February 19, 2019

Handy Automator Actions

When building websites, I often have to make edits to images, filenames and other tasks that are quicker to do when automated. I use Automator to add Services to my contextual right-click menu right in the finder/desktop to perform some of these tasks. They’re quick and simple to set up, and even easier to use.

Basic Image Edits

Perhaps I have some 12 megapixel JPGs that I need to upload to a CMS like WordPress. If they’re too big or the wrong format for a website, they’ll need some edits before uploading.  Simple solution: batch them before upload. All I have to do is right-click on the image or images and select my action from the Services menu and they’re ready to go.

Maybe I have some photos sent to me as TIF, PSD or PNG and want them in JPG format:

Or PNG format:

Or rotate one or more 180°:

Any of these Automator actions will make the change the original file, so be sure to make a backup first if needed.

Other Handy Actions

Let’s say I have a list of files named “Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 5.20.32 PM.png” and want them to be web-friendly (no spaces in the file name). I could rename them one at a time… or update them all with an Automator action:

After that’s done, all selected files are renamed to something that works better in a browser, like “Screen-Shot-2019-02-19-at-5.20.32-PM.png”, which avoids those pesky %20’s.

My Most Used Action

As I’ve noted before, I like to keep my desktop tidy. I have apps that open in the same size and position on my screen every time. If I need to move or resize it, with the following action I can easily snap it right back to where I want it.

I have set positions for left, right, finder, chat window, among others. Each are set to an x, y, width and height to fit perfectly on my screen. You’ll probably want to adjust the values for your setup/screen size.  There are apps out there that do this for you, for MacOS and Windows, but I find it handy to define something more specific than “left side” and “right side”.

Hope you find these actions useful. I recommend digging through the Automator app to see what other handy things it can do.


I’m a full-stack website developer and designer. Whether you’re looking for an online store, portfolio showcase or a blog, I can help make it stand out from the crowd. I love LAMP.