Automating repetitive file and folder tasks with Folder Actions Setup

Something I have found myself recommending to users in my training courses every now and then is a handy built-in OS X feature for automating actions you regularly perform on files inside a folder.

For example, perhaps you have taken lots of photos on holiday and want to convert them from a JPEG to a TIFF file. Or, you have photos that you took in Portrait view but wish for them to be in Landscape mode. If you had a large amount of photos, this would be a long and tedious task in order to rotate and covert each photo.

Luckily, help is at hand in the form of ‘Folder Actions’.

Located in /System/Library/Core Services, is a handy little Application called ‘Folder Actions Setup.app’. Even better as this is available as a contextual menu item with a control/Right-click on a file or folder!

Those clever people at Apple have written scripts for us, which we can use to execute on files and folders of our choice to make our lives that little bit easier.

Here’s one example which you can use to convert a photo from a .jpg to a .tiff file and also to rotate the photo 90º just by adding the photo into a folder which has these Folder Actions enabled:

Step 1 -

Create an empty folder that you wish to place your photos into. (I have created a folder titled ‘Holiday Photos 2013′).

Step 2 -

Control/Right-click on the folder and select ‘Services’ and then ‘Folder Actions Setup…’

Create an empty folder that you wish to place your photos into. (I have created a folder titled 'Holiday Photos 2013').

 

Folder Actions Setup

Step 3 -

You should now be presented with a selection of commands. I’m going to select the ‘Image – Duplicate as TIFF.scpt’:

select the Image - Duplicate as TIFF.scpt

 

Step 4 -

With the desired script selected, click the ‘Attach’ button to add this script to your folder as a folder action as shown below:

add this script to your folder as a folder action as shown below

 

Step 5 -

I’m going to click the right-hand ‘+’ button to add a second script to this folder and select the ‘Image – Rotate Right.scpt’:

Image - Rotate Right.scpt

 

Step 6 -

I now have a folder, which has two folder actions set on it. Any image that I add to this ‘Holiday Photos 2013′ folder will now be duplicated as a TIFF file and rotated 90º to the right:

duplicated as a TIFF file and be rotated 90º right

 

Step 7 -

Upon adding the first .jpg photo into this folder, the folder actions kick in and create three folders. One for holding the original image, one to display the result of the rotated image and one to display the result of the duplicated TIFF file:

display the result of the duplicated TIFF file

 

Step 8 -

Inside the ‘Rotated Images’ folder is the result of the ‘Image – Rotate Right.scpt’ as shown below:

Image - Rotate Right.scpt

 

Step 9 -

Inside the ‘TIFF Images’ folder is the result of the ‘Image – Duplicate as TIFF.scpt’ as shown below:

Image - Duplicate as TIFF.scpt

I only added one image into this folder just to demonstrate its features, but you get the idea that if I were to add 100 images in one go – all the images would be affected. Therefore making this a much easier task to duplicate and rotate all those photos.

Ever better is the fact that you can add your own scripts or edit the existing ones.

Disclaimer:

While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

This feature has been tested using OS X v10.8.2, which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing and also using the latest Internal and external Apple keyboards.

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