Automating Tasks in Mac With Folder Actions [Quicktip]

Folder Actions are a set of actions you can assign to any folder on your Mac, which will be automatically triggered when any files are included into the selected folder. This is a great option to reduce ‘manual labor’ in actions like converting file format to jpg and png or documents to pdf, duplicating files or even notifying you via a popup.

Folder Actions

If you don’t already know, your Mac has a feature called Action Script. What it does is help you automate the folder actions like what we described earlier. In this quick guide, we will show you how to get your Action Scripts set up and running.

Automate Folder actions with Action Script

To start assigning action scripts to folders, open your Finder, locate your preferred folder, right-click on it or press Ctrl + Click, then select Services > Folder Actions Setup

Folder Action Setup

The Folder Actions Setup window will appear with selection of Action Scripts. Select any script of your choice and click ‘Attach

Action Scripts

Now the selected script will be listed on the window with the box ‘checked’, next to the selected folder.

Action script list

Don’t forget to check the ‘Enable Folder Actions’ box, then close the window or press Cmd + Q.

Enable Action Scripts

Now your Action Script is enabled and your folder will automate all the actions you have assigned. In this example, I selected ‘Duplicate as PNG‘ which does only one thing, that is to duplicate any type of image files and convert it to PNG.

When you drop any image file to this folder, the Action Scripts will automatically create two folders inside the folder separated by the actions assigned: Original Images will hold the original, while the PNG Images folder is where the duplicated images are kept.

Dropped images


With Action Scripts, you can automate a number of folder actions at once, and if you are looking into converting image formats in bulk, it definitely saves you a lot of processing time. With a combination of these Folder Actions on your Mac, you can automate many things and save you a lot of time. For Dropbox users, I’d like to point you to an earlier article which also automates file and folder treatments similar to what is being described here.

Have you practiced using folder actions, or do you still prefer to do everything manually?

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