Automator - just one MORE reason why I use an Apple Mac....

Mac vs PC debates have raged through the ages, of course. And I can't hope to summarise the pros and cons of each in a simple blog post here. But I did want to shout about something that delighted me in recent months about my Mac and that's discovering how to use the Automator utility.

Here's the use case. I had a bunch of photos and screenshots, all of which I wanted resized to 600 pixels wide, for inclusion in a Wordpress blog post elsewhere. Painstakingly, I opened each in Seashore (v0.1.9, the older one, is the best to use, IMHO) and resampled down, then saved. There must be a better way, I thought.

I started browsing through the Mac App Store and did find a few batch resizers, but they all cost money and seemed too complicated. I wonder.... I remembered seeing Automator a few times in my app list on the Mac, so I gave it a whirl:

  1. Start Automator
  2. Click on 'Application'
  3. Click on 'Photos'
  4. Drag the 'Scale images' action to the application pane (you'll be prompted to add a 'copy' action, so as not to replace the originals - this is a good idea for most people)
  5. Change the scale value as needed
  6. Use 'File/Save' to name and save the application somewhere sensible (e.g. the Applications folder)
  7. Drag this application onto the Mac's dock

And that's it. Took all of 45 seconds. Now, when I want a batch of images scaled down to 600 pixels wide, I just drag them all en masse from Finder to the icon on the dock. A few seconds later, the OS has done its work and my images are ready.

In fact, it proved so easy that I made a second one, for resizing to 800 pixels (for the All About sites). 

Then, a month later, I had a similar problem. I was creating (and downloading) a lot of images in PNG format (from screenshots, usually) but they were all way too big in terms of byte size. What I wanted was to convert them all on an ad-hoc basis to JPG. Again... I wonder....?

Automator to the rescue again, this time using the 'Change type' action from the 'Photos' section. Again, I now just drag any PNGs onto this icon on my Mac dock and bingo, they're all JPGs.*

This facility to just 'create' utilities with zero programming knowledge, and all built into the OS, is just tremendous - and, as something of a beginner, I feel as though I've only just scratched the surface of Automator here! See here for a list of 10 top uses in more detail.

* in fact, I also often then drag these files into JPEGmini, also a useful tool!


eranbeard said…
Thanks for this Steve! Have you found a way to resize and run the images through JPEG mini via one Automator script?

Popular posts from this blog

Troubleshooting Renault engine noise

Scam? Forbury Retail Park parking and Suicidal Retailers

PureView zoom alive and well on non-Nokia phones. (Zooming losslessly on Android)