Automator is the often-overlooked Mac OS X software that is hiding away in your Applications folder. Many people just glance over this unassuming robotic icon, unaware of the power it holds.
Have you ever wanted to quickly rename hundreds of files or apply the same edits to thousands of photos en masse? Or do you have to perform redundant modifications, such as format changes, or smaller bundles of files? Ever wish you could streamline and automate these processes? Well you can certainly do so with Automator. Take a look at these three interesting feats this software can perform.
Automatically resize photos. This is particularly useful if you're trying to get a bunch of images ready to publish on a blog. With Automator, you can create a menu item to automatically resize a group of photos, or even save your Automator workflow as an icon. Once you drag and drop a batch of images on this Automator icon, and they will all resize to set dimensions.
Get started by launching Automator. Search for the "Scale Images" action, then drag and drop it into your workflow. Type in the pixel size you wish to scale all of your images to. For an extra flourish, you can also add an additional step, so that Automator saves the images as a specific file type, like JPEG or PNG. Just drag and drop "Change Type of Images" into Step 2 of your workflow and choose your desired image format. Save the workflow and run it whenever you come across image batches that need to be resized.
Create a series of custom file names. So you just came back from a business trip, and you've imported a ton of photos from your camera to your computer. However, the file names are gibberish, just long sequences of digits and numbers.
You want to give some type of organizational meaning to the file names, but renaming hundreds of these shots individually is too time consuming. Launch Automator instead, and snag the "Ask for Finder Items" action. Drag it into your workflow and check off "Allow Multiple Selection." This allows you to rename multiple photos at the same time.
Drag and drop the "Rename Finder Items" action into Step 2 of your workflow. Select customizable filename attributes, such as adding unique text and sequential numbers to your file name. For example, you can rename your work photos to "BusinessTrip01.jpg," "BusinessTrip02.jpg" and so on. Once you are satisfied with the custom file names, then click on the "Run" button and select your batch of photos to rename them.
Save text from PDF files. If you want to strip all the formatting from a PDF and just look at the text, you can do so with a quick, single-step Automator workflow. Drag and drop the action "Extract PDF Text" into your workflow. Choose whether you'd like plain text or rich text format. Define where you'd like to save the text, and whether you want to give it a unique filename.
Automator can save you immense amounts of time when you have to perform redundant tasks on a Mac. Once you become a workflow master, you'll be able to automate complex workflows and complete your work faster. Have fun exploring the endless batch automation opportunities of this built-in Mac software.