How to Use Finder to Create a Workflow

This guide will show you some tips on making the most of what isn’t considered the greatest File Manager in the world, your Mac’s Finder. By customizing the Toolbar a bit, you can create time saving ‘workflows’ for repetitive and/or frequent tasks.

One of the things I find myself doing a lot is taking screenshots and editing them for tutorials, exactly like this one. I’ve come up with a way to customize the Toolbar in Finder by adding shortcuts to Apps and Utilities that I use to edit images for these tutorials.

Something like this could be mimicked if you’re a photographer, videographer, graphic artist etc. Especially people who have to ‘batch edit’ or work with multiple files at a time.

Here’s my setup –

  1. My Finder’s Toolbar has a mix of both the traditional tools like “back” and “forward”, the “layout” icon set, a Trash button etc. Then there are the custom Apps that I’ve added, separated by a small space.

  2. click to enlarge

  3. To edit your Toolbar, select View from the main menu, then Customize Toolbar… from the drop-down list.
  4. Now you can drag-and-drop items to and from your Toolbar.

  5. click to enlarge

  6. I have a section set aside for a series of Apps – the GIMP image editor, ThumbsUp for batch resizing images, Skitch for adding notations, and finally ImageOptim to properly compress the final images.

    To add an App to your Toolbar, open another Finder window and drag-and-drop it onto your Toolbar (while the Customize Toolbar is still open) – as illustrated in the screenshot below.

  7. By dragging and dropping files onto these Apps I can quickly accomplish what I want to do. As seen in the screenshot below, when I drag images onto ThumbsUp, it quickly resizes them to a pre-specified width.
  8. The resulting files are outputted to the same folder as the original files, so that…
  9. I can drag all of them to the final part of my workflow, compressing them with ImageOptim.
  10. By having a quick place to drag-and-drop files it allows me the flexibility of only opening files I need to with one App, then all of the files (if needed) with the next – and all from within Finder.

If you’ve found other interesting ways to get the most out of Finder that you can, by all means please leave a comment!

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