Contextual menu plugins are dead in Snow Leopard, replaced by the revamped Services system. A user recently contacted me because he wanted to replicate the “Move Items” contextual menu item he used to use in Leopard. He had used Automator to create a service, but was having a few problems, namely that Default Folder X wasn’t available when he chose the destination folder.
This got me to open up Automator in Snow Leopard and take a crack at it myself. In the process, I was reminded how cool Automator is 🙂 At any rate, here’s the automator script I put together:
So you’re obviously asking: Why go to the trouble of creating variables instead of just using the “Move Finder Items” action by itself? I’m glad you asked! The reason is that I want to bring up a file dialog to specify the folder where I want the items to go. There’s not a clean way to have the “Move Finder Items” do that every time. You can change its options to “Show this action when the workflow runs” but you still have to click on it every time you use it to ask it to show a file dialog. If you use Default Folder X to enhance your Open dialogs, it’s faster to just have the dialog pop up and then go where you want to with DFX.
So in the image above, the workflow puts the current Finder selection into the “selection” variable. Then it uses AppleScript to bring up a file dialog to ask for a folder, which it stores in the “path” variable. And finally, it uses the Move Finder Items action to do the work. Not too much more complicated, and it speeds up your workflow considerably if you’ve already got DFX installed so the Open dialogs are smart.
For you automator programmers, note that some of the actions shown in the workflow do not take inputs. I did this by control-clicking on the action (“Get Value of Variable”, for example) and choosing “Ignore Input” from the contextual menu. If you don’t do this, Automator will actually add the input from the previous step to the next one, which is definitely not what you want in this case.
Oh, and if you just want the automator workflow file so you can add it to your own system, you can download it here:
If you need more help with Automator and Services, Apple has some good information and tutorials here:
(Once you’ve gotten through the first few steps of the tutorial, you should be able to just replicate the picture above to make the Move Items service yourself).