One of the myths about OS X that pervades among Windows users is “There’s no right-click options, because you can’t right-click on a Mac.”
Well, of course you can right-click on a Mac, if you just plug in a standard USB mouse. Or you can Control-click, or use any of the default clicking-and-tapping arrangements on offer in those new-fangled Mighty Mice. Whatever means you use, a contextual menu is never very far away.
Windows users have all sorts of options to expand what the computer offers them when they right-click, and might think that the same expandability is not available in OS X. It’s easy, though, thanks to Automator.
Ever since Tiger was released, I’ve tinkered with ideas for Automator-based contextual menus. None of the workflows I’ve created has ever been very complex (most of them are just two or three actions long), but several have been incredibly useful. Especially because they can be saved as Finder plugins, and therefore made available in every right-click contextual menu that appears.
My contextual menu looks like this:
I have a bunch of workflows saved as Finder plug-ins, so that they are easy to reach.
My current set-up includes the following:
- Add tags (Adds tags to a file’s Spotlight comments field - to be honest I don’t use this very often)
- Import to iPhoto (You can guess what this does)
- Move to archives (Moves a file to my ~/archives directory)
- Open in WriteRoom (Opens a file in WriteRoom)
- Resize450 (Resizes an image to 450 pixels, suitable for blog posting)
Of course, I could make some of these things happen using scripts, or Quicksilver, or just with the built-in Open With… command. But sometimes it’s easier and quicker to do it this way. I find the WriteRoom and resize commands particularly useful, and use them almost every day.
What little gems have you created for your contextual menu?