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.

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.

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

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

# Variables

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

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";
mv "$SRC"/*.png "$SRC/delete"
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 "${file%PNG}webp";
mv "$SRC"/*.PNG "$SRC/delete" > /dev/null 2>&1

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

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


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";
mv "$SRC"/*.png "$SRC/delete" > /dev/null 2>&1

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

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