Switch to Mac Automator to automate tedious tasks

September 5, 2021

Your MacBook can do most of the repetitive tasks you perform manually in a lot less time. All it requires is setting up Mac Automator app to unlock the power of automation. It comes with macOS to help automate simple tasks. You can use it to do things like batch rename files, auto-crop images or quit all apps at once.  You no more need to sit around and rename files on your Mac by hand. Let’s quickly walk through some of these Automator macOS basics.

Mac Automator

How to use Mac Automator to automate tedious tasks?

Mac Automator is a very powerful tool. With just a little bit of learning, you can make it do tedious things as easy as dragging and dropping items onto a window. Let’s see how to use Automator in Mac to batch convert and resize images.

  1. Open Automator for Mac.
  2. Select Workflow option and hit the Choose button.
  3. Expand Library view.
  4. Scroll down to Files and Folders heading.
  5. Select New Folder heading from the second column.
  6. Drag and drop it to the workflow on the right.
  7. Give the folder a name. Select a suitable location.
  8. Switch to Library again > Files & Folders.
  9. Drag the Get Folder Contents action to the bottom of the workflow.
  10. Move to Library, select Photos.
  11. Drag the Change Type of Images action to the bottom of the workflow.
  12. Switch to Change Type of Images action box in the workflow.
  13. Choose an image format.
  14. To resize your images, go to Library > Photos.
  15. Drag the Scale Images action to the bottom of the workflow.
  16. Convert the images to a specific size in pixels.
  17. Click File > Save.
  18. Hit the Run button.
  19. Right-click and choose Get info option to verify if the operation was successfully completed.

What is Mac Automator?

Mac Automator is a widely used tool for adding automation to tedious and time-consuming tasks in macOS. Its usage does not require technical know-how or coding of any sort. It has a simple interface. On the left, you’ll find 2 separate tags under the same column namely,

  • Actions 
  • Variables

On the right, there’s a separate column that lists actions associated with corresponding tags (Action or Variables). Adjacent to it is a workflow panel that lets you build an Automator workflow by dragging action into your workflow window.

Batch convert images types and size using Automator in Mac

Automator on Mac Dock
Automator on Mac Dock

Launch the Automator app from Mac dock or search it via Spotlight or search or Mac.

Mac Automator Choose Button
Mac Automator Choose Button

When found open it, click the Workflow entry and hit the Choose button.

Next, in the new My Automation window that opens, expand the Library shelf, scroll down to Files & Folders entry and select it.

Choose Automation
Choose Automation

Move to the adjacent column to find New Folder option. Drag and drop it inside the workflow panel on the right.

Mac Automator Convert Images
Mac Automator Convert Images

Enter a name for the new folder inside the empty Name field. By default, this new folder will be added to the Desktop screen. However, you can change its location using the Where dropdown list.

My Automation Window
My Automation Window

Switch back to Library shelf  > Files & Folders > Get Folder Contents. Drag the Get Folder Contents heading to the bottom of the workflow window on the right.

Now, to convert the images go to Library again, select Photos, and then drag the Change Type of Images action to the bottom of the workflow. Select the desired image format or type.

Copy Finder Prompt Cancel
Copy Finder Prompt Cancel

A dialog will appear prompting you to add a Copy Finder Items action to the workflow so the image files can be duplicated, preserving your original files. Hit the Don't add button and proceed further.

Similarly, to resize your images, add an action to scale them. Here’s how!

Scale Images
Scale Images

Under Library, select Photos. Then, drag and drop the Scale Images action from the adjacent column  to the bottom of the workflow window. Choose a specific size in pixels from the dropdown list.

Now, simply click on File tab under the Apple menu bar and select the Save option.

Image format converted
Image format converted

Hit the Run button located in the upper-right corner of the My Automation window to batch convert images type and size.

Allow the process to complete successfully.

Hope it make sense!


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Hemant Saxena
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