Automator for Mac is a built-in function that enables you to automate large operations that would take you a long time to accomplish manually, as well as little actions that you perform on a daily basis.
You do not need to be familiar with programming or scripting languages in order to use Automator; the Automator Library contains hundreds of actions from which you may choose. These actions are applicable to a wide variety of macOS apps and features.
Automator is an automation tool that lets you run sequential tasks on your Mac. In this article, you will learn how to Use Automator on Mac to rename files.
In this tutorial, we will cover the fundamentals of establishing a process in Automator and then demonstrate how to design and use an example workflow to rename files.
How to Create a Workflow in Automator
Automator may be found in Launchpad or by navigating to the Applications folder in the Finder and double-clicking on Automator.
To begin creating a workflow, you must first determine the type of workflow.
Choose Workflow Type
- To create a new document in Automator, either click the New Document button or navigate to the top menu bar and pick File > New.
- There are numerous workflow types to choose from:
- Workflow — This one operates concurrently with Automator, making it ideal for tasks that need to be completed just once.
- Application — This will be a self-contained application that will run independently of
- Automator. When you click or drag files onto the application, it will perform its functions.
- Quick Actions – You can add them to Finder windows and the Services menu.
- Print Plugin — As you might expect, this is a printing-specific plugin. The Print dialogue box provides access to these operations.
- Folder Action – This process will execute on the specified folder. When you add files to that folder, the process is applied to the contents of the folder.
- Calendar Alarm – A calendar event triggers this workflow.
- Image Capture Plugin — These workflows are implemented in your Mac’s image capture application.
- Dictation Command — This command initiates a procedure when you use dictation.
3. Choose your desired workflow type by clicking on it.
After deciding on a workflow type, you must add actions to your new process.
Add Actions to your Workflow
On the left side of the Automator window, you’ll see activities in the Automator Library. To view actions for a certain category, click on it.
For instance, clicking on Contacts brings up activities such as Find People with Similar Birthdays, Get Contact Information, and Group Mailer.
- Add an action to your workflow by double-clicking it.
- Continue to add additional steps as necessary for your workflow.
- When you’re finished with your process, navigate to the top menu and pick File > Save to save it.
Example Workflow: Renaming Files in Finder
Automator simplifies the process of renaming a set of files. Numerous methods result in the creation of files with utterly meaningless names – the name conveys no information about the file.
Instead of automating this job, you could manually rename all of the files, but with Automator, you can give all of the files in the group a more meaningful name that distinguishes them in some way.
I’m going to rename a bunch of screenshot image files in this example.
Create the Workflow and Add Files
- Automator should now be open. Click the New Document button.
- Choose Workflow from the drop-down menu.
- Now, assemble your files. Select the files whose names you wish to change in Finder. Drag them into the workspace of the Automator window.
Enhance your Workflow by incorporating actions
4. On the left, click Files and Folders. Enter “name” in the search bar on the left side at the top.
5. You should see the Rename Finder Items action. It may be added to your workflow by double-clicking it, choosing it and pressing return, or dragging it beneath your files into your workflow.
6. A pop-up dialogue box will appear warning you about renaming files. If you like, you can create a copy of the files whose names you are modifying; simply select Add; otherwise, pick Don’t Add.
7. I chose to include a copy of the files. You may save the copy to whatever location you like; only the copies will have their identities modified.
- In the Copy Finder Items action box, click on the file listed to the right of “To:”
- Scroll to the bottom and click Other.
- Select an existing folder or create a new one. Because my data were previously stored in a folder called original screenshots, I established a new folder called sorted screenshots.
8. There is an options menu labeled “Add Date or Time” in the Rename Finder Items action box. To view further renaming choices, click on this menu.
9. Make Sequential was the option I selected. I renamed my folder’s screenshot ping to reflect their content — screenshots from an essay on Ping.
Run your Workflow
10. After you’ve completed the process of configuring your renaming scheme, it’s time to run your workflow. To begin, navigate to the window’s top and select the Run option.
A series of green checkmarks will appear to signify that certain components of the workflow have been finished. Under the Log area, you may view a list of accomplished actions.
11. I now have a subdirectory called sorted screenshots in my original screenshots folder that contains my renamed files.