Automating Workflows

I am not really great at this, but lately I have been trying to automate some my more simpler yet time-consuming workflows on my Mac. I use KeyBoard Maestro, Automator and Hazel to do most of this stuff. I want to show you one example of automating something I do at least once and sometimes several times a day.

Blog Featured Images

When you read the Macessence blog you see a featured image (thumbnail) next to each article. You know the old saying, “One picture is worth a thousand words.” Those thumbnail images are usually obtained from my Mac Finder or online. When I add those thumbnails to my blog editing App, I have to set them to a certain size. I usually open them in the Preview App and go through a few steps to size them appropriately. Then, I drag them into my New Blog Icons folder on my Desktop for easy access. I decided to automate this workflow a bit, here is how I did it.

I started by opening the Automator App. All I wanted to do here is make a small Folder Action that scales images to 250 pixels. I started by creating a new Folder Action (File/New):

Folder Action

As you can see you can create all kinds of different workflows with Automator. Once the Folder Action has been created Automator presented this window:

Action Window

You have to click on the Folder drop down menu, navigate to the Folder you wish to use for this workflow and select it.

Next, all I did was do a search for “Scale” in that little search box in the left column and add the “Scale Images” Action to the workflow:

Scale Images

You can scale by pixel size or percentage. The Scale Images Action defaults to 480 pixels. In my case, I need images that are close to 250 pixels. Once you save this Action, you are good to go.

I downloaded a Mac Icon from the Internet called Turquoise Mac:

Get Info

You can see it is 512 x 512 pixels in size. Once I drag the image into the New Blog Icons folder it is immediately sized to 250 pixels by the Automator Folder Action that I have created:

Sized Action

That is so easy to do. This is going to be a real time saver for me.

Conclusion

I encourage all of you to think through some of your simpler workflows. Maybe you could automate some of them and save yourself a bunch of time. Plus, it is fun to design stuff with the Automator App.

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