Automating Workflows

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I am not really great at this, but lately I have been trying to automate some my more simpler yet time-consuming workflows on my Mac. I use KeyBoard Maestro, Automator and Hazel to do most of this stuff. I want to show you one example of automating something I do at least once and sometimes several times a day.

Blog Featured Images

When you read the Macessence blog you see a featured image (thumbnail) next to each article. You know the old saying, “One picture is worth a thousand words.” Those thumbnail images are usually obtained from my Mac Finder or online. When I add those thumbnails to my blog editing App, I have to set them to a certain size. I usually open them in the Preview App and go through a few steps to size them appropriately. Then, I drag them into my New Blog Icons folder on my Desktop for easy access. I decided to automate this workflow a bit, here is how I did it.

I started by opening the Automator App. All I wanted to do here is make a small Folder Action that scales images to 250 pixels. I started by creating a new Folder Action (File/New):

Folder Action

As you can see you can create all kinds of different workflows with Automator. Once the Folder Action has been created Automator presented this window:

Action Window

You have to click on the Folder drop down menu, navigate to the Folder you wish to use for this workflow and select it.

Next, all I did was do a search for “Scale” in that little search box in the left column and add the “Scale Images” Action to the workflow:

Scale Images

You can scale by pixel size or percentage. The Scale Images Action defaults to 480 pixels. In my case, I need images that are close to 250 pixels. Once you save this Action, you are good to go.

I downloaded a Mac Icon from the Internet called Turquoise Mac:

Get Info

You can see it is 512 x 512 pixels in size. Once I drag the image into the New Blog Icons folder it is immediately sized to 250 pixels by the Automator Folder Action that I have created:

Sized Action

That is so easy to do. This is going to be a real time saver for me.


I encourage all of you to think through some of your simpler workflows. Maybe you could automate some of them and save yourself a bunch of time. Plus, it is fun to design stuff with the Automator App.


  1. Thanks for your blog and this article. It nudged me in the right direction to use Automator in a way where I hadn’t before been successful.

    I’d be happy to contribute my results back here, in the form of a similar article. Please reach out if you’d be willing to collaborate.

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