How To Create Automator Quick Actions

MacOS Mojave and Catalina have a very handy feature called Quick Actions. I have covered how to create a Quick Action in a previous article. I have been thinking about other ways to use Quick Actions. It occurred to me that before Editing an important document I sometimes will make a copy of the document just to be safe. Because I work this way, I decided to setup a Quick Action using the Automator App to perform this Copy function. Here is how that works.

Automator Quick Actions

Don’t let using the Automator App scare you. Creating simple processes in Automator is really easy. To create the Copy Action begin by opening the Automator App and selecting Quick Action form the drop down menu:

Automator Quick Action

Once you are in the Quick Action area you have to tweak a couple of Settings. First, set the “Workflow Receives” pop up to Files and Folders:

Files and Folders

Next, set the “in” popup to Finder app:


So we are using this Action on Files and Folders in the Finder area. 

Next, click in the Search Box in the Actions area and type “Copy”:

Action Copy

Double-click “Copy Finder Items” to place it into the editing area on the right. You could use “Duplicate Finder Items” if you prefer.

Now once this action is in the editing area you need to choose where to copy the File or Folder To, so click the dropdown and choose whatever you prefer:

Document Folder

I chose the Documents folder because I want the duplicate file to be right next to the one I am working on. You could create another folder somewhere if you wanted to keep these files separate. Once I am satisfied with my Edits of the file I can Delete the copy.

When you are finished creating this Quick Action you have to save and name it:

Save File

Now when you are finished go into the Finder and select a file to copy. You will see the Quick Actions menu to the right of the file name:

Quick Actions

If you do not see your newly created Quick Action just click on the drop down icon and it will appear. If you would like to move your Quick Action over so it always appears in the default actions just select “Customize”:


You will see your Copy file action. Click and Hold on Copy file and drag it up in the Quick Actions list:

Copy file Drag

Now when you go back to the Finder your Quick Action will automatically show up:

Copy File Finder

That is all there is to it. It really is a good idea to explore the Automator App to see what things you can create. You don’t have to be a scripting genius to create simple workflows in Automator.

I am sure you are thinking you can use the “Revert To” command to accomplish this in your document. While that is true, some Apps do not have a “Revert To” feature and to be honest, it does not always work as advertised. If your document is important enough, maybe something you have done a ton of work on, then using this Copy Action might be the safest way to proceed.


Using the Automator App can be intimidating, but it really is pretty user friendly. If you think you do not need this Copy Action, then look around in the App and see if you cannot create something else to automate your workflow.