Our clients often request an area on their website for sharing business and promotional documentation. They also sometimes require that this content be available to the public via downloads. This request is often followed up by an email containing a zip archive of any number of .doc formatted files, with something like “Please convert these files to .pdf format for the website” in the subject.
Of course there are many methods and utilities in the wild for performing this type of file format conversion, however we were looking for a method that would batch process the files most efficiently, preferably without downloading or buying any additional software.
Below is a simple step by step solution for converting the format of doc files using Automator for Mac OSX. You can download the workflow at the end of this article.
- Open Automator.
- Create a new custom workflow.
- From the Actions panel library, select Files & Folders then double-click Get Specified Finder Items.
- Add the items you wish to convert.
- Next, from the library, select Documents, then double click Convert Format of Word Documents.
- From the dropdown menu, select the format you wish to convert the files to. In our case we select Portable Document Format (PDF)
- Now we are ready to run the action. Click the run button in the top right of the automator window.
- The new converted files are converted and saved using the original file name and file location.
- Open up your destination folder and verify your files have been successfully converted.
This method for file conversion is not limited to converting .doc files to .pdf but can be modified to work with most file formats. Furthermore the Autormator application can be used to create more complex workflows where files can be moved, renamed, sorted etc.
In addition to providing a simple method for performing basic automation, after getting to know the Automator interface and discovering all its capabilities, you will find that it is perhaps one of the most useful but overlooked utility applications available for the mac OSX.
The best part: we achieved our goal to batch convert the files efficiently, we utilized a tool that we already have access to use, and by using this method we can build more complex workflows, and save and reuse them the next time we get the same request from a client.
Download the sample workflow:
Automator File Conversion Workflow