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Five Automator Services Tips in Five Days: Merge Selected Images as PDF

Today's Automator Service workflow tip involves image files. This workflow will receive selected image files in the Finder, and merge them together to form a multi-page PDF document.

PLEASE NOTE: Services are a new feature of Automator in Snow Leopard.  If you're using an older version of Mac OS X, you can still try to follow along.  However, you'll need to save your workflow as an application or plugin, rather than as a Service.

To build the workflow:

1. Launch Automator and create a new workflow.
2. Choose Service from the template selection panel and click Choose.
3. At the top of the workflow, configure the Service to receive selected image files in the Finder.

4. Click the PDF category in Automator's action library, locate the New PDF from Images action, and drag it to the workflow area.
5. The New PDF from Images action's default settings should be fine.  You can, however, customize them if you'd like.  For example, you might want to specify a custom output file name.

6. Choose File > Save to display Automator's Save panel.
7. Name the Service Merge Selected Images as PDF, and click Save.

To test the workflow:

1. Locate and select a few image files in the Finder.
2. While pressing the Control key, click on the selected images to display the Finder's contextual menu.
3. From the bottom of the contextual menu, choose Merge Selected Images as PDF.

If all goes well, then the workflow should run and the images should be merged together into a multi-page PDF file on your Desktop.

If you encounter any problems, you can download today's completed workflow here. Just download it, decompress it, and copy it into the ~/Library/Services folder within your home folder.  If a Services folder doesn't exist in your ~/Library folder, go ahead and create it.

Don't forget to check back each day this week for a new Service workflow tip.  For more on Automator, check out my book  Automator for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide, as well as my video podcast series Mac Automation Made Simple.