Improve Folder Actions with Keyboard Maestro

One problem with folder action scripts is that they will inevitably open up applications at unexpected times when files are added to a given folder, which can lead to a slower computer and general distraction.

To work around this, I use the excellent Keyboard Maestro macro utility to run a script or Automator workflow when an application is launched. That way it only runs when the proper application is open, and furthermore when I’m in a position to do something with the drop folder’s items.

This requires a script to be written to identify a particular folder, rather than standard folder action syntax. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)

The need for this came about when I added an Automator folder action to Dropbox’s “Camera Uploads” folder so that anything saved there would be automatically added to my iPhoto library. (An improvement over Apple’s iCloud photo stream, since it can also handle video files.)

What happened was every time I turned on my computer, iPhoto would pop open and take over my screen. With a slow computer a large photo library, this got pretty painful. With this macro trigger, my camera uploads just sit there until I’m ready to work with them. I open iPhoto and all my latest photos are quickly imported, and I’m ready to work with them.

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Written on September 25, 2012