are available in the technology project TechnoPhotoshop.

Christa Love

Christa Love, Curriculum Developer & Teacher ~ I am passionate about blending technology into curriculum. Whether it is programming, video production, graphic design, or digital citizenship, I am interested in how apps and tools can be used to enhance learning. Throughout the years I have designed many TechnoKids technology projects. My favorite part of curriculum development is field-testing the ideas to determine the activities that work best in real classrooms. I write about what I have learned that can save teachers time in their own curriculum planning.

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