automator workflow.png

One of the things that I really don’t like on a Mac is how it includes hidden files and folders when you create a ZIP archive. The biggest culprit that I’ve found is a .DS_Store file that is added to every folder you view in Finder, and it’s used to save things like your view options options and icon positions. I can’t imagine anyone who would want to include files like these in a ZIP archive.

I did a little research to figure out how I can get around this without using another app to do the compression, and that’s when I came across a free Automator workflow bundle by Mike Piontek. Once you go through the brief installer you’ll find that there are five new Automator workflows whenever you right-click on a file or folder in Finder. These are located in the More -> Automator menu as seen in the screenshot above.

Here are the five different things that are included in the single download:

  • Create Clean Archive – This Automator action creates a clean zip format archive (.zip) that’s ready to share with others. Macintosh resource forks and desktop files will be ignored so they don’t get in the way on other operating systems.
  • Make Names Web-Friendly – This Automator action converts the names of the selected files to all lowercase, removes accents, changes spaces to underscores or dashes, and converts other special characters to underscores or dashes.
  • Change Extensions – This Automator action will change the file extension of the selected files. Very useful if you need to change a bunch of files from .html to .php, for example.
  • Save for Web – This Automator action will export images in JPEG, GIF, or PNG format using Adobe Photoshop CS (for higher quality images) or Preview (for faster conversion without opening an application). Additional options allow you to constrain the image to a maximum width and height, and sharpen the image after resizing.
  • Create Symbolic Link – This Automator action creates a symbolic link for each of the selected files. A symbolic link is similar to an alias, except that many applications, including the Create Clean Archive action, will see only the file points to rather than the alias itself.

By default all five of these Automator actions will be placed in your Finder menu. If you decide that you don’t want some of them just navigate to the following folder to remove them individually:


Being a new Mac user I can easily say that Automator is becoming a new love of mine because of simple tricks like these. ;)