Resize your pictures with Automator

Automator iconThis is a quick tip for Apple Mac users to easily resize pictures for a blog, facebook or twitter without having to run any applications or keep any programs running. Apple includes a handy tool called Automator with each Mac, and you can use Automator to create your own workflows. Automator has many skills but this tip shows how to create a simple image resize and rename program that you simply leave on your desktop. When you need to resize an image or a bunch of images you select them and drop them on the icon on the desktop, and it resizes them for you.

1. Find and run Automator

To start Automator use the Spotlight search on your mac and type Automator in the search box, it’s the top hit application on my computer and will likely be so for you too.

When Automator starts you are prompted to choose a template for your workflow, I use the default Workflow.

2. Build the workflow steps

You will be presented with a display similar to the one below, and will then need to create the steps in the workflow / application. This is simply a matter of dragging the necessary steps to the pane on the right.

The simplest version of the workflow uses three steps.

  1. Get the files that you have selected
  2. Copy them to a folder, so that your originals are not resized. I use a folder called 600px in my Pictures folder
  3. Scale the copied files

The files and folders category has the first two steps you will need and the Photos section will have the resize step. Once you have completed dragging the steps across to the right side you should end up with a workflow that looks like this one below.

From this make sure to set the folder where the images will be copied to and resized, and also set the size you want images to be resized to. The scale images is quite simple and will actually resize images to be “600px” on their longest edge which might make them not always 600 pixels wide. Also the scale images will upsize any images where the longest edge is less than 600 pixels wide.

3. Save the application to the desktop

Now it’s a simple matter to save the workflow you created as an application on the desktop of your computer. To use the application, simply select one or more images in the finder and drag them on to the 600px application you have saved on the desktop. Then your resized images will be found in the 600px folder you told the application to copy the files to.

I use a couple of versions of this simple workflow on my desktop to deal with different sizes for blogs & presentations but they are all fast and simple to use.

Advanced resize

The simple three step application above works fine, but I use an enhanced version with more steps, to rename the files and also append an sRGB colour profile to them aswell, so my version has three extra steps as shown in bold below.

  1. Get the selected finder items
  2. Copy them to the 600px folder
  3. Rename the file, appending -600px to the filename
  4. Rename the file appending the time to the filename to ensure that the filenames should be unique
  5. Scale the images
  6. Apply the colour profile sRGB to the resized files

It’s easy to make the simple version and then open the application from the desktop and add in the extra steps if you like.