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Using automator to download desktop pictures (howto)

December 6th, 2008 · No Comments

I get most of my desktop background pictures from either vladstudio or the NASA Image of the Day site, both excellent sources of fantastic images. To make it easier to fetch a particular image, I have created two Automator workflows, which you can download here:

Get image from

Get image from NASA image of the

To use them, unzip and place the .workflow files in your ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/Safari folder – by putting it there they will appear at the top of the script menu when Safari is the active application (if you don’t have it enabled, you can do so by running AppleScript Utility, found in /Applications/AppleScript).

Before you use them, you should configure them to your settings. Open the scripts in Automator and change the following:

  • The resolution of the image you want. In both scripts it is found in several of the steps (either as “1600×1200″ or “1600-1200″, make sure you change all of them and use the same format as before). The NASA site supports 1600×1200, 1024×768 and 800×600, Vladstudio in addition has 800×480, 1024×600, 1152×864 and 1280×1024.
  • The folder where you want to download the images. Double click the “DesktopImagesFolder” in the list of variables at the bottom of the Automator window, and select the folder where you want to put the images.
  • If you don’t have Growl or don’t want notifications, simply click the “X” button on all the steps in each workflow that mention Growl or growlnotify.

Once you customize and save the scripts, you should be able to select the corresponding script when viewing an image on either site, and the appropriately-sized image will be automatically downloaded and saved. Make sure you don’t navigate to a different page or tab in Safari until the script has run.


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