Creating and Using Quick Actions in macOS Mojave

Quick actions in macOS Mojave allow users to quickly and easily access Automator workflows to process files in a repeatable ways. With these actions your Mac can automatically perform repetitive tasks with just two clicks.

In this tutorial we are going to show you how to create and use Quick Actions in macOS Mojave.

Opening Automator

Launch Automator from Spotlight or “/Applications/”

In the pop-up window click “New Document” to create a new workflow.

Choose “Quick Action” from the document type selection screen.


Building your Action

The pane on the left of Automator is made up of a list of actions. These actions can be combined to create chains of actions, producing complex workflows. In this example we’ll create a image resizing action, which is both simple enough for a novice user to understand and useful enough to have a real function.

The main Automator window includes the space that shows your workflow on the right (currently empty) and panels of actions on the left.


Double-clicking on actions or dragging the actions into the workflow pane will add the action to your workflow.

At the top of the window, you’ll select some options about what files your action works on and how it will appear within the Quick Actions menu.


  • Workflow receives current controls what files the workflow will operate on and the application the action will be available with.
  • Image sets the icon for Quick Action. It has no effect on function.
  • Color sets the color of the action within the menu. It also has no effect on function.

Building an Image Resizing Action

With our bearings set, we can begin adding actions to our empty workflow.

1. Select “Files & Folders” from the left-most pane. Double-click “Duplicate Finder Items” from the adjacent pane.


2. Select “Photos,” and then double-click “Scale Images.” You’ll see a alert pop up, warning you that this will change the files. We’ve already duplicated the files, so that’s no concern for us. Click “Don’t Add” to avoid adding an unnecessary copying action.


Once the action is in place, Select “To Size (pixels)” from the dropdown and type in the desire pixel dimensions. Here we’ve used 700 pixels.


3. Select “Files & Folders” again, then double-click “Rename Finder Items.” Within this box select “Add Text” from the dropdown. In the “Add” dialog box, provide a suffix. This will be added at the end of the filename but before the extension. Here we’ve used “-700px” to indicate the file’s dimensions and avoid filename conflicts. You can see an example of what your image names will look like in the example at the bottom of the Rename pane.


The final assembled workflow will appear as shown below.


Saving Your Workflow

Once the workflow is constructed, we need to save it.

1. Select “File -> Save” or press Command + S

2. Name the workflow as you’d like it to appear in Finder, with spacing and capitalization as desired.


Using Your Workflow

Workflows are accessible from two primary places:

1. The Quick Actions menu in the Preview pane of Finder, indicated by the circle with three dots in it.


2. The “Quick Actions” section of the contextual menu. Right-click on an image and hover over “Quick Actions” to see the list of available actions. Then click the action to execute it.


Creating Other Actions

Your Mac includes more than one-hundred built-in actions, allowing you to quickly build productive, time-saving workflows in Automator. And since one of those actions is Apple Script, you can more or less create your own actions programmatically. If you can think it (and you don’t mind learning Apple Script), you can built it.

Alexander Fox Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.


  1. Thanks a lot for ypur useful article!

    I think may be interesting, too, explain how locate our recently build workflow into Automator (i it is possible) and how we can modify it (for instance, to scale to 800 px) or delete it from the system.

    1. You can find your saved Automator services at ~/Library/Services. /System/Library/Automator contains many more actions as well. I just use the File > Open Recent… menu in Automator, mostly. Deleting an action from there will wipe it from the system, but you might need to log out and back in before you see the effect of the removal.

      Changing the above action is super easy! Just change the pixel dimensions in “To Size (pixels)” from 700px to 800px. You can also set it to a percentage, or apply other transformation with other Photos actions.

  2. What happens if you export the Quick Action and open it on an older macOS version? And why don’t Services show up in the Quick Actions menu?

    1. Quick Actions are just Services to the best of my knowledge, so they should work fine on an older Mac, provided there’s not some weird Automator version compatibility going on.

      I believe that Quick Actions are only the services found in ~/Library/Services. Services stored in other locations don’t appear in the Quick Actions menu, at least in my tests.

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