Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

Learn how to use and customize Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

Among the novelties of macOS Mojave, launched at the end of last month, we comment that the Finder received a very interesting new feature called “Quick Actions”. Basically, this option allows you to edit a file from a series of pre-configured actions directly from the explorer; these actions can also be customized and you can add them according to your need.

Quick Actions are workflows that can be added to the Finder, Touch Bar and the Services menu. You can manage Quick Actions in System Preferences.

Before understanding how to customize the feature, I imagine you might be wondering where these Quick Actions are and why you haven’t seen them even though you’ve already upgraded to macOS Mojave 10.14. To view them, you must first check what the files are displayed in the Finder:

  • If the items are displayed as Icon or List, just click with the right mouse button (or with two fingers on the trackpad) on top of a file and access the “Quick Actions” menu.
  • If the display mode is as Columns or Gallery (which replaced the Cover Flow), the quick actions will be located in the lower right corner of the Finder, below the data for the selected file.

By default, Mojave has four pre-configured quick actions. Are they: to spin, Mark, cut out and create PDF. So, if you needed to access an application to perform some of these actions, it is now possible to execute them quickly from the Finder, without opening any more windows.

Say you work with photos and constantly need to convert the image format to JPEG. In some situations, just change the end of the file to .jpeg in the Finder and the image will be converted. However, if you create a Quick Action for this task, you will never need to manually edit the file format again – nor use an app for that.

To create and add new Quick Actions to the Finder, we will use the utility Automator macOS, where new workflows are created to increase productivity on the Mac. To create new Quick Actions in Automator, follow the instructions below:

  1. When you open the utility, a Finder document selection window will probably appear. Click on “New Document” in the bottom left corner of the window.
  2. Then Automator will ask you to choose the type of document you want to create. Select “Quick Action” and click “Choose”.

    Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

  3. In the Automator sidebar, you will see a series of action options available for files and folders, calendar, contacts, movies, photos and so on. In our case, we want to add an action related to image conversion; therefore, in the side menu select “Photos”.
  4. Observe all actions related to macOS photos; some are system-specific and others are provided from application services that you have installed. To convert images, the Preview app has a feature called “Change Image Type”; select it in the sidebar and drag to the blank area to create a workflow.
  5. Automator will display an alert message confirming the purpose of that action; click “Add” and a workflow will appear on the screen.
  6. Then you can edit how you want the action to be carried out. Since we want to create a quick action, we must include an action that is just a click away. It is possible to delete the step “Copy Items from Finder” by selecting it with the mouse and pressing the “Delete” key; thus, only the “Change Image Type” option will be available.

    Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

  7. In “Change Type of Images”, select the format to which you want to convert the images. In our case, we selected the JPEG format. If you want, customize the command with the icon and / or the color you want. In the option “Workflow receives the current one”, select “Automatic (files or folders)”.

    Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

  8. That done, just access the File menu, on the top bar, and click “Save …”. Enter a name for the action, such as “Convert to JPEG” and select “Save”.

    Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

  9. In the System Preferences, click Extensions and then select “Finder”. The action you just created is likely to be cleared; select the checkbox and the action will be ready to be quickly accessed by the Finder.

    Creating Quick Actions on macOS Mojave

As we said, the system already has some pre-configured actions based on the services offered by native macOS or third party apps. If you want to add them to the Finder actions, just select the ones you use in System Preferences.

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What did you think of the macOS Mojave Quick Actions feature? We hope that this tutorial has helped you to use and customize your favorite actions. If you have any other questions about macOS, iOS, watchOS or tvOS features or services, just go to our tutorials section. ?