In macOS, you can easily convert the format of images using a Quick Action in Finder or you can achieve the same thing via the Preview app, but if your daily workflow requires you to repeatedly convert images – for uploading to a blog, for example – then using a Folder Action can be a much faster way of getting the job done.

automator
In this article, we'll show you how to use the macOS Automator app to create a very simple Folder Action that will automatically convert images dropped into a specific folder, without you having to manually apply a Quick Action or open an image editing app. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

How to Create an Image Converting Folder in Automator

  1. Launch Automator from the Applications folder.
    applications

  2. Click New Document.
  3. Choose Folder Action as the type of your document.
    automator

  4. At the top of the workflow area, click the dropdown next to Folder Action receives files and folders added to: then select Other....
    automator

  5. Select the folder that you'd like to attribute the image conversion action to. In our example, we're choosing the Downloads folder.
  6. From the Library sidebar on the far left, select Photos.
  7. From the Actions column, drag Change Type of Images (the one with the Preview icon) to the workflow area.
    automator

  8. A dialog prompt will appear. If you want your action to convert copies of images placed in the folder and preserve the originals, select Add. If you want it to convert the original images, select Don't Add.
  9. In the Change Type of Images action panel, choose the type of format that you want images to be converted to. We're selecting JPG.
    automator

  10. In the Automator menu bar, select File -> Save... or press Command-S, call your new file action "Convert Image," then click Save.

That's all there is to it. Next time you want to convert an image into your preferred format, simply drag it into the folder that you assigned the action to.

Now that you know how to create the image conversion workflow in Automator, you may want to turn it into a standalone "Application," the option for which you can find in Automator's document menu. An "Application" is a self-running workflow that acts as a droplet – any files or folders dropped onto it are used as input to the workflow. In other words, you could add an "Application" to your Dock and drop images onto it for conversion.

You can also import Automator workflows into the Shortcuts app. Shortcuts can convert most Automator workflows into shortcuts that carry out the same functions, events and automations — you simply drag a workflow file into Shortcuts and the conversion happens automatically.

Top Rated Comments

Marbles1 Avatar
17 months ago
These are the kinds of articles we need on macrumours when it's a slow news day. Not another copy-paste press release from the 'Nothing Phone' or the latest tattle about Elon Musk / Twitter.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Grimace Avatar
17 months ago
This type of content is far better than the pseudo-news (or click-through sales links) that are frequently on MR! More please!
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
crenz Avatar
17 months ago
Thanks for the very helpful tutorial - I was not aware of Folder actions; seems to be a very helpful tool. I will try to adapt this for an audio file conversion workflow I need.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
davidec Avatar
17 months ago
Nice job MR. These types of articles are really helpful and keep the Mac spirit alive.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
syklee26 Avatar
17 months ago
Macrumors occasionally posts this type of tutorials and I love it! More like this please!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beltzak Avatar
17 months ago
I use shell scripts to do that. SIP command but for webp I ended installing cwebp. Probably not very efficient tools because I am not a developer but they work fine.

PNG to WEBP
Use: sh Png2webp Folder_Source
#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Png2jpg Image converter Script

# Variables
SRC="$1"
DEL="$SRC/delete"
clear

if [ -e "$DEL" ]
then
echo "\n"
else
mkdir "$DEL"
fi

echo "PNG Converter\n"
echo "#############\n"

test=`ls -l "$SRC"/*.png`

if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
for file in "$SRC"/*.png; do
#sips -s format jpeg -s formatOptions 70 "${file}" --out "${file%png}jpg";
cwebp -metadata all -q 100 "${file}" -o "${file%png}webp";
done
mv "$SRC"/*.png "$SRC/delete"
else
for file in "$SRC"/*.PNG; do > /dev/null 2>&1
#sips -s format jpeg -s formatOptions 70 "${file}" --out "${file%png}jpg";
cwebp -metadata all -q 100 "${file}" -o "${file%PNG}webp";
done
mv "$SRC"/*.PNG "$SRC/delete" > /dev/null 2>&1
fi

PNG to JPG
Use: sh Png2jpgFolder_Source
#!/usr/bin/env bash
# belPng2jpg Image converter Script

# Variables
SRC="$1"
#DEST="${SRC} jpg"

clear

mkdir "$SRC/delete"
# for i in *.png; do sips -s format jpeg -s formatOptions 70 "${i}" --out "${i%png}jpg"; done
for file in "$SRC"/*.png; do
sips -s format jpeg -s formatOptions 70 "${file}" --out "${file%png}jpg";
done
mv "$SRC"/*.png "$SRC/delete" > /dev/null 2>&1


for file in "$SRC"/*.PNG; do
sips -s format jpeg -s formatOptions 70 "${file}" --out "${file%PNG}jpg";
done
mv "$SRC"/*.PNG "$SRC/delete" > /dev/null 2>&1
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that Apple's AI strategy emphasizes providing...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

Gurman: iOS 18 Will Allow Users to Recolor App Icons and Place Them Anywhere

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:22 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS 18 update will introduce new features for further customizing the iPhone's home screen, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman claimed that Apple will allow users to change the color of app icons in iOS 18. For example, "you can make all your social icons blue or finance-related ones green." This kind of home screen...
Apple iPhone 14 color lineup feature

Apple Now Selling Refurbished iPhone 14 Models

Friday May 24, 2024 11:15 am PDT by
Apple today added refurbished iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max devices to its online store for refurbished products, offering the prior-generation iPhones at a discount for the first time since their 2022 launch. The iPhone 14 is available starting at $619, the iPhone 14 Pro is available starting at $759, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is available starting at $849. ...
top stories 25may2024

Top Stories: iOS 17.5.1 Fixes Concerning Photos Bug, All-New iPhone 17 Model Rumored, and More

Saturday May 25, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
It's been quite a week of Apple news and rumors, ranging from a concerning bug with deleted photos reappearing on users' devices to hot rumors about a new high-end iPhone model for 2025 and a MacBook with a foldable screen coming as soon as 2026. Other news and rumors this week included fresh expectations for iOS 18 features and new headphones from Sonos to compete head-to-head with AirPods...