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Contact Sheets, often called Proof Sheets, are essentially columns and rows of image thumbnails, making a bunch of photos very easy to quickly review. Though they’re commonly used by photographers, they have a wide range of uses outside of the pro-photography world, from artists to designers to UI/UX engineers. Rather than creating a contact sheet by hand the hard way in Photoshop or Pixelmator, we’ll show you to instantly generate one that is fully customized, all you’ll need to do is select a group of pictures in the Mac file system and let the excellent OS X app Automator do the hard work. Everything used here is free and bundled into Mac OS X, there’s no need to buy anything else or download any other apps.
The end result will be able to contact sheet PDF file that is a specified paper size with a chosen number of thumbnail columns, saved to where ever you want, and it will look something like this:
The resulting file is smart enough to not overwrite itself too, and it will automatically append the date and time to the file name like “My Contact Sheet on 04-06 at 2.42.36 PM.pdf” so that you can’t overwrite one proof sheet with another if several have been created. Enough talk, let’s get started!Create the Contact Sheet Generator Service
This will create a service that generates contact sheets instantly for you:
Launch Automator, found in /Applications/, and from the File menu choose “New”
Choose “Service” from the new menu
At the top, look for “Service receives selected:” and choose ‘image files’
Set the Contact Sheet customizations under “New PDF Contact Sheet”, including where to default to saving the file to (~/Desktop is standard), the Paper size, and how many columns will be shown
When satisfied with the customizations, go to File then “Save” and give the automator service a name like “Make Contact Sheet”
Quit out of Automator if you’re satisfied, or leave it open if you want to try out the results and then make adjustments based on what you find.
The hard part is now over, and that wasn’t so tough was it? Now let’s go ahead and make a new contact sheet almost instantly from the OS X Finder.Make a Contact Sheet by Generating from Selected Images
Now that the Automator Service has been created, making a contact sheet is just a matter of selecting images and letting the generator do the work for you:
Locate and select any number of images in the OS X Finder
Wait a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on if you chose a handful of images or hundreds for the PDF file to generate
Go to the ~/Desktop (or where ever else the save location was chosen) to find the generated PDF
The file generation is usually extremely fast, though how long it takes is going to partially depend on how fast your Mac is, and of course how many pictures you chose for the sheet. If you used a folder of 500 high resolution images, it will take a couple minutes usually, versus generating the sheet from a collection of 50 lower resolution pictures, which takes only a few seconds. For this reason, it can be a good idea to scale down images before creating a contact sheet from particularly humungous files, but if you find yourself having to perform a ton of image resizing you can also create a simple ‘Batch Resize’ Service with Automator, or just do a manual bulk resizing process on a group of pictures using Preview app, which also comes with every version of Mac OS X.
Open the file in Preview to see how the generated sheet looks, it will have followed the guidelines chosen during your initial setup so if you’re not happy with it make some changes to the Service and just save it again, then generate a new sheet PDF.
Generally speaking, numbers that are consistent multiples of the columns chosen during the creation of the service look best. Meaning, if you picked 6 columns, anything that is a multiple of 6 (12, 24, 36, 600, etc) will tend to look the best, so that each column and row is even. Also, images that are of the same width tend to look best as well, since it creates an even amount of white space between them.
Here’s another example of the output of this Automator Service, this one showing a 3 column layout with wide images:
And no the images contained in the example proofs are not my pictures, they are from the hidden wallpaper collection buried in OS X 10.8 and later.
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The Dashboard in Mac OS X was first introduced in version 10.4, and can be used to run many useful widgets (ie. calendar, package tracker, weather). Even though it can come in handy for checking quick stats and info, it often goes unused by Mac users.
Since there really isn’t a point in having it running if you’re not going to use it, here’s how you can disable the Dashboard in Mac OS X.
Open Terminal and enter the following commands:defaults
Finder will restart automatically and there will be no more dashboard.
If you ever want to re-enable the Dashboard, enter these commands in Terminal:defaults
Again, Finder will restart and the Dashboard will be back as it if never left.
via Addictive Tips
Charnita has been a Freelance Writer & Professional Blogger since 2008. As an early adopter she loves trying out new apps and services. As a Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS user, she has a great love for bleeding edge technology. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
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Spotlight is the lightning fast search engine built into the Mac, but some users may have noticed that once Spotlight has been summoned and a file search query is beginning to be typed, OS X freezes up, stalls, and beachballs for anywhere from 10-30 seconds for seemingly no apparent reason. If you’re in a quiet room, you may even hear a little spin up sound as this happens as well.
If this Spotlight freezes and beachball experience is happening to you, it’s quite likely because you have an external hard drive connected to the Mac, perhaps for extended storage or a Time Machine backup. The good news is that you can quickly stop the Spotlight beach ball from happening, and while it makes sense to do this with Time Machine drives, the decision is a bit more complicated with personal file storage as we’ll see in a moment.Stop Spotlight Search Stalls & Beachballs on Macs with External Drives
Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
Choose “Spotlight” and go to the “Privacy” tab – anything placed here will be excluded from Spotlight indexing and search, so we’re going to put the external drive(s) that are spinning up and slowing things down here
Go to the Finder and drag and drop the external hard drive root icons into the Privacy tab of Spotlight
Exit out of System Preferences and summon Spotlight as usual, there should be no more beach balling as the external drives are no longer accessed by the search function
Obviously this has a downside of not being able to search and index an external hard drive, so for users who have manual file backups and maintenance this may not be a reasonable solution. However, it does work great if your primary backup method is for Time Machine, since you don’t want to be searching that with Spotlight anyway, and if you never really want to search through your external drives files it works well for that use case as well.
It’s worth pointing out that this beachball stalling thing isn’t a particularly new issue, and OS X has long had a problem with handling external hard drives, typically related to inappropriate drive access and spin-up occurring despite nothing to indicate the external drive should be accessed, and the result is seeing the spinning beachball until the drive wakes up and is ready to be accessed. This is definitely frustrating behavior particularly if you’ve come from a Windows background, where unless the external drive is specifically accessed, it will not spin up and delay everything else in the process (for what it’s worth, Mac OS 9 and before behaved the same way too).
This is one of those frustrating issues that has been around long enough that it should have been resolved in some way, but for now, you can continue to use the workarounds specific to Spotlight, or for handling the slowdowns with external drives in general.
In case you were wondering, while it’s possible that a connected external hard drive would cause beachballs in other situations where the file system is being accessed, typically the beach ball and freezing is seen when a particular app is experiencing a problem, often requiring the application to be force quit and relaunched again, and in some extreme scenarios, if the entire Mac freezes up, a reboot. That’s not what’s happening here though as there isn’t a specific app problem or OS X problem, it’s just that most external hard drives are slow to spin up if they’re inactive, thus causing the temporary slowdown and a fairly simple solution.
OS X Mavericks is now available to everyone as a free download, and while you can update as many Macs as you want by downloading the installer repeatedly from the Mac App Store, a better option for many is to create a simple bootable USB install drive. We covered this some time ago using a fairly technical process, but Apple must have realized that method was overly complex for many users and has included a much simpler method to create OS X Mavericks install media. Users will still need to turn to the Terminal to finish the job, but this time around only a single command needs to be executed, making it much easier and faster than the manual approach. We will show you exactly how to create a Mavericks boot installer in four simple steps, even if you have no experience with the command line you’ll be able to do it.
Requirements for this are basic, you will need the free OS X Mavericks installer on a Mac, and an 8GB external drive or greater that you don’t mind being formatted. External hard drives work, as do USB flash drive volumes, and Thunderbolt disks.
1: Download OS X Mavericks for Free
for this are basic, you will need the free OS X Mavericks installer on a Mac, and an 8GB external drive or greater that you don’t mind being formatted. External hard drives work, as do USB flash drive volumes, and Thunderbolt disks.
Yes, OS X Mavericks is a free update for all Mac users. Here is the direct link to the Mac App Store if you haven’t downloaded it yet.
Yes, you can easily re-download Mavericks even if you have already installed it. If you’re using this guide for a re-downloaded version of Mavericks simply jump straight to step #3.2: Stop When You See This Screen
When Mavericks is done downloading you will see the screen below to begin the installation – stop – and do not continue yet if you want to make a USB install drive.3: Connect the External Drive
Now is the time to connect the external drive or USB flash disk to the Mac that you want to convert into the installer, so plug it in. Remember, this external drive will be formatted to turn into the Mavericks bootable installation volume, so don’t use an external drive that has important data or documents on it.
NOTE: You may wish to format the external drive with a bootable GUID partition table beforehand to insure that it can boot. This is not always necessary depending on how the drive was originally formatted, but if you find the drive is not bootable then this is probably why.
Open Disk Utility, and select the newly attached external drive
This may or may not be optional, depending on if the external drive was formatted with a GUID partition beforehand or not. If you have any doubts, do it anyway.4: Launch Terminal to Make the Mavericks Install Media
The Terminal app is found within /Applications/Utilities/ or you can launch it from Spotlight. Once at the command line, you will need to enter the following command exactly:
sudo /Applications/Install OS X chúng tôi --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install OS X chúng tôi --nointeraction
Be sure the entire command string is on a single line. You will need to replace “Untitled” in the volume path with the name of your external drive that you want to turn into the installer disk, this should match the name of the external USB flash drive exactly. The Terminal will wrap text so it may look something like this, be sure there are no extra spaces added and no extra line breaks in the text or the command will fail:
If the command fails, check your command syntax. It must be precisely entered with no additional characters, spaces, or breaks to function as intended. Do not modify the command beyond specifying the volume name.
Because the command uses sudo you will need to enter the Macs administrator password to continue the process, note that when typing admin passwords into the command line using sudo or su the password text will not display and it will appear as if nothing is being typed, that is a security feature, just type the password as usual and hit return.
Once executed you will see a progress indicator in the Terminal that looks like the following, the entire creation process is automated but can take some time so it’s best to leave alone for a while until you see the final “Done” text.
Exit out of Terminal and return to the Finder if you want to confirm the OS X Mavericks installation drive was created. You will see it in the Finder (or desktop) labeled as “Install OS X Mavericks” and the volume contains a single installer app.
You can now choose to install Mavericks with the original installer that you stopped at in the first step, or use the installation volume you just created.
For what it’s worth, the original USB creation method continues to work, but this new approach is much faster and generally more user friendly, making it the preferred choice for just about everyone.
This drive is a standard OS X installer but it’s also bootable, meaning it can be used for upgrading from prior versions of Mac OS X (Mavericks 10.9 supports direct upgrades from Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6, Lion 10.7, or Mountain Lion 10.8), or to perform entirely fresh installations. Regardless of the Mac being installed on, it’s a good idea to prepare the Mac for the 10.9 upgrade by cleaning it up a bit and backing up the data.Booting from the Mavericks Install Drive
Booting a Mac from the freshly created Mavericks install drive is easy:
Connect the Mavericks installer drive and reboot the Mac
Hold down the Option key during boot to bring up the startup disk menu
Select the Install OS X Mavericks media to boot from the installer volume, if it’s a USB drive it will have an orange icon
This will boot directly into the Mavericks installer where you can upgrade or reinstall OS X. The install is almost entirely automated once you select the volume, and the total installation time is usually about 35 minutes to 1 hour, though it may take longer depending on the Mac model.
The default font size in the Mail app for Mac OS X is size 12 for emails and messages that are lacking styling, which tends to be most communications that are sent by email.
If you find the font size in Mail for Mac to be too small, or even too big, you’ll be pleased to know that changing the text size of email messages is quite simple. Not only can you change the font size for the email content itself, but also for other components of an email message, including the sender, recipients, subject line, and even the message list.
While we’re going to focus on changing the actual font size, it should be noted that users can also easily change the font family or face as well. From a readability standpoint, it’s the font size that most users may find improves their Mail app experience.How to Adjust the Font Size of Mail App in Mac OS X
This can be used to adjust the font sizes in Mail app either down or up, and the process is the same regardless of which version of Mac OS is installed on the Mac.
Open Mail app if you haven’t done so already
Optional but recommended: select / open an email message to see a live preview of the changed mail font size for
Pull down the “Mail” menu and select “Preferences”
Choose the “Fonts & Colors” tab and adjust the following:
Close out of Mail Preferences when satisfied with the change
A change in font size can make a considerable difference in readability in either direction, this is particularly true if a users eyesight isn’t perfect or even if you’re just trying to avoid eyestrain and spend a lot of time sending and receiving emails.
For example, here’s an email message in Mail app for MacOS and Mac OS X with the default font size:
And here’s the same email message in the Mac Mail app with a font size increased to size 18:
While that may look too large for some users, it may be perfect for others, it really depends on user preference, and the screen size of the display in use. This is specific to the actual Mail app in Mac OS X, meaning if your default email client is set to something else, or even to webmail, you’d need to adjust those settings separately. For web mail users like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, simply increasing the browsers text size with a zoom keystroke is typically sufficient.
This obviously covers the Mac side of things, and remember that iPad and iPhone users can also change the mail text size on iOS to accommodate their preferences.Keyboard Shortcuts for Increasing & Decreasing Font Size in Mail for Mac
It’s worth mentioning that you can also change the font size of emails you are actively composing by using the ‘Format’ menu in Mail app too, and there are two handy keyboard shortcuts for increasing and decreasing Mail font size using the Formats menu:
Command + to increase font size
Command – to decrease font size
You can also access those formatting options from the ‘Format’ menu within Mail app. These keystrokes are found in many other places in Mac OS for increasing and decreasing font size, including Safari, so they may already be familiar to you.
You can mount and unmount drives, volumes, and disks from the command line of MacOS and Mac OS X.
This trick works with external USB disks, hard drives, Firewire, Thunderbolt, DVD’s, CD’s, network drives, even USB thumb drives, literally any volume that can be mounted and accessed through the incredibly helpful diskutil command. By using the command line to remount the drive, the entire process can be completed remotely if necessary through SSH, and without ever having to physically disconnect a drive from the Mac. This is infinitely useful for troubleshooting situations, for scripting and automation, and it’s a great trick for those of us who just like to tinker around in Terminal.How to Unmount a Drive from Command Line on Mac
Let’s first cover unmounting drives. To do this you’ll need another volume attached or connected to the Mac in some form or another, then launch Terminal to get started (sits in /Applications/Utilities/).1: List All Drives
The first thing you’ll need to do is list the connected drives. This will provide a list of all drives that are attached to the Mac, that are either mounted and unmounted, and all of their respective partitions. We are doing this so we can get the drive identifier, which is typically something like disk1s2, or disk2s2, etc
The output will look something like this:
2: Apple_HFS OSXDaily 15.7 GB disk1s2
For the sake of this example, we’ll focus on the attached drive named “OSXDaily”, which happens to be an external USB thumb drive that appears last in the list. Note the identifier for that drive is “disk1s2” and we’ll carry that to the next series of commands to unmount and remount it.
It’s probably worth mentioning that drives will always be located in /dev/ and thus /dev/ will always be prefixed to the identifier.2: Unmount the Specified Drive
Still using the diskutil command, we’ll point it at the drive in question to unmount.
diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s2
This will report back the named volume and location has been unmounted, like so:
Volume OSXDaily on disk1s2 unmounted
That’s all there is to it. You’ll notice the drive is no longer accessible in Finder, but it will still be visible through diskutil from the command line, or the more familiar Disk Utility app in Mac OS X’s GUI.How to Mount a Drive from the Command Line on Mac
If you can unmount a drive, of course you can mount or remount one too. The command sequence is very similar; locate the volume, then mount the drive.1: Find the Drive to Mount
If you already know where the volume is located, you can ignore part 1 and jump straight to part 2, but let’s cover retrieving the volume identifier anyway. This time around we’ll shorten it a bit because we’ll assume we know the name of the drive to mount, thus we only need to locate the identifier. We’ll do this by using grep to shorten the output of the diskutil command like so:
2: Apple_HFS OSXDaily 15.7 GB disk1s2
That output is obviously much shorter than the full output of diskutil list which we showed above.
For this example, the drive “OSXDaily” is still located at /dev/disk1s2 and that’s what we’ll mount.2: Mount (or Remount) the Drive
To mount (or remount) a drive, we’ll use the same diskutil command with a new flag and inputs like so:
diskutil mount /dev/disk1s2
Using the same examples as elsewhere, here is what the command and the output will look like:
Volume OSXDaily on /dev/disk1s2 mounted
This obviously mounts the drive again, and it will also make the mounted volume visible again in the Mac OS X Finder and to GUI-based apps in the various Open or Save dialog boxes.How to Unmount & Remount a Drive / Volume in a Single Command
Want to quickly unmount and remount the same volume, essentially power cycling it’s connectivity to the Mac? You can do that in a single command by stringing the two together like so:
Want to quickly unmount and remount the same volume, essentially power cycling it’s connectivity to the Mac? You can do that in a single command by stringing the two together like so:
diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s2;diskutil mount /dev/disk1s2;echo "Remounted Volume"
This would look like the following when executed:
If you happened to be watching the volume in the Finder during this process, you would find it to disappear briefly, then reappear almost immediately. The last echo portion is optional but it makes the entire command action even more verbose.
Thanks to Nilesh for the tip inspiration
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