The MAC OS Automator is the swiss army knife of tools, just take a look at these “10 Awesome Uses for Automator” and I often wonder how I lived without it. In my line of work, sometimes I need to extract a list of filenames contained on a CD or a directory and dump them into a text file for analysis. Lucky for me the automator makes this task super easy and painless. You too can enjoy this in 6 easy steps.
Create your Automation by dragging commands, called actions, into the Automator workspace starting with “Ask for Finder Items”.
Drag over “Get Folder Contents” from the Action list to the automator workspace. For my purposes I usually check the “Repeat for each subfolder found” depending on how deep you need to go, but I usually want EVERYTHING.
Drag over “New Text File” from the Action list to the automator workspace. Add a “save as” title to your text file if you want and then, put it where you want. I usually put it right on my “Desktop”.
Time to run it and see if it works. Hit the “Run” (play) button in the top right-hand corner and watch the magic happen. If all works according to plan you will get a dialog box that asks you where you want to look for your dump. In the example below I want to extract a list of the file contents of my Alpha One Labs project directory.
After hitting play, If everything worked you should have an output of the filenames contained in the directory as a text file on your desktop. Remember to save it and now you can extract to you hearts content, whenever you need.
Step 6 (optional)
I generally import the txt file into something like Excel via “File > Import > txt file” with the forward slash as my delimiter so I can work with the information better.
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Metadata and Taxonomies are my thing. I spend an awful lot of time drinking coffee and having existential dilemmas on how to categorize what the hell I do for a living.