Elevate Your Mac Mojo: Unleashing the Power of Quick Actions

digital systems & automation
Woman sitting on the floor with her hands on her laptop.

The Apple universe is ever-expanding and packed with hidden gems ready to catapult your productivity to new heights. One such diamond in the rough that’s revved up my Mac love is the powerful, yet often overlooked, Quick Actions.

These handy helpers have been in the right-click menu since macOS Mojave, are a group of streamlined shortcuts designed to save you time. As a keyboard shortcut queen, I love a handy right-click menu. 

The brilliance of Quick Actions lies in their adaptability. Right-click a file, and voila! You're presented with a suite of options tailored to your needs. Working with an image? You can swiftly change its format, erase the background, or even transform it into a PDF. And videos? Trim or rotate them right from the same menu.

Quick Actions help you bypass opening applications to accomplish a small task. 

But simplicity doesn’t mean compromise. You can also perform intricate operations. Quick Actions integrate with Apple's Shortcuts app, empowering you to command complex actions without uttering a word to Siri. They're handy in a hushed library or bustling coffee shop. Simply incorporate your go-to shortcuts into the Quick Actions menu.

Integrating shortcuts is easy. Open up the Shortcuts app, drag your favorite shortcut to Quick Actions in the sidebar, and right-click any file to navigate to Quick Actions > Customize. Enable your shortcut, and boom! It's part of your right-click arsenal.

Plus, if you're nostalgic for Apple's Automator app – the trailblazer for Shortcuts – it provides a familiar pathway to create and save Quick Actions. It’s a fabulous fallback if Shortcuts isn't quite your jam.

Despite its unassuming presence, the Quick Actions menu can morph into a beloved ally once you optimize its potential. I've found the image conversion and background removal actions to be absolute game-changers.

If there's a tiny wrinkle in this rosy picture, it's my longing for a keyboard shortcut to trigger a Quick Action. While Quick Actions beats having top open an app, the luxury of a quick keystroke would be the icing on the cake.

Here are a few examples of how Quick Actions can streamline your macOS workflow:

  • Image Conversion - have a JPEG file but need it in PNG format? Just right-click on the image file, navigate to Quick Actions, and select "Convert to PNG." The conversion happens instantaneously, and there's no need to open a photo-editing application.
  • PDF Transformation - need to transform an image into a PDF for a report? You can right-click the image file, navigate to Quick Actions, and select "Create PDF." Voila, you have your PDF ready in no time!
  • Video Editing - got a video that needs a quick trim or rotation? Right-click on the video file, go to Quick Actions, and select either "Trim" or "Rotate." You can perform basic video edits without launching a bulky video editing software.
  • Automating Tasks with Shortcuts - suppose you frequently resize images to a specific resolution for your blog. You can create a shortcut for this in the Shortcuts app, drag it to Quick Actions, and then use it directly from your right-click menu on any image. It's a swift, efficient way to automate repetitive tasks!
  • Creating Documents - want to create a new document quickly? Just right-click in the Finder where you want the document, select Quick Actions, and choose "New Document." You can create a blank Word, Pages, or other types of documents without even opening the respective applications.

To wrap up, Quick Actions - this hidden hero of macOS - remains a largely unexplored frontier. So, dear Mac users, take a moment to tap into this secret sauce and experience the magic.The possibilities are as wide as your imagination!