Over the last few months, I’ve written several posts about Aperture’s seamless integration with iLife and iWork via the iLife Media Browser. A few weeks ago I posted about using your Aperture photos with iWork’s Pages to create print layouts and I received a lot of good feedback from readers pointing out that there are other ways of getting images out of Aperture and into other applications on your Mac.
So today let’s talk about drag-and-drop. When you drag image thumbnails from Aperture’s Browser and drop them into other applications, the JPEG previews get placed into the target application. If you have a large display, you can do some smart window management and arrange Aperture’s window so that it doesn’t fill the screen. This makes it pretty easy to arrange another app’s window next to Aperture and drag your photos from one window to the other. But if you use a MacBook Pro like I do, then your screen real estate is going to be limited. However fear not: there are some great features of Mac OS X that we can put into action here. So take a minute, stretch your fingers and hands out, and read on. We’ll use iMovie as a sample destination for our photos.
Method One — Drag-and-drop combined with Exposé
In Aperture’s Browser, select the photo or photos you want to get into your iMovie project. Click on one of the selected photos and begin to drag within the Browser. You’ll see a little translucent thumbnail of your photo stuck to your cursor. If you had multiple photos selected, you’ll see a red badge in the lower left corner showing how many photos you’re bringing with you. Now, the important part: without releasing the mouse button, and without moving the cursor outside of the Browser window, activate Exposé’s All Windows mode. (The default keyboard shortcut for this is F9, however depending on your configuration it could be function-F9 on a laptop or F3 on the fancy new Apple keyboards.) Exposé will show all open application windows. Move your cursor over iMovie’s window and hold it there for about three seconds until iMovie comes to the foreground, then drop your photos into iMovie’s project panel. Your preview JPEGs from Aperture are now part of the iMovie project.
Method Two — Drag-and-drop combined with the Application Switcher
Start out the same way as method one: grab the photos in Aperture’s Browser and do not release the mouse button. Activate the Application Switcher by pressing and holding the Command key and pressing Tab. Press Tab until you’ve highlighted iMovie, release both keys and release the mouse button when the cursor is over your target destination.
These tips are not unique to Aperture; they work throughout Mac OS X in the Finder and many other applications. Next time you have to get assets from one application to another, try experimenting with these methods. Do Aperture users prefer these methods or the Media Browser? What are your thoughts on one method versus the other? I’d be curious to hear from readers on this.