How to Automate Tasks in Mac with Folder Actions

Folder Actions are a powerful tool that you can utilize on your Mac. They are essentially a set of actions that you can assign to any folder, which will then be automatically triggered when any files are added to the selected folder. This feature is an excellent way to reduce manual labor for tasks such as converting file formats to JPG and PNG, or documents to PDF, duplicating files, or even setting up notifications via a popup.

If you weren’t already aware, your Mac has a feature called Action Script. This tool aids in automating the folder actions we described earlier. In the following quick guide, we will demonstrate how to set up and activate your Action Scripts.

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Automate Folder actions with Action Script

To begin assigning action scripts to folders, first open your Finder. Locate the folder you prefer, right-click on it, or press Ctrl + Click. Then, navigate to Services > Folder Actions Setup.

Folder Action Setup

Upon doing this, the Folder Actions Setup window will appear, displaying a selection of Action Scripts. Choose any script that suits your needs and click ‘Attach’.

Action Scripts

Once you’ve done this, the selected script will be listed in the window. You’ll notice it’s ‘checked’ and is next to the selected folder.

Action script list

It’s important not to forget to check the ‘Enable Folder Actions‘ box. After this, you can close the window or press Cmd + Q to exit.

Enable Action Scripts

At this point, your Action Script is enabled, and your folder will automate all the actions you’ve assigned to it. For instance, in this example, I selected ‘Duplicate as PNG‘. This script has a singular function: to duplicate any type of image files and convert them into PNG format.

When you drop any image file into this folder, the Action Scripts will automatically create two separate folders inside the main folder. These are differentiated by the actions assigned to them. The ‘Original Images‘ folder will hold the original files, while the ‘PNG Images’ folder will store the duplicated images.

Dropped images

Ending Thoughts

Action Scripts offer a powerful tool for automating various folder actions simultaneously. This can be particularly useful when you need to convert image formats in bulk, as it can save you a significant amount of processing time.

By combining these Folder Actions on your Mac, you can automate a wide range of tasks, saving you even more time. For Dropbox users, I would like to draw your attention to an earlier article. This article provides a guide on how to automate file and folder treatments, similar to the processes described here.