FTP files quickly on a Mac using Automator


Wouldn’t it be great if you could upload an image to your site just by clicking on it instead of having to open an FTP client, connect to your server, browse for the image etc…?

Well, if you are on a Mac you can, by creating an Automator action to do it for you, and here’s how.

1 First you will need to download the Upload to FTP action by Peter Dekkers, you can get it here: http://editkid.com/upload_to_ftp/

Once the Disk image has mounted, double click on the Install Upload to FTP package and follow the install instructions.

2 Now, open Automator (it’s in the Applications folder). You will be asked to choose a template for your workflow. Choose ‘Service’ and click ‘Choose’. At the top of the screen you will see two select menus. Change the selections until they read: Service receives selected image files in Finder.

automator options

3 Now, on the left side of the automator window you will see the Library containing actions for various applications. Upload to FTP has been installed in to ‘Other’. Click on ‘Other’, and Upload to FTP will appear in the column to the right. Click on it and drag it in to the main Automator window (Where it says ‘Drag actions of files here to build your workflow’).

4 The options for Upload to FTP are pretty self explainitory, if you’re unsure copy and paste the details from your FTP client. At bare minimum you will need to enter:

FTP Options

  • Server
  • Username
  • Password
  • Directory
  • Port

5 Once you’re done select Save from the File Menu and name the action (I named mine ‘Upload blog image’). The action is now fully working, try it out — highlight an image in the Finder then ‘right click’ or ‘control click’* on it and from the ‘Services’ menu choose your action. The file will automatically be uploaded to the chosen folder on your server!

You can make the process even quicker by giving the action a shortcut key. To do this, open System Preferences and choose the ‘Keyboard’ preference pane. Select the ‘Keyboard Shortcuts’ tab, then select ‘Services’ from the left column. Click the ‘+’ icon to add a new shortcut, then choose ‘Finder’, add the exact name of your action, and enter a shortcut (I chose ‘Control-Option-CMD-U’).

Now, all you need to do is highlight an image, hit the shortcut and it’s done!

You can also add other actions to your workflow — for instance you could resize the images and then FTP them. The images for this article were uploaded in this way.

* it depends on what kind mouse you have